Wagner's Die Walküre

Airs at 11 am ET on 105.9 FM and WQXR.org

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A scene from 'Die Walküre,' part of Robert Lepage's revamped 'Ring' Cycle for the Met (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Director Robert Lepage's production of Wagner's Ring continues with Die Walküre. Here the focus of Wagner's drama shifts from the gods to humans, specifically the warrior Siegmund and his twin sister Sieglinde, who will become the parents of the central figure of the Ring, the hero Siegfried.

The cycle’s second installment features Mark Delvan as Wotan, Lord of the Gods. Deborah Voigt is Brünnhilde, while Simon O'Neill and Martina Serafin are the Wälsungen twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde. Stephanie Blythe returns in the role of Fricka.

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!’”

Cast:

Conductor: Fabio Luisi
Brünnhilde: Deborah Voigt
Sieglinde: Martina Serafin
Fricka: Stephanie Blythe
Siegmund: Simon O'Neill
Wotan: Mark Delavan
Hunding: Hans-Peter König

Comments [15]

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

The troubles that tear asunder the prospect of REAL echt WAGNERIAN PERFORMANCES are the total lack of singers with squillo, ping, ringing "juicy', not dry secco tone delivery,singers WITHOUT thrilling fortissimo acuti, high , notes and WITHOUT melting pianissimi but instead substitute WAGNERIAN BARKING rather than legato full-throated singing with strained and forced and flat singing, undersized and underpowered singing, at the same time WITHOUT impressive carrying power and the final curse throaty and/nasal ugly voice production.

Apr. 30 2013 01:00 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Today's news deals with deficits and declining support for the arts. Tandem to this predicament for the talented is the perception that the current situation will continue for a long time to come. Speaking specifically how this precludes the motivation for young operatic singers who must early on choose their life's work, many have turned to Broadway or the business world. Nowadays Broadway musicals are out for show-stopping sensationalism with laser distractions, monster sets, acrobatic feats and space age technical projections and featuring dancing over singing. So, for the real thing opera singer, Broadway musicals, outside of Phantom of the Opera and an occasional Les Miserables there is little prospect of a sustainable career. The Wagner oeuvre has suffered the most. Husky physiques, witness the iconic John McCormack, do not offer similar size singing voices in power or stamina. Heroic voices like Melchior, Tamagno, Ruffo and the mature Caruso are nowhere on today's world class stages. Instead we suffer to hear miniscule, non-charismatic, non-distinctively memorable singing voices essaying roles far beyond their undersized,underpowered, thin not orotund, singing potentialities lacking sufficient carrying, projection power to be consistently heard over Wagner's or Richard Strauss' orchestrations.

Apr. 29 2013 05:37 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Today's news deals with deficits and declining support for the arts. Tandem to this predicament for the talented is the perception that the current situation will continue for a long time to come. Speaking specifically how this precludes the motivation for young operatic singers who must early on choose their life's work, many have turned to Broadway or the business world. Nowadays Broadway musicals are out for show-stopping sensationalism with laser distractions, monster sets, acrobatic feats and space age technical projections and featuring dancing over singing. So, for the real thing opera singer, Broadway musicals, outside of Phantom of the Opera and an occasional Les Miserables there is little prospect of a sustainable career. The Wagner oeuvre has suffered the most. Husky physiques, witness the iconic John McCormack, do not offer similar size singing voices in power or stamina. Heroic voices like Melchior, Tamagno, Ruffo and the mature Caruso are nowhere on today's world class stages. Instead we suffer to hear miniscule, non-charismatic, non-distinctively memorable singing voices essaying roles far beyond their undersized,underpowered, thin not orotund, singing potentialities lacking sufficient carrying, projection power to be consistently heard over Wagner's or Richard Strauss' orchestrations.

Apr. 29 2013 05:33 PM
Steven from Oregon

Mr. Ira Siff,

As a young man from the, “Old Country,” Brooklyn, I used to think that all Opera lovers are Enlightened individuals. However with age, experience and having travelled about the world three times, (through encyclopedic reading), I now realize that not all opera lovers are as knowledgeable and nice as you.
We also wish to point out that since day one you and The Lady Ms. Margret Juntwait make a perfect team, a most lovable team.

Apr. 13 2013 04:23 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

Mark Delavan swept me away with his Wotan. I loved the great pathos as well as his emotive emphasis on key words. He reminds me of Ferdinand Frantz who is my favorite Wotan. The orchestra shown as brilliantly as expected with the insightful conducting of Fabio Luisi.

Apr. 13 2013 04:16 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

Mark Delavan swept me away with his Wotan. I loved the great pathos as well as his emotive emphasis on key words. He reminds me of Ferdinand Frantz who is my favorite Wotan. The orchestra shown as brilliantly as expected with the insightful conducting of Fabio Luisi.

Apr. 13 2013 04:16 PM

Deborah is an excellent singer and actor, even though the repeat verse of Ho-jo-to-ho was tentative and rushed. Her performance is captivating as ever. Mark Delavan is beyond the highest compliments! What a great voice and acting! The emotionally charged "go kneel before Fricka!" and the savage explosive cry "geh!" was better than any Wotan I can remember. He reminds me a lot of James Morris. The German diction coach also had done a wonderful job. Such clear articulation by both singers.

I saw the recently televised RING CYCLE and loved LePage's Machine concept and technology. Innovative and versatile.

Apr. 13 2013 03:34 PM
Ruth Gross

What is the name of the tenor who replaced O'Neill?

Apr. 13 2013 03:04 PM
beachsiggy from NYC at the moment

Delavan and Voigt are wonderful! Glad I don't have to suffer thru watching the production.

Apr. 13 2013 01:20 PM

Ira gushes on & on. We're all opera fans, you don't have to oversell it.

Mr. Botwait, I too heard those artists but did you hear Nilsson as Sieglinde in '75? Now that was magnificent & a surpise bec. she wasn't scheduled.

Apr. 13 2013 12:27 PM
Ellen Lienhard from West Chester, PA

Just got my internet connection restored; blast Comcast. The first thing I heard was O'Neill, can only say, where oh where is Jonas Kaufmann when you need him. Serafin seems ok for now but nothing to write home about. What has Ira been saying to incur such wrath?

Apr. 13 2013 11:53 AM
John M Gotwalt from NYC

I'm glad I heard it with Leonie, Vickers and Nilsson.

Apr. 13 2013 11:51 AM

One last comment. I like Blythe but I think Fricka is just a little beyond her vocal resources.

Apr. 13 2013 10:24 AM

CBC Doing well thank you. Just rec'd the Valencia Ring. Singers were pretty darn good. As for this Walkure, I've heard O'Neill as Radames & Calaf - he was good. I don't know the Sieglinde. The Wotan is very good. Then we have poor Debbie. I will NEVER forgive Covent Garden for what they did to her. If you want to hear her in great form, get the Met's Elektra from 1999 & compare it to what she sounds like today. She's trying but, ONLY MY OPINION, she's no Brunhilde.
Otherwise enjoy the magnificent music which builds until Act 3. Maybe Ira should calm down a little. Margaret is a pro. I like her a lot.
Ho-jo-to-ho !!!!!

Apr. 13 2013 10:22 AM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well.Looking forward to hearing
Mark Delevan.
Great start, flying finish. Middle that goes on and one with dialogue.
Unhappy wife, abusive husband. Incest. Nagging wife, henpecked husband, murder. The worst punishment Wotan can give to Brunhilde is to turn her into a housewife in front of the fire spinning and singing. Her sisters run off shouting woe, woe. Ira shut up.

Apr. 13 2013 07:38 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.