Supported by a syndicate led by David & Amanda Leathers, with Sir Win & Lady Bischoff
Having staged an acclaimed production of Tristan & Isolde, Grange Park Opera now presents Die Walküre, the second part of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Famed for The Ride of the Valkyries, Walküre contains some of the most compelling vocal music ever written - as well as two of Wagner's most sympathetic characters, Siegmund and Sieglinde, in this epic about the rise and collapse of the old order.
For a more detailed introduction to this opera and the others in Wagner's Ring Cycle, you can download The Ring of the Nibelung: A Short Guide to a Great Opera by Michael Steen when you visit our News page.
Die Walküre Synopsis
Wotan, the leader of gods, has fathered children with mortal women to produce a race of heroes for the gods' protection. Siegmund is one of these mortal children.
Pursued by enemies, Siegmund stumbles exhausted into an unfamiliar place. Sieglinde finds him, and the two feel an immediate attraction. They are interrupted by Sieglinde’s husband, Hunding, who asks the stranger who he is and why he is there. Siegmund recalls his terrible past only to learn that Hunding is affiliated to his enemies. Hunding tells his guest they will fight to the death in the morning.
Siegmund recalls his father's promise that he would find a sword when he most needed it. Sieglinde reappears – she has given Hunding a sleeping potion – and explains she was forced to marry Hunding. During her wedding feast a stranger thrust a sword into a tree which neither Hunding nor any of his companions could remove.
Sieglinde longs for the hero who can draw the sword and save her. The two realise they are in love. Siegmund gives his father’s name as Wälse (the name used by Wotan when appearing as a mortal) and Sieglinde realises this is her twin brother. Siegmund pulls the sword from the tree and claims Sieglinde as his bride.
Wotan, tells his warrior daughter, Brünnhilde, that she must defend his mortal son Siegmund in the fight with Hunding. Wotan's wife, Fricka, demands Siegmund and Sieglinde are punished for committing adultery and incest. As the Goddess of marriage, she must uphold marriage laws. Wotan sees Siegmund as the hero who could retrieve the all-powerful Ring and the save the gods. Fricka argues that Brünnhilde must leave Siegmund to his own fate. Wotan capitulates and instructs Brünnhilde to help Hunding.
Siegmund and Sieglinde have fled. Brünnhilde tells Siegmund he will soon die; he threatens to kill himself and his bride if the sword fails. Impressed by his fervour, Brünnhilde decides to help him. Hunding arrives and the two men fight. Siegmund is close to victory when Wotan appears, shatters his sword and Siegmund is killed.
Brünnhilde escapes with Sieglinde and the broken sword. Wotan kills Hunding with a wave of his hand and vows to punish Brünnhilde for her disobedience.
The Valkyrie warrior sisters observe battles and decide who will live and who will die. Each carrying a dead hero, they have gathered to meet their sister Brünnhilde. She arrives with a mortal, Sieglinde.
Brünnhilde begs them to help, but they dare not defy Wotan. Sieglinde is numb with despair until Brünnhilde tells her she bears Siegmund’s child. Heartened and keen to live, she takes the pieces of the sword and rushes off into the forest to hide from Wotan.
Wotan finds Brünnhilde and proclaims her punishment: she will become a mortal, plunged in a magic sleep on a mountain, prey to any man. Brünnhilde pleads with him.
Wotan will not give in but agrees to a concession: she will be encircled by a flame which will deter all but the bravest of heroes.
Both sense this hero will be Sieglinde's unborn child. Wotan summons Loge, the god of fire, and leaves behind his beloved daughter.