26 April 2008

Two faces of Fricka

Fricka in a production at Tiroler Festspiele in Erl

How do you visualize the Fricka character? Like an un-intelligent, limited, hysterical Hausfrau that is restricting Wotan in his vigorous development? Or is she a noble, strong and fair woman – Wotan's match?

As a man, there's no wonder I've often wanted to tell Fricka to shut up and let Wotan be. I mean, why can't we men be left alone doing our business? Is it really not understandable that we hide in the mountains and mess around mit dem Wassergezücht and mysterious ladies solemnly erecting from the ground? Clean the table, empty the dishwasher, look after the kids, turn off the TV, come home for dinner, why are you so late, we hardly ever talk anymore, I'm having my period now so leave me alone, I need more money, remove your socks. You've heard this before?

The Fricka character is crucial to the plot, but she often gives directors headache. Listen to Christa Ludwig on the Solti recording of Die Walküre, and you really get a wonderful sense of Fricka's stature.

The picture at the top is taken from a production of Die Walküre at Tiroler Festspiele in Erl.

This is Fricka anno 1896:

Photo from Tiroler Festspiele in Erl: tiroler festspiele erl/larl
Read a review by Erling E. Guldbrandsen of the complete Ring at Tiroler Festspiele (in Norwegian)

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