The Valkyrie (Wagner) premiered today in 1870

Valkyrie, also spelled Walkyrie, Old Norse Valkyrja (“Chooser of the Slain”), in Norse mythology, any of a group of maidens who served the god Odin and were sent by him to the battlefields to choose the slain who were worthy of a place in Valhalla. These foreboders of war rode to the battlefield on horses, wearing helmets and shields; in some accounts, they flew through the air and sea. Some Valkyries had the power to cause the death of the warriors they did not favour; others, especially heroine Valkyries, guarded the lives and ships of those dear to them. Old Norse literature made references to purely supernatural Valkyries and also to human Valkyries with certain supernatural powers. Both types of beings were associated with fairness, brightness, and gold, as well as bloodshed.
— Source: Britannica

Opera, Blood, and Tears
The Valkyrie
celebrating its premiere in 1870
June 26 t 5pm EST
on Clubhouse

The Hårby (Funen, Denmark) Valkyrie figurine, presumably dating back to around 800 AD, measuring 1.3 in. tall.

Music: Richard Wagner
Libretto: Richard Wagner
Category: Opera
Number of acts: three
Premiere: VI 26 1870, Königliches Hof- und National-Theater, Munich
Genre: Fairy Tale/Fantasy
Setting: Fantasy/Imaginary, Multiple Settings, Spectacle
Time, Place: Mythological, Germany
Cast size: Medium
Orchestra size: Large
Ideal for: Large Cast, Mature Audiences, Mostly Female Cast, Professional Opera
Casting notes: Mostly Female Cast, Includes Adult, Mature Adult, Young Adult Characters

Wotan – bass-baritone
Siegmund – tenor
Sieglinde – soprano
Brünnhilde – soprano
Fricka- mezzo-soprano
Gerhilde – soprano
Ortlinde – soprano
Waltraute – mezzo-soprano
Schwerleite – mezzo-soprano, contralto
Helmwige – soorano
Siegrune – mezzo-soprano
Grimgerde – mezzo-soprano, contralto
Rossweisse – mezzo-soprano
Hunding – bass

Die Walküre is the second opera of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, commonly known as ‘The Ring Cycle’. Some time after the events of Das Rheingold, Wotan is still obsessed with regaining the ring of power, made from the magic gold found in the Rhine, which he lost to the giant Fafner. He is also incredibly paranoid that the nibelung Alberich will get the ring before him, and seek vengeance for Wotan taking it from him. In the time since, he has been building an army of heroes to protect Valhalla, his kingdom, with the help of his nine Valkyrie daughters. He has also had two children with a mortal woman, intending to use his son, Siegmund, to rescue the ring from Fafner.

That is where the story of Die Walküre starts, with Siegmund meeting Sieglinde for the first time. Twins, separated at birth, and unknown to each other, they bond the moment their eyes meet, and fall deeply in love with each other. Siegmund helps Sieglinde escape from her violent marriage to Hunding, and faces him in battle. Wotan intends to help Siegmund, and sends Brünnhilde, one of his Valkyrie daughters, into battle to ensure his success. However, Wotan’s wife, Fricka, is the goddess of marriage, and is appalled at the things Wotan is allowing to happen. Fricka abhors Sieglinde and Siegmund’s adulterous and incestous relationship, and she forces Wotan to let Siegmund die.

Wotan changes Brünnhilde’s orders, and instructs her not to help Siegmund in the battle, but Brünnhilde still tries to help him. At the crucial moment of the battle, Wotan takes away the magic from Siegmund’s sword, and Siegmund falls under Hunding’s spearblow. Brünnhilde grabs Sieglinde, and runs away with her, determined to protect her and her unborn child. Brünnhilde is punished for her disobedience, and Wotan leaves her sleeping on the mountainside, as prey for any man who wants her.

This epic fantasy, with giants, dragons, gods, and mythical Valkyries that ride winged horses, is spurred on by an immense score, and includes one of the most famous scenes in all opera: the Ride of the Valkyries.

—- Source: stage agent

: This is a monochrome photograph taken of Hoffman’s 14 set designs (number 4) for Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen opera in 1876. Hoffman authorized Angerer to publish and sell copies of the photographs.[1]


Pursued by enemies during a storm, Siegmund stumbles exhausted into an unfamiliar house. Sieglinde finds him lying by the hearth, and the two feel an immediate attraction. They are interrupted by Sieglinde’s husband, Hunding, who asks the stranger who he is. Calling himself “Woeful,” Siegmund tells of a disaster-filled life, only to learn that Hunding is a kinsman of his enemies. Hunding tells his guest they will fight to the death in the morning.
Alone, Siegmund calls on his father, Wälse, for the sword he once promised him. Sieglinde reappears, having given Hunding a sleeping potion. She tells of her wedding, at which a one-eyed stranger thrust into a tree a sword that has since resisted every effort to pull it out (“Der Männer Sippe”). Sieglinde confesses her unhappiness to Siegmund. He embraces her and promises to free her from her forced marriage to Hunding. As moonlight floods the room, Siegmund compares their feelings to the marriage of love and spring (“Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond”). Sieglinde addresses him as “Spring” but asks if his father was really “Wolf,” as he said earlier. When Siegmund gives his father’s name as Wälse instead, Sieglinde recognizes him as her twin brother. Siegmund pulls the sword from the tree and claims Sieglinde as his bride, rejoicing in the union of the Wälsungs.

High in the mountains, Wotan, leader of the gods, tells his warrior daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, that she must defend his mortal son Siegmund in his upcoming battle with Hunding. She leaves joyfully to do what he has asked, as Fricka, Wotan’s wife and the goddess of marriage, appears. Fricka insists that Wotan must defend Hunding’s marriage rights against Siegmund. She ignores his argument that Siegmund could save the gods by winning back the Nibelung Alberich’s all-powerful ring from the dragon Fafner. When Wotan realizes he is caught in his own trap—he will lose his power if he does not enforce the law—he submits to his wife’s demands. After Fricka has left, the frustrated god tells the returning Brünnhilde about the theft of the Rhinegold and Alberich’s curse on it (“Als junger Liebe Lust mir verblich”). Brünnhilde is shocked to hear her father, his plans in ruins, order her to fight for Hunding.
Siegmund comforts his fearful bride and watches over her when she falls asleep. Brünnhilde appears to him as if in a vision, telling him he will soon die and go to Valhalla (“Siegmund! Sieh auf mich!”). He replies that he will not leave Sieglinde and threatens to kill himself and his bride if his sword has no power against Hunding. Moved by his steadfastness, Brünnhilde decides to defy Wotan and help Siegmund. Siegmund bids farewell to Sieglinde when he hears the approaching Hunding’s challenge. The two men fight and Siegmund is about to be victorious, when Wotan appears and shatters his sword, leaving him to be killed by Hunding. Brünnhilde escapes with Sieglinde and the broken sword. Wotan contemptuously kills Hunding with a wave of his hand and leaves to punish Brünnhilde for her disobedience.

Brünnhilde’s eight warrior sisters—who have gathered on their mountaintop bearing slain heroes to Valhalla. They are surprised to see Brünnhilde arrive with a woman, Sieglinde. When they hear she is fleeing Wotan’s wrath, they are afraid to hide her. Sieglinde is numb with despair until Brünnhilde tells her she bears Siegmund’s child. Now eager to be saved, she takes the pieces of the sword from Brünnhilde, thanks her, and rushes off into the forest to hide from Wotan. When the god appears, he sentences Brünnhilde to become a mortal woman, silencing her sisters’ objections by threatening to do the same to them. Left alone with her father, Brünnhilde pleads that in disobeying his orders she was really doing what he wished. Wotan will not give in: she must lie in sleep, a prize for any man who finds her. She asks to be surrounded in sleep by a wall of fire that only the bravest hero can pierce. Both sense this hero must be the child that Sieglinde will bear. Sadly renouncing his daughter (“Leb’ wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind”), Wotan kisses Brünnhilde’s eyes with sleep and mortality before summoning Loge, the god of fire, to encircle the rock. As flames spring up, the departing Wotan invokes a spell defying anyone who fears his spear to brave the flames.
Source: Metropolitan Opera

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.