The poor girl’s opera

In the comments on the post about Kinky boots of the 1930s and Phegor illustrations, I mentioned the whipping scene in “Das Rheingold”. It’s very loud in the Georg Solti recording, where the recording supervisor, John Culshaw, commented that the whip they used to make the cracking sounds was “absolutely terrifying”. And he’d been to a British public school in the 1940s, so he can’t have been easily scared. 

Anyway, I should say that the whipping scene in “Das Rheingold” is interestingly grotesque, but completely and utterly not sexy. 

Nice hat. Astrid Varnay as Brünnhilde.

But if you were looking for a bdsm scene in a Wagner opera, I’d recommend the Daddy-daughter confrontation between Wotan and Brünnhilde at the end of Die Walküre. It begins with Wotan furious because his daughter disobeyed him, and determined to punish her.

She begs, reminding her father why she did what she did, and inadvertently reminding him of why he loves her: she’s the best of him. So he still punishes her, but he changes it to make it something positive, intended to benefit her. And they reconcile with one of the hugest and most overwhelming orgasms in all music.

If you were a Dom on the prowl (rrrowl!), you could do worse than hang about in the lobby after a performance of Die Walküre, There’ll be some very good looking women there, as well as the ones who look like James Thurber drawings. Find one who’s been weeping red-eyed buckets, buy her a drink and give her a handkerchief. So far you’re being a gentleman, but tell her to clean herself up in a very slightly command voice, and there’s a 50/50 chance that you’ll take her home.

By three in the morning you should be smacking her ass and telling her she’s a good girl really. And she should be hitting the A above the treble stave.   

3 thoughts on “The poor girl’s opera

  1. Now that is very sneaky way to pick up girls. Lurking around the lobby when an opera is on? In your particular case, a Wagner opera…

    Im not quite sure what to make of that. 3 thoughts occur:
    1. Wagener was a pervert
    2. You’d have to be a Wagnerian AND a pervert to be able to make that interpretation
    3. What is the likelihood of those weeping women in the lobby knowing and understanding that? And then of being willing to be taken home by the conveniently located Wagnerian Daddy standing there handing out fresh hankies in a stern voice?

    Well, you’d probably catch my attention with that ploy, but not because of Wagner – rather because a man who has freshly laundered large white monogrammed cotton handkerchiefs smelling slightly of cologne would have my knees turned to jelly any day. It’s a dying art, hankies.

    • 1 Wagner was a pervert the way Shakespeare was. That is, I think he had the imaginative capacity, when he was creating, to enter any emotional space, any character. (Wagner was weirdly unimaginative at other times. The antisemitism, for example, seems to me to be a failure of the sympathetic imagination as much as a moral failing. It’d usually be fatal in an artist; but he really does seem to have been a different and better person once he was at his desk.)
      2 Wagnerian and pervert? At your service.
      3 Yes, but the weeping girls don’t have to know that they’re crying because of a feeling that they should be lovingly punished by a daddy-figure. They just to have to want a man to be friendly but firm with them, at about that time. And yes, silk hankies are essential. You’re not a man without one, even if you’re not on the operatic prowwwwwwwl at the time.

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