Wagner’s Die Walküre from the 2013 BBC Proms

Wagner: Die Walküre

Bryn Terfel (Wotan)
Simon O’Neill (Siegmund)
Anja Kampe (Sieglinde)
Eric Halfvarson (Hunding)
Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde)
Ekaterina Gubanova (Fricka)
Sonja Mühleck (Gerhilde)
Carola Höhn (Ortlinde)
Ivonne Fuchs (Waltraute)
Anaïk Morel (Schwertleite)
Susan Foster (Helmwige)
Leann Sandel-Pantaleo (Siegrune)
Anna Lapkovskaja (Grimgerde)
Simone Schröder (Rossweisse)
Staatskapelle Berlin
Daniel Barenboim (conductor)

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Reviewed: 25 July, 2020

This evening introduces a performance from the 2013 BBC Proms when Daniel Barenboim conducted the Staatskapelle Berlin and a starry cast in Wagner’s Die Walküre, as part of the first complete Ring cycle in a single Proms season.

It was an event which drew unanimous critical and audience acclaim for conductor cast and, not least, the orchestra. As one critic put it: ‘there’s surely no other ensemble in the world that has this music more deeply ingrained in its collective psyche than the Berlin Staatskapelle. Even with some of the greatest Wagner singers of the present day onstage here, it was the orchestral playing that regularly demanded the attention, whether it was the effortless depth of tone in the strings, the sheer solidity and easy assertiveness of the brass, the perfectly defined pianissimos or the immaculate articulation of every solo detail.’

Die Walküre, the second instalment of Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle The Ring, opens with a terrible storm presaging the devastating events which are about to unfold, as the gods fall prey to all too-human flaws. Siegmund, who has been asked by his father Wotan to help him acquire the Ring, meets and falls in love with his long-lost twin sister Sieglinde. Fricka, Wotan’s consort, is infuriated and demands Siegmund’s death. Brünnhilde, Wotan’s rebel daughter, tries to defend him, but in punishment she is put to sleep on a rock surrounded by fire.

Read Past Reviews on the Classical Source

(From BBC Proms 2013, 23 July

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