… ‘Twould give him the ward of the world!

Today, I will just continue with my wish-list which I pray and hope for to become recorded reality, and sung by Mr. Philippe Jaroussky:

Item three on my wish list is:

The Wood Bird

… from Richard Wagner’s Siegfried. Siegfried is not the most clever guy around; but maybe Mime’s upbringing wasn’t designed to gift him with great faculty of abstraction, so let’s not be unjust. Even if he is overtasked at being confronted with a waking-up Brünnhilde soon after, he is at least bright enough to realize “Das ist kein Mann!” (“This is no man!”). So, he is bright enough for a hero.

Yet, he needs a cue-giver of sorts, or he would never hit on the idea to get the treasure of the Niebelungs or go and rescue Brünnhilde.  Also Mime doesn’t have fond and fatherly feelings but rather intends to kill Siegfried as he annoyingly survived the dragon-encounter unscathed, according to Mime’s opinion. So — Siegfried needs advice! And, he gets it; the service is provided by the lovely Wood Bird (Waldvogel).

Oh, that Siegfried in the first place understands at all what the bird is trying to tell him is due to him accidentally licking his fingers soiled with dragon’s blood. The dragon’s blood has other effects too which will be of course also of major implication for the plot later.

Something about the role of the Waldvogel: It may be a tiny role, like the Hirt (shepard) in Tannhäuser, but even more than the latter, every soprano wants to sing it; especially in Bayreuth it is considered a great honour. The part is simplistic, very unusual in its pentatonic vocal line, very unlike Wagner in a way. The appearance of the Waldvogel is not only a magical moment for Siegfried, but even more for the audience.

Mr. Jaroussky should be given the chance to sing it — and, needless to say, in Bayreuth please 😉

(I would make look Hagen and Mime pale in comparison concerning plotting skills I would show then to acquire tickets.)

For those not familiar with the piece or others who might enjoy it I added two renditions here:

The first one is a really nice staging and recording, with Siegfried Jerusalem as Siegfried (a real name-coincidence),  and Dawn Upshaw as Waldvogel; she is singing off-stage; fitting the staging of course, and rendering Siegfried’s lovely cue-giver even more mysterious.

Another rendition which I don’t like in total — I am not too fond of Mr. Haenchen’s conducting in general —  just to illustrate that the Waldvogel can be sung by a boy soprano as well:

Richard Wagner, Siegfried
Waldvogel

STIMME EINES WALDVOGELS

Hei ! Siegfried gehört
nun der Niblungen Hort:
Oh, fänd’ in der Hohle
den Hort er jetzt!
Wollt’ er den Tarnhelm gewinnen,
der taugt’ ihm zu wonniger That:
doch mocht’ er den Ring sich errathen,
der macht’ ihn zum Walter der Welt!

VOICE OF A WOOD-BIRD

Hey! Siegfried doth hold
Now the Nibelung’s hord
Oh, could he but find it
Within the cave!
Were he the Tarnhelm to win
It would tide him through wonderful tasts
But should he the ring also ravish
‘Twould give him the ward of the world!

STIMME DES WALDVOGELS

Hei! Siegfried gehört
nun der Helm und Ring!
Oh. traut’ er Mime
dem Treulosen nicht!
Hörte Siegfried nur scharf
auf des Schelmen Heuchlergered’ :
wie sein Herz es meint
kann er Mime versteh’n;
so nützt’ ihm des Blutes Genuss.

VOICE OF THE WOOD-BIRD

Hey! Siegfried doth hold
Now the Helm and the Ring!
O trust not in Mime,
the treacherous elf!
Hark Siegfried but well
To the shifty hypocrite’s words:
what at heart he means
Shall by Mime be shown;
So boots him the taste of the blood.

STIMME DES WALDVOGELS

Hei! Siegfried erschlug
nun den schlimmen Zwerg!
Jetzt wüsst’ ich ihm noch
das herrlichste Weib.
Auf hohem Felsen sie schläft,
ein Feuer umbrennt ihren Saal:
Durchschritt’ er die Brunst,
erweckt’ er die Braut,
Brünnhilde ware dann sein!

VOICE OF THE WOOD-BIRD.

Hey! Siegfried has slain
Now the sinister dwarf!
I wot for him now
A glorious wife.
In guarded fastness she sleeps,
Fire doth encircle her hall.
o’erstepped he the blaze,
Waked he the bride,
Brünnhilde then would be his!

English libretto taken from here:

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