March 06, 2019

What You Need and Want to Know about DIE WALKÜRE

Richard Wagner’s monumental Die Walküre opens on November 1 in a brand-new production. This riveting and devastating drama explores complex relationships between brother and sister, husband and wife, father and daughter.

Die Walküre centers on the conflict between Wotan, king of the gods, and his mortal son, Siegmund, who has unwittingly fallen in love with his own twin, Sieglinde, the wife of the brutish Hunding. This arouses the wrath of Wotan’s wife, Fricka (goddess of marriage and fidelity), and the compassion of Wotan’s daughter, the warrior-maiden Brünnhilde. The turning point of the opera arrives when Brünnhilde disobeys her father by siding with Siegmund in the latter’s fight against Hunding To find out what happens, you'll want to be in the audience for this larger-than-life drama.

Here are some things you may want to know as you anticipate your Die Walküreexperience:

  • Music Director Sir Andrew Davis celebrates his 30th anniversary at Lyric by conducting all performances of Die Walküre— including one on November 14, the actual anniversary date. Lyric is dedicating the new production to Sir Andrew to celebrate this milestone.

  • Before there were televised mini-series...Richard Wagner created the four-part Ring — all the words and music.

  • Taboo-breaking love, violated vows, deadly disobedience, fierce retribution. Family dysfunction taken to the limits.

  • Provocative, shocking, deeply moving story inspired by Norse mythology.

  • Ravishing, dramatic, powerful, tender, sublime music that really tells the tale. Every character has a distinctive musical theme.

  • If you love Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones…come see what inspired those sagas.

  • Before there was Wonder Woman...there was Die Walküre.

  • You’ll recognize the exhilarating “Ride of the Valkyries” music from Apocalypse NowWhat's Opera, Doc? and countless commercials. Now hear that glorious music in context, live and brilliantly played by Lyric’s expanded 93-piece orchestra (including Wagner tuba, bass trumpet, and contrabass trombone!) under the baton of Ring leader Sir Andrew Davis.

  • “Sheer beauty,” “sheer humanity,” “glorious music” are among the phrases Lyric’s general director Anthony Freud uses to describe this monumental yet intimate work.

  • Directed by David Pountney, one of the great stage directors in the world.

  • Outstanding international creative team: original scenic design by the late Johan Engels; set designer Robert Innes Hopkins, costume designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca, lighting designer Fabrice Kebour, choreographer Denni Sayers.

  • Die Walküre is through-composed — the music flows from one scene to the next.

  • It’s a dramatic and musical thrill ride that you’ll never forget, with A-list Wagnerian singers who will blow you away.

  • Soprano Elisabet Strid and tenor Brandon Jovanovich as twins Sieglinde and Siegmund will thrill with their rapturous duet before the deadly duel with Hunding, portrayed by bass Ain Anger. (Strid and Anger will both make Lyric debuts in these performances.) 

  • As Fricka, preserver of sacred marriage vows, mezzo-soprano Tanja Ariane Baumgartner will overpower her willful husband Wotan with her righteous indignation.

  • As Wotan, bass-baritone Eric Owens gave the Millennium Park concert audience a taste of what’s to come. 9,000 attendees listened raptly to his heartrending aria to favorite daughter Brünnhilde.

  • Before the Big Sleep, soprano Christine Goerke will astonish audiences with her powerfully emotional performance as Brünnhilde, capturing perfectly the passionate spirit of a headstrong young woman fighting for what she believes is right.

  • These world-class singers will triumph in their demanding marathon roles. All are internationally acclaimed Wagnerians in the absolute prime of their careers.

  • Die Walküre stands alone as a brilliant opera — and it’s also part of the mighty Ring cycle. Lyric is presenting one Ring opera per season through 2020, then will perform the full cycle three times over the course of three weeks following the regular 2019/2020 season.

  • The Valkyries sing gloriously — and they ride flying horses.

  • Just 7 performances next month at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago

  • Evening performances start 5:30pm, matinees start 1pm. Doors open an hour before curtain. Box suppers available for purchase before performances, for pickup at first intermission.

  • Sung in German with projected English translations.

Photo: Michael Brosilow