The Rhinegold: Scene Four - On a meadow outside Valhalla: Wotan, Loge, Alberich, Fricka, Froh, Donner Freia, Fafner, Fasolt, Erda, and the Rhinedaughters
Having brought Alberich, bound, from the depths of Nibelheim to the meadow on the surface of the earth opposite Valhalla, Wotan tells Alberich he’ll be freed if he ransoms himself with his Hoard of Treasure. Alberich, reluctant to give it up, consoles himself with the thought that if he can retain possession of his Ring he can command the Nibelungs to accumulate another treasure for him. Likewise, when Loge insists Alberich’s Tarnhelm must also be considered part of his Hoard and included in his ransom, he consoles himself that if he can keep the Ring, through its power he’ll compel Mime to forge another:
(The stage is still veiled in pale mists, as at the end of the second scene.)
Loge: There, kinsman, you sit tight now! Look, dearest fellow, there lies the world that you long to win for yourself. Which spot in it, say, have you set aside as my sty? (He dances round him, snapping his fingers: #35)
Alberich: (…) Loosen the rope, untie my bonds, else you’ll pay for this outrage, you upstart!
Wotan: You’re captured and firmly fettered, just as you thought that the world and all that lives and moves in it was already in your power. You lie before me in shackles, you can’t deny that, you craven dwarf: to set you free a ransom is needed.
Alberich: O dunce that I am! A dreamy-eyed fool [“traeumender Thor”]! How foolish to trust their thievish deceit! Fearful revenge shall atone for my failing!
Loge: If revenge is to serve you, think first how to set yourself free: no freeman atones for a bondsman’s crime. If you’re plotting revenge, be quick, don’t delay, think first of the ransom! (Rubbing his fingers he indicates the nature of the ransom: #35)
Alberich: Then say what you desire!