The Valkyrie: Act Two, Scene Four - A mountain pass: Siegmund, Sieglinde, and Bruennhilde
Bruennhilde, having arrived to inform Siegmund of his fated doom, of Wotan’s requirement that he must be martyred on earth to serve the gods, after death, in heaven, now appears before Siegmund, having just witnessed his despairing love for his sister Sieglinde. She approaches with dignity and reserve and with respect for her appointed victim. The brief instrumental prelude to V.2.4 which accompanies her quiet approach to Siegmund, opens the scene known as Bruennhilde’s annunciation of death to Siegmund. This “Todesverkuendigung” introduces two new motifs, #87, generally known as the “Fate Motif,” and #88, called the “Annunciation of Death” or “Doom” motif. We will see in the course of the remainder of the drama how well these descriptive titles hold up, but #87 is in virtually all of its appearances in the libretto/score linked with the concept of fate, while Bruennhilde’s annunciation of fated death to Siegmund is a particular instance of fate:
(Prelude: [[ #87 ]]; #87; [[ #88 ]]: Leading her horse by the bridle, Bruennhilde emerges from the cave and advances slowly and solemnly to the front of the stage. She pauses and observes Siegmund from a distance. #87; #87; #88: Again she advances slowly. She stops, somewhat closer to him. She carries her shield and spear in one hand, resting the other on her horse’s neck, and thus observes Siegmund with a grave expression. #20bc?)
Siegmund: (raising his eyes to her: #88) Who are you, say, who appears before me so fair and solemn?
Bruennhilde: (#87) The death-doomed alone are destined to look on me: (#87) he who beholds me goes hence from life’s light. (#20a?:) In battle alone I appear before heroes (:#20a?): (#20c) him who perceives me (#20d) I’ve chosen as one of the slain.
Siegmund: (gazing at length into her eyes, steadfastly and searchingly, then lowering his head in thought and finally turning to her resolutely again. #87; #88) The hero who follows you – where will you lead him?