“Then all I have suffered, in sorrow and shame, all is forgotten, all is atoned for!”

Karita Mattila

Clan/Family: Mortal
Relatives: Wotan, father; Siegmund, brother and husband; Siegfried, son
Appears in: Die Walküre
Main Leitmotif: Redemption through love
Performed by: Karita Mattila

In spite of a life scarred with misfortune, Sieglinde is extremely compassionate and caring. She is one of the few characters who expresses shame and along with Brünnhilde, one of the Ring’s most selfless characters.

As a young girl, she was stolen away from her parents (Wotan and a mortal woman) and her twin brother Siegmund, and then forced to marry the brutish Hunding and assume the role of subservient housewife. When Siegmund arrives at her house, she risks her life to protect him from Hunding. She leads Siegmund to the sword his father Wotan left for him, and the reunited siblings fall madly in love. They run off together but are soon pursued by Hunding and his men. Sieglinde declares to Hunding, “Murder me first!” but Brünnhilde shields her and Hunding’s spear fatally wounds Siegmund.

Ready to join Siegmund in death, Sieglinde learns that she is pregnant with Siegmund’s son, and flees into the forest to escape the wrath of her father Wotan, who has now turned against her. In her last act of sacrifice, she dies giving birth to the hero Siegfried.