[Brünnhilde marrying the Lady of the Lake. Or Dumbledore presiding over the marriage of Hagrid’s sister to some Asgard lady straight (or not so straight) out of SG1? – Actually, it’s not that far off: Warrior (Maiden) being offered the hand of the Fair Princes by her Father, the King. In an actual Viking-set opera. Martina Dike, Daniel Hällström, Ulrike Björndal in Wilhelm Stenhammar’s “Tirfing”, Malmö 2011. – Photo Credit: Malin Arnesson]
This late 19th century opera and its recent Malmo production are brought to you by foreign correspondent Hanna, who brought it to my attention (thanks, Hanna!). Her detailing of the synopsis — which I swear is based on fanfiction that Brangäne wrote to get over Isolde who made her brew love potions regarding Tristan, that douche — was so hilarious that I am simply quoting it here:
Hervor (daughter of a warrior) wants to conquer the world, and goes to his father’s grave to retrieve the magic allmighty sword Tirfing (that kills on every blow). The father appears from his grave and grants her the sword on two conditions: never to reveal her true identity (as his daughter), and never to let anyone know she’s a woman. (Hmmm…)
A feast is being prepaired at King Gudmund’s castle. Princess Gullväg is in love with her brother Vidar’s best friend warrior Hervardur (who of course is Hervor disguised as a man). Vidar is happy that his sister has found the love of her life, but at the same time he also finds Hervardur (=Hervor) SO interesting! Vidar’s aria reveals it all: “Hervardur is mine, because he loves me. /–/ Our friendship is a door that leads us to new lands of full love!” (A-hmmm…!) And a night on an icebearskinrug follows…
The feast culminates (in Turandot manner) in a quiz, where the King wants answers for a riddle, and of course Hervardur knows the answer. The tragedy grows from her/him NOT wanting to collect the prize (princess Gullväg). Everything culminates in a duel, because Vidar has to defend his sister’s honour. Vidar dies by H’s magic sword.
In the final scene Hervor reveals her true identity to maiden Gullväg (next to the body of Vidar’s dead body): “Feminine heartbeat was desguised in male clothing /—/ the woman who gave up her right to be a woman – who came to be a man – that was ME!”
And what do we learn from this story?
Never refuse a beautiful princess if she asks for your hand.
Really, Hervor, was that helmet a little too tight?!
[Martina Dike, the mezzo who originally prompted this post (far too little material of her is available via YT or other net sources. I, for one, am very curious about her Brangäne), as Hervor, Malmö 2011. – Photo Credit: Hanna]
Courtesy of Hanna, here are a few more impressions of the production:
Hagrid Hervor’s father presenting her daugher with the magic Tirfing (destined marriage to the Lady of the Lake: see fine print)
Hervor also channels a bit of Pippi-Longstocking-Punk-Riot-Grrl-badassery… no wonder Princess Gullväg is immediately smitten!)Hanna called this one “Reaction to seduction on an polar bear skin rug”. – Point taken! Vidar: perhaps she’s jsut not that into you.
And it the spirit of the game, here is one last Turandotian question, dear White Shirts:
Who is outgaying whom here?!