The Blood of the Wälsungs
The Blood of the Wälsungs, a novel (written in 1906) by Thomas Mann, a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature, was only published in 1921 for its scandalous content. The main characters of the text are Siegmund and Sieglind, twenty-year old decadent twins from a rich Munich family. Siegmund is studying art history while Sieglind is waiting for a wedding with a successful official, von Beckerathem, though none of these facts are taken seriously by the twins. They prefer to spend time with each other listening to Richard Wagner, principally his The Ride of the Valkyries, as the protagonists have the same names as the twins.
As Katharina Schmitt works both with actors and opera singers, the production oscillates between the genres of drama and opera. The audience will hear the aria of Wotan’s farewell from Wagner’s opera The Ride of the Valkyries performed by opera singers Lucie Juránková and Martin Vodrážka. Thomas Mann titled his novel after the mythical German family of Wälsungs, which is already present in the heroic epos Beowulf. The main characters in the Wagner opera, the twins Siegmund and Sieglinde, are also members of the family. In his novel, Mann works with Wagnerian theme of incest. To Siegmund and Sieglind, incest means a return to each other and an alternative to the stereotype of marriage.
The production has been funded with a grant from the Czech-German Fund for the Future.
Duration: 70 minutes
We would like to express our thanks to Michal Dočekal for his help with the stage props, to Činoherní Studio Ústí nad Labem theatre for its support, and to Vladimír Pešek for his assistance with the stage design.