Wagner’s Die Walküre
@ 1:30 PM
A stellar cast comes together for this second installment of Robert Lepage’s new production of the Ring cycle, conducted by James Levine. Bryn Terfel is Wotan, lord of the Gods. Deborah Voigt adds the part of Brünnhilde to her extensive Wagnerian repertoire at the Met. Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek star as the twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, and Stephanie Blythe is Fricka.
James Levine; Deborah Voigt, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Stephanie Blythe, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, Hans-Peter König
Expected Running time: 5 hours, 15 minutes
Pursued by enemies during a storm, Siegmund stumbles into an unfamiliar house. 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. 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, who has given her husband a sleeping potion, returns and confesses her unhappiness to Siegmund. He promises to free her from her forced marriage and compares their mutual feelings to the union of love and spring. Sieglinde tells him how at her wedding a stranger thrust a sword into a tree that no one has been able to pull out, then she asks Siegmund if his father was really “Wolf,” as he said earlier. When he 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.
Wotan, leader of the gods, instructs his warrior daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, to defend his mortal son Siegmund in the fight with Hunding. But Wotan’s wife Fricka, goddess of marriage, insists that Wotan must protect Hunding’s marriage rights against Siegmund. She ignores his argument that Siegmund could save the gods by winning back Alberich’s all-powerful ring from the dragon Fafner. Wotan realizes he is caught in his own trap: his power will leave him if he does not enforce the law. His plans in ruins, he tells the returning Brünnhilde about the theft of the Rhinegold and Alberich’s curse on it, then orders the shocked Brünnhilde to fight for Hunding.
Brünnhilde appears to Siegmund as if in a vision, telling him he will soon die and go to Valhalla. Siegmund defies her and threatens to kill himself and Sieglinde if his sword has no power against Hunding. Moved by his love and steadfastness, Brünnhilde decides to disobey Wotan and help Siegmund. 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.
Brünnhilde has taken Sieglinde to the Valkyries’ rock. She asks her eight warrior sisters for help, but they refuse to hide her from Wotan. Sieglinde is numb with despair until Brünnhilde tells her she bears Siegmund’s child. Now eager to be saved, Sieglinde takes the pieces of the sword, thanks Brünnhilde, and rushes off. Brünnhilde remains behind alone to face her father. Wotan sentences her to become a mortal woman. She pleads that in disobeying his orders she was really doing what he wished but 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, Wotan summons Loge, the god of fire, to encircle the rock. As flames spring up, he invokes a spell forbidding the rock to anyone who fears his spear.