Wagner's Die Walküre

NOTE: This broadcast begins at noon instead of 1pm.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Broadcast Note: Today's start was delayed by approximately 40 minutes. According to a statement from the Met, the delay was "due to a problem with an encoding sensor in one of the planks that comprise the set. The problem was discovered this morning as the stage was being set for today's opera, so the sensor had to be fixed before the performance could begin." [Read the full AP Story]

Director Robert Lepage's new Ring continues with Die Walküre, the cycle’s second installment featuring Bryn Terfel in his Met role debut this season as Wotan, Lord of the Gods. Deborah Voigt is Brünnhilde, while Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek are the Wälsungen twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde. Stephanie Blythe is Fricka.

Wagner began work on the Ring cycle in 1848 with a piece he titled Der Nibelungen-Mythus: als Entwurf zu einem Drama (“The Nibelung Myth: as Sketch for a Drama”). The composer spent more than 25 years spinning his tale, and wound up working backwards from the last opera in the cycle, Götterdämmerung. The complete Ring cycle consists of the operas Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, completed in 1874. Two years later, the work had its premiere at the first Bayreuth Festival.

When Liszt received a copy of the Walküre score, he reportedly wrote a note to Wagner, stating, “Your Walküre [score] has arrived, and I should like to reply to you by your Lohengrin chorus, sung by 1,000 voices, and repeated a thousandfold: ‘A wonder! A wonder!’”

After completing this performance, James Levine, who has conducted every full Ring cycle at the Met since 1989, hangs up his baton until October. The ailing Met music director will be covered by Met principal guest conductor, Fabio Luisi.

Cast and credits:

Conductor: James Levine
Brünnhilde: Deborah Voigt
Sieglinde: Eva Maria Westbroek
Fricka: Stephanie Blythe
Siegmund: Jonas Kaufmann
Wotan: Bryn Terfel
Hunding: Hans-Peter König
Production: Robert Lepage

Comments [11]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

SIEGMUND is, outside of HANS SACHS, THE MOST WARM-HEARTED, LOVING PERSON in all of Wagner's male heroes ! SIEGFRIED, Wagner's hero of heroes, faulted, vulnerable, yet basically idealistic and iconically a threat to the establishment and its RULES WITHOUT REFERENCE TO MORALS. Wotan's submission to his wife Fricka in Die Walkure resulting in the killing of Siegmund, Wotan's killing of Erda, who has lost her touch with the current situation with Brunnhilde now bound to accept anyone who can pass thru the fire, occurring in this opera SIEGFRIED, the greed of brother killing brother, Fafner killing his fellow giant brother Fasolt in Das Rheingold, to gain the all-powerful RING, made of the Gold stolen from the Rhinemaidens by Alberich in the opening opera Das Rheingold, then Fafner, a greedy hoarder turning himself into a dragon to guard for himself only the HOARD of gold, the Ring, and the tarnhelm, which as a fabric can grant any wish of its possesor, including change of appearance and swift travel. ALL these and many more construct an epic so large that, outside of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel paintings of the Creation and the Last Judgment, the RING is the most fantastic artistic creation, IMHO. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor and the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where voice instruction, and training for all the roles of Wagner and Shakespeare are coached. I also am an opera composer, "Shakespere" and "The Political Shakespeare." My websites; WagnerOpera.com, ShakespeareOpera.com and RichardWagnerMusicDramaInstitute.com, where 37 complete selections from my four three-hour long solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, recorded LIVE, may be heard, free, by downloading at the Recorded Selections venue.

Apr. 21 2012 09:30 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

It is now 5:57 PM and the curtain is down on the last act of Die Walkuere. Bryn Terfel has despite the length and difficulty of the Wotan role and its dramatic turns of wrath, of sentiment and heroism, managed to have secure top notes and a unified concept of the role until the very last, without losing the majesty and nobility of timbre requisite for a Wotan. Stephanie Blythe and Deborah Voigt and Hans-Peter Koenig strutted their talents, but the fullest praise must go to Jonas Kaufmann and Eva Maria Westbroek for their audible "chemistry" in their tender, heroic, anguished moments and with their softer passages delivered with a warmth of tone. Like all master directors of stagecraft or music, Maestro James Levine allowed the performers to make the most of their roles and did not drown them out with the orchestra.

May. 14 2011 07:12 PM
ckillamoon from NorthJerseyCoast

Act Three...Where are those highway patrols when you need them?...

May. 14 2011 04:52 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

KUDOS to the marvelous exciting duo, the Siegmund, Jonas Kaufmann, and the Sieglinde, Eva-Maria Westbroek, both ideal in their roles. The first act has just concluded in today's broadcast. I agree with Kaufmann's comment, that singing the French and Italian rep DOES facilitate a better vocal line in the Wagner fach. Melchior had wished to continue in rep outside of the Wagner oeuvre, but the other tenors were jealous of his overwhelmingly thrilling performances as Otello, Canio and the other roles that he sang before his Met Opera career. I have had the good fortune of studying with four of the superstars of the Wagner Golden Era at the Met, baritone Friedrich Schorr, bass Alexander Kipnis, mezzo Margarete Matzenauer and mezzo Karin Branzell in college at Juilliard or Manhattan School of Music and privately. Kaufmann has the potential to do a wide rep, with great success, hopefully including many of the Wagner roles.

May. 14 2011 02:27 PM
Concetta Nardone from Elmont, NY

Do not agree with Maestro Levine's statement that Die Gotterdamerung is the best of the lot, or something to that effect. There is the wonderful Rhine Journey music and the great finale with the Funeral Music and the Immolation. No, Siegfried and Das Rheingold are the jewels of the Ring. Die Walkure has a great start, a flying finish but oh what a middle. Nagging wife, dialogue between Wotan and Brunhilde goes on and on. However, I do love that Wagner might have been a feminist. The most serious punishment he can give to his rebellious daughter is to condemn her to be a housewife. She will sit and sing in front of a fire. Her sisters scream Woe and run away in an awful fright. I am now going to have to wait three hours for the Magic Fire Music. I have the CD but love live performances of this. I hope I have not started a kerfuffel with my comments. Perhaps we all need to lighten up a bit.

May. 14 2011 02:13 PM
Howard L. Levin from Jersey City, NJ

Today's Walkuere performance is a 'wonderful 75th birthdays gift for me. Jonas Kaufmann is a heroic and exiciting Siegmund. What a heldentenor! His Sieglinde also has a beautiful voice. I cannot wait to hear the rest of the cast. Koenig's Hunding is also most impressive. Today's matinee promises to be an exciting rebirth of Wagne's operas at the Met!

May. 14 2011 01:36 PM
Iren K. from CT

Fabio Luisi did a nice job on May 5th. But listening to today's broadcast I feel James Levine's conducting...Levine is the Ring...(and everything else...never get a poor performance under his baton:)

May. 14 2011 01:16 PM
Iren K. from CT

Fabio Luisi did a nice job on May 5th. But listening to today's broadcast I feel James Levine's conducting...Levine is the Ring...(and everything else...never get a poor performance under his baton:)

May. 14 2011 01:16 PM
Iren K. from CT

In due respect to the person who questions the translation: When you are too involved with reading the titles you are 'listening' with you eyes, not with your ears.

May. 14 2011 01:04 PM
Jeffery A. Triggs from Madison, NJ

We saw the premiere on April 22nd, and I'm now listening to this performance on the radio. I must say it is almost better without the distraction of those silly sets (Valkyries on see-saws, etc.).

May. 14 2011 01:03 PM
Joseph Isler from NYC

I've asked the Met, but they have not replied to this question. Is the translation of the libretto a new one in this production? I've seen the previous production,and it seemed to me when I saw the new production recently that it was a fresh and compelling new translation.

May. 14 2011 12:37 PM

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