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10 Pieces of Music That Can Change Your Life: A Father's Love

Wotan (James Morris) with Brünnhilde (Hildegard behrens) in the Metropolitan Opera's classic production of Wagner's "Die Walküre"
Metropolitan Opera
In this installment of '10 Pieces of Music That Can Change Your Life' - a father's heartbreak

Wotan’s Farewell (“Der Augen leuchtendes Paar”) from Wagner’s Die Walküre

There are moments in Richard Wagner’s music that bring tears to the eyes. This aria is one of them. Die Walküre is the second of the four operas in Wagner’s sprawling Ring of the Nibelungscycle. At this point in the tortuous drama, Wotan, the king of the gods, has ordered his daughter Brünnhilde, the fiercest Valkyrie (warrior-goddess), not to protect Siegmund in his battle with Hunding, and Brünnhilde has disobeyed him. Being a parent, Wotan is compelled to punish Brünnhilde for her disobedience and does so by removing her godhood and putting her to sleep on a mountaintop to be found by the first mortal man who awakens her.

How sublimely Wagner’s music speaks Wotan’s heartbreak and his tenderness as he kisses Brünnhilde’s eyes, “Kissing her godhood away,” as he gently lays his favorite daughter to sleep, covering her with protective armor before leaving her on the mountaintop to live out her destiny in the mortal realm.

How this music can change your life: You will come to understand and embrace that special love you have for your children, even when they break your heart.

Here is one of the finest Wotans ever to cross the stage – the American bass-baritone James Morris – with soprano Hildegard Behrens in the Metropolitan Opera’s classic production of Die Walküre:


Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.