Sarah strode from the green room to the back of the stage, already feeling more confident. With the limited lighting that was allowed back there, she found her shield and spear and hoisted one in each hand, already feeling stronger and fiercer.
The music that played as she strode on stage was triumphant and Sarah felt triumphant. She unleashed the full power of her voice, letting her first notes of the opera ring out clear and strong and perfect.
She paced backstage as Fricka talked Wotan out of interfering too much in mortal affairs. Sarah couldn’t wait to get back out there for her first real duet with Wotan. She imagined herself spending the interim out on battlefields, collecting the souls of dead heroes to be brought back to Valhalla. But she pictured herself as so much more than a chauffeur. With her armor and weapons, she would able to hold her own on the battlefield. A woman. Imagine that.
Sarah could imagine it. But she couldn’t imagine the rest of the world joining her in that vision. At least not outside the halls of the opera house, where even Brunnhilde’s limited involvement in mortal battles was downplayed.
When her cue to enter stage left came, Sarah walked out at a calm, stately pace. She squared her shoulders and held her head high, as though confident Wotan would always choose her side over his wife’s.
Of course Sarah knew from experience that this was never true. Not only because of the way the opera was written, but because no one ever sided with her in real life. That’s what had attracted her to Brunnhilde in the first place. She did what she chose to do, with or without anyone else’s permission – even when a god expressly forbid her from doing so.
Sarah knew it was perverse, but she loved this duet between Brunnhilde and Wotan and she loved the few lines she had afterwards, wherein she told the audience she was going to go against his wishes. Sarah found something very satisfying in such blatant disobedience.
Then she got to ride around on a winged horse that was suspended from the roof of the opera house on steel cables that were thin, but she knew could still be seen from offstage. She didn’t care. She still felt free flying through the “sky” that was painted on the back of the opera house wall on top such a magnificent beast – never mind that the “beast” was made of painted wood and controlled by backstage hands who pulled levers to move her back and forth as she sang.
Sarah had a love/hate relationship with her final duet with Wotan at the end of the opera. On the one hand, it was one of the most beautiful pieces of music she had ever had the pleasure of singing. On the other, she recognized that Brunnhilde was being punished for exercising her autonomy, and that hit a little too close to home for Sarah’s comfort. Not to mention the fact that the song signaled the end of the opera, at which point Sarah would have to clean up and return to home and the real world.