On page 18 of the program for San Francisco Opera's Ring Cycle, Francesca Zambello says in her Director's Note:
". . . Wotan gives up an eye to build a mansion he can't afford. . . "
Uh, no, that's not what happens: Wotan has lost his eye in exchange for "gaining wisdom" at the World Ash Tree (I believe he also claims he lost his eye to gain Fricka, or at least that's what he tells her; maybe that counts as "gaining wisdom"). In exchange for building Valhalla, he actually promises to give up to the giants Freia, the goddess of love and eternal youth. This is an important difference because: (1) he doesn't make a sacrifice of his person to build his visionary fortress, he offers something (more precisely, someone) he doesn't really have the right to offer; and (2) he essentially makes the same deal Alberich made to forge the Ring, sacrificing love and youthful happiness for power and authority.
I don't want to be one of those people, but this isn't an abstruse or minor point, since Wotan's need to weasel out of his bargain leads him to steal the gold (and the tarnhelm and the Ring) from Alberich, and is therefore the engine that sets Das Rheingold and the rest of the cycle in motion. It seems like a pretty big misstatement for the director of a Ring cycle. If she had some obscurer meaning in view, I wonder what it was.
The Beethoven Project
3 weeks ago