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Wagner Richard
Die Walkure
Act 1 Scene I
Act 1 Scene II
Act 1 Scene III
Act 2 Scene I
Act 2 Scene II
Act 2 Scene III
Act 2 Scene IV
Act 2 Scene V
Act 3 Scene I
Act 3 Scene II
Act 3 Scene III
Walkure, Die (The Valkyrie)
  • Richard Wagner. Music-drama in three acts. The first day of Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). 1856.
  • Libretto by the composer.
  • First performance at the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, Munich, on 26th June 1870.
Siegmund, son of Wotan tenor
Sieglinde, his twin sister soprano
Hunding, her husband bass
Wotan, ruler of heaven and earth bass-baritone
Fricka, his wife mezzo-soprano
Valkyries, daughters of Wotan and Erda:
Brünnhilde soprano
Helmwige soprano
Ortlinde soprano
Gerhilde soprano
Waltraute mezzo-soprano
Siegrune mezzo-soprano
Rossweisse mezzo-soprano
Grimgerde mezzo-soprano
Schwertleite contralto

Siegmund staggers exhausted into Hunding's house and is entertained by the mysteriously attractive Sieglinde, Hunding's wife. Hunding returns home and Siegmund tells him how his mother had been killed and his twin sister abducted and how he had wandered with his father, whom he calls Wolfe. After his father's disappearance he had been unlucky and must call himself Wehwalt (Woeful). He tells of his last, unsuccessful battle, which, it seems, involved kinsmen of Hunding, for which the latter will seek revenge. Siegmund's father had promised him a sword and this Sieglinde shows him, the weapon, embedded in an ash-tree, where an old man, a visitor, had left it. The two recognise each other as brother and sister, and Siegmund draws the sword from the ash-tree, calling it Nothung , sword of need. They embrace. In the second act Wotan tells Brünnhilde to ensure victory for Siegmund in the coming battle with Hunding. Fricka, wife of Wotan, favours Hunding and marriage, as she angrily makes clear, while Wotan sanctions the love of Siegmund and Sieglinde. Fricka demands the withdrawal of Wotan's favour from Siegmund, a request that he unhappily grants. He explains to Brünnhilde his early search for power and love, Alberich's forging of the ring, Wotan's theft of it to pay for the building of Valhalla and Erda's prophecy of the end of the gods. Erda had born him the Valkyries, warrior-maidens who have brought together heroes fallen in battle, to defend Valhalla. Wotan needs a mortal to take back the ring, which he, by oath, cannot do himself. It is said that when Alberich has a son, the reign of the gods will be over. Now he orders Brünnhilde to ensure Siegmund's defeat, a task she accepts with sorrow. She meets Siegmund, with his sister, and tells him that he will die and go to Valhalla. At first, however, she protects him, in his battle with Hunding. The latter succeeds in killing Siegmund only after the intervention of Wotan, whose spear breaks Siegmund's sword. Brünnhilde rides away with Sieglinde, while Wotan dismissively brings death to Hunding and sets out angrily in pursuit of the Valkyrie. In the third act the Valkyries ride back from battle, joined by Brünnhilde, with Sieglinde, who must live to bear Siegmund's child and is now allowed away, before the arrival of Wotan. He condemns his favourite daughter to a rock, where she must lie senseless until roused by a mortal, who will be her husband. She begs that her husband may be the son of Sieglinde, who will be called Siegfried. Wotan leaves Brünnhilde, surrounded by protective fire to guard her as she sleeps her magic sleep.

Once again motifs are interwoven, adding a further dimension to a story that is complex and fraught with deeper and wider associations. Orchestral excerpts from Die Walküre (The Valkyrie) include the stormy prelude to the first act, the prelude to the second and the famous Ride of the Valkyries that introduces the third act. Siegmund recalls his father's promise in Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater (My father promised me a sword). Sieglinde's narrative, Der Männer Sippe sass hier im Saal (The men's kinsfolk sat here in the hall) tells of her unhappy forced marriage to Hunding. The joy that Siegmund brings to his sister is expressed in his Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond (Winter storms have waned in the moon of delight), while she greets his coming with Du bist der Lenz (You are the spring). The second act brings Fricka's denunciation of Wotan, the powerful So ist denn aus (Is all, then, at an end) and Wotan's explanation to Brünnhilde, Als junger Liebe Lust mir verblich (When young love's pleasure left me). Brünnhilde tells Siegmund of his coming death in her Todesverkündigung (Announcement of Death). Her own plea to her father is heard in War es so schmählich? (Was it so shameful?), after she has put love before duty to her father, following his desire rather than his command.


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