“Gomez Gropes Brunnhilde”
Poor Gomez, too many hours spent in front of the boob tube, with Bugs Bunny’s Elmer Fudd singing “Kill the wabbit!”
Somehow, he finagled his parents, whose combined income was less than a dollar a day, into buying him the 100-LP box set of Solti’s “Ring” cycle, complete with hilarious rehearsal outtakes.
Little did he know that the Act 3 opening music, known popularly as the “ride” of the Walkyries, would become the soundtrack to his inner monologue. And then along came “Apocalypse Now.”
Old man Wotan had nine daughters, the Walkyries, with Erda, not Eartha. He also fathered Siegmund and Sieglinde, those wacky siblings. Gomez always watched Fricka’s Labor Day telethon against incest and made a small donation, so he could hear his voice over the tv.
Then one day, while accidentally paying attention in history class, he heard that Hitler’s code name for providing assistance to Franco was “Feuerzauber” (Magic Fire). There was nothing magic about the fire Gomez accidentally started in the garage, or the beating he got afterwards. In “Walküre,” it’s the daughter who gets punished. Why couldn’t he have had a little sister to blame?
Wagner himself sketched the famous horny helmet and chain mail that has become the symbol of the “opera” to many. But only six years after the 1870 premiere, the Brunnhilde wore an evening gown with a long train! Try riding a horse in that.
Have you ever had to carry a dead hero in your saddlebag? That’s what those amazons do during their “ride.”
And so, Gomez renounced love for power, and wound up with neither.
© 2011 by Frank Daykin, for Innovative Music Programs