Richard Wagner's Die Walküre
Sung in German with projected English translation.
April 18, 2015 - 6:00 PM | April 22, 2015 - 6:00 PM | April 25, 2015 - 6:00 PM
April 30, 2015 - 6:00 PM | May 3, 2015 - 2:00 PM
The journey continues...
In Die Walküre, the story of the Ring moves from the gods' home, Valhalla, to earth: Having brought Freia's freedom with the ring in Das Rheingold, Wotan sets about regaining the golden band and its unique power.
Wotan must sacrifice his son Siegmund, renounce a daughter, Sieglinde, and abandon his favorite child, Brünnhilde, the leader of the Valkyries. Like all the Ring operas, Die Walküre stands on its own as great spectacle, masterful storytelling, and electrifying music.
Brünnhilde - Christine Goerke
Wotan - Iain Paterson
Sieglinde - Karita Mattila
Siegmund - Simon O'Neill
Fricka - Jamie Barton
Hunding - Ain Anger
Conductor - Patrick Summers
Director - Carlus Padrissa/La Fura dels Baus
Associate Director: Esteban Muñoz
Set Designer - Roland Olbeter
Costume Designer - Chu Uroz
Lighting Designer - Peter van Praet
Video Designer - Franc Aleu
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
'Iain Paterson made a Wotan of unforced dignity, endowing the role with a voice of quality..." - Financial Times (London)
"And Ms. Goerke, as usual, had everything: rich and full sound, interpretive insight, affecting expressivity." - New York Times
"Karita Mattila is an artist who confounds expectations... She has a voice that is most often described in terms reserved for varieties of light - radiant, luminous, incandescent, shining." - Opera News
"One should notice the amazing Siegmund of Simon O'Neill, ... The timbre is of a splendid colour throughout the register, the voice flies to treble with a disconcerting ease, the forces are inexhaustible, the style is of the first order, with a perfect articulation, classy phrase and nuances." - Opera (London)
"Ms. Barton, who won the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition in June, has a big, rich voice from the top to the bottom of its range." - New York Times
A co-production of Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia and Maggio Musicale, Florence.
On a stormy night, exhausted from fighting, Siegmund stumbles upon a house where he seeks shelter. It is the home of Sieglinde and her ill-tempered husband, Hunding. As Sieglinde tends to her unexpected visitor; they are instantly and deeply attracted to one another—which does not go unnoticed by Hunding when he arrives. He asks the stranger who he is: Siegmund explains that his mother was killed and his sister abducted. He wandered for some time with his father, who later abandoned him. In trying to save a young woman from a forced marriage, he killed her brothers and was pursued by relatives seeking vengeance. Hunding replies that he was among the kinsmen searching for him and warns Siegmund to be ready to fight the next day.
But Siegmund has no weapon—his sword was wrenched away from him during his last battle. Alone, he calls on his father for the sword he once promised him. Sieglinde returns, having given Hunding a sleeping potion so that the stranger can flee. She shows him a sword imbedded in an ash tree, having been thrust into it by a mysterious visitor. She explains that many have tried to pull it out, but all failed. Siegmund realizes the sword is the one promised by his father, and Sieglinde recognizes Siegmund as her own twin brother. Siegmund pulls the sword from the tree and claims Sieglinde as his bride.
As Siegmund and Hunding prepare for their duel, Wotan, leader of the gods, tells his daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, that she must defend Siegmund in the fight. He doesn't explain that Siegmund is the hero he has been grooming to do what his treaties forbid him to do: regain the ring. But Fricka, Wotan's wife and the goddess of marriage, is outraged by the incestuous relationship of Sieglinde and Siegmund and insists that Hunding's marital rights should prevail. Wotan realizes that if he doesn't enforce the law, he will lose his power, so he reverses his instructions to Brünnhilde: she is now to fight for Hunding.
Brünnhilde appears to Siegmund when he and Sieglinde stop to rest during their flight. She tells him that he will die and instructs him to follow her to Valhalla. When he learns that Sieglinde cannot accompany him there, however, he tells Brünnhilde he will not go. Moved by his love for Sieglinde, Brünnhilde decides to disobey Wotan and help Siegmund. A furious Wotan appears and shatters Siegmund's sword, allowing Hunding to kill him. With a wave of his hand, Wotan kills Hunding, and then sets out to find Brünnhilde, who has escaped with Sieglinde and the shards of the broken sword.
On their way to Valhalla with the slain heroes they have gathered, the Valkyries are assembling on a mountaintop when Brünnhilde arrives with Sieglinde. When they learn Brünnhilde has disobeyed Wotan and that he is pursuing her, they are afraid to help hide her and Sieglinde. In despair, Sieglinde wishes she had died with her lover, but when Brünnhilde tells her she is carrying Siegmund's child, she is eager to survive. Brünnhilde gives her the pieces of the sword, saying that the child will grow up to forge the pieces anew, and Sieglinde makes her escape. Brünnhilde bravely remains to face Wotan's wrath: he strips her of her divinity, making her a mortal woman, and decrees that she be left asleep until a man awakens her and claims her as his wife. She implores Wotan to surround her with a wall of fire so that only the bravest of men would ever attempt to penetrate it. Wotan then invokes Loge, the god of fire, and leaves her alone on the mountain surrounded by flames.
HGO PERFORMANCE HISTORY
Die Walküre is the only Ring opera staged at HGO prior to the current cycle. The company's sole staging of the opera took place during the 1959–60 season. Margaret Harshaw, one of the most important Wagnerian heroines of the day, was the Brünnhilde, and the great Jerome Hines sang Wotan.
The opera lasts approximately 4 hours and 50 minutes including two intermissions.
Performances beginning at 6 p.m. will end at approximately 10:50 p.m.
The performance beginning at 2 p.m. will end at approximately 6:50 p.m.
At HGO performances, the excellent natural acoustics of the theaters in the Wortham Theater Center are relied upon to convey sound from the stage and pit. Electronic sound enhancement is used only with spoken dialogue (as in The Merry Widow), in musicals (as in A Little Night Music), in sound effects (thunder), and at the composer's direction (as in Nixon in China and The Little Prince). Visible microphones are positioned to record performances for archival purposes.