Monday, August 2, 2010

The image is from the production of Die Gotterdamerung now at Bayreuth. I find it intensely powerful and moving. This is the prolog; these are the Norns, the weavers of fate, seated in the starry firmament upon a pile of human skeletons, the classic memento mori. It has a stately beauty that the Norns are rarely granted these days; they are usually found in dusty basements or hanging from bungee cords or buried in garbage heaps or in the shadow of hydroelectric dams or the detritus of space stations. This image pleased me tremendously.

Earlier, in Act III of Siegried, when Wotan awakens Erda, the eternal earth mother (who does not like to be awakened from her sleep), she asks him why he doesn't ask the Norns what he wants to know? Wotan replies that the Norns can only spin; they cannot change destiny. He wants to know how to hold back the rolling wheel of fate; if its course can be altered?

Of course it can't. The king of the gods is as unfree as the Norns. All bow before the endlessly unrolling dreams of eternity. Erda goes back to sleep. Wotan understands that his dream is ending. Erda knows, from the depth of her dream, that there will be others.

So these are the marvelous ladies who weave the strands of fate they cannot control. It is how I might imagine them.

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