“Wagner’s Ring Cycle is at the pinnacle of our art form. Bringing it for the first time to the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and working together with the orchestra on this great music, will be a central pillar of my tenure as Music Director.
Die Walküre conforms more to our idea of opera. Is it the perfect opera? Probably yes, because of the love story, the scenes between individual characters, the drama, and the conflict. It has an intimacy and humanity which probably surpasses Das Rheingold.
This release will serve as a document of a cast which would be the envy of any stage in the world, and of a great orchestra, making thrilling music together.”
– Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Listen to an excerpt from
Act I, Scene 3: Siegmund den Wälsung siehst du, Weib!
Also available in Blu-ray audio
Richard WAGNER (1813–1883)
Die Walküre (The Valkyrie) Stuart Skelton, Siegmund (Tenor)
Heidi Melton, Sieglinde (Soprano)
Falk Struckmann, Hunding (Bass-Baritone)
Matthias Goerne, Wotan (Baritone)
Petra Lang, Brünnhilde (Soprano)
Michelle DeYoung, Fricka (Mezzo-Soprano)
Sarah Castle, Waltraute (Mezzo-Soprano)
Karen Foster, Gerhilde (Soprano)
Katherine Broderick, Helmwige (Soprano)
Anna Burford, Schwertleite (Mezzo-Soprano)
Elaine McKrill, Ortlinde (Soprano)
Aurhelia Varak, Siegrune (Mezzo-Soprano)
Okka von der Damerau, Grimgerde (Mezzo-Soprano)
Laura Nykänen, Roβweiβe (Mezzo-Soprano)
Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra
Jaap van Zweden, Conductor
Comprising four separate operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) is one of the supreme works in the history of music. Part II of the tetralogy, Die Walküre, centres on the young lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde, whose relationship angers Fricka, goddess of marriage, and on the disobedience of the Valkyrie Brünnhilde who is sent to carry out Fricka’s wishes. Performed by an all-star international cast, the work features thrilling set-pieces such as Wotan’s Farewell and the Ride of the Valkyries. The Prologue, Das Rheingold, can be heard on Naxos 8.660374-75, selected as ‘Album of the Week’ by The Sunday Times of London, which praised its ‘thrilling sense of drama’.
Watch Video Trailer - Act III “Ride of the Valkyries”
Watch Video Trailer - Act III “Wotan’s Farewell”
About the Artists
Jaap van Zweden is one of today’s most distinguished conductors, and has been appointed music director of the New York Philharmonic from the 2018/19 season. He became music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic in 2012 and has recently announced that he will continue in this role until at least the summer of 2022. He is also the current music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and regular guest conductor with leading orchestras around the world. He is currently engaged on a four-year project with the Hong Kong Philharmonic to conduct and record the complete Wagner Ring cycle for Naxos.
Baritone Matthias Goerne has appeared on the world’s principal opera stages, including the Royal Opera House, London, Teatro Real, Madrid, Paris National Opera, Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. His roles range from Wolfram, Amfortas, Kurwenal, Wotan and Orest to the title roles in Wozzeck, Bluebeard’s Castle and Mathis der Maler. Goerne’s artistry has been documented on numerous recordings, many of which have received prestigious awards, including four GRAMMY® nominations, an ICMA award, and the Diapason d’or Arte.
Mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung appears regularly with the leading North American and European orchestras. She has also performed at the Ravinia, Tanglewood, Saito Kinen, Edinburgh and Lucerne festivals. Equally at home on the opera stage, her many Wagnerian roles include Fricka, Sieglinde, Kundry and Waltraute, plus Venus (Tannhäuser), Amneris (Aida) and Eboli (Don Carlos); also the title role in Samson et Dalilah. DeYoung is a multi-GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist.
Stuart Skelton, the distinguished Heldentenor, has a repertoire encompassing many of opera’s most challenging roles, from Wagner’s Lohengrin, Parsifal, Siegmund and Tristan to Strauss’ Kaiser, Beethoven’s Florestan, Saint-Saëns’ Samson, Dvořák’s Dimitrij and Britten’s Peter Grimes. He appears regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Opera national de Paris and Festspielhaus Baden-Baden under the batons of James Levine, Philippe Jordan, Donald Runnicles, Simone Young, Edward Gardner, Asher Fisch, Valery Gergiev and Daniele Gatti, among others.
The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is recognised as Asia’s foremost classical orchestra. It became fully professional in 1974. The orchestra presents a full season of classical music and pops concerts, plus an extensive education, outreach and community engagement programme. Since the appointment of Jaap van Zweden as music director in 2012, the orchestra has undertaken tours to mainland China, Taiwan, Europe, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Australia. Recordings for the Naxos label have included music by Tan Dun and Bright Sheng conducted by the composers.
“…Matthias Goerne is a revelation. The warmth of his voice may be no surprise to anyone who has heard him sing lieder; what’s remarkable is how consistently he sustains the beauty of his tone ... The effect is to make Wotan less stern, more vulnerable than in a conventional portrayal; a human heart beats within his godly frame. In this performance, Goerne upholds the great tradition of Wagner singing.”
– Opera News
“Matthias Goerne gives as rounded a dramatic portrayal as any of his illustrious predecessors on disc. His protean god is reckless and determined, caring and contrary, and the intelligence of his interpretation is matched by the urbanity of that elegantly resonant voice.”
– Sinfini Music ★★★★
“…DeYoung delivers a luxurious, feminine Fricka, …The voice is as beautiful and rounded as in her youth, and as her beauty-queen sister Freia, Anna Samuil is all but ideal. The voice is luminous and young-sounding, the emotional tone an exemplary damsel in distress.”
“The quality of the orchestral playing is remarkable. …The cast is uniformly strong, and the audio quality is superb.”
NEXT IN THE RING CYCLE
19 & 22 January 2017
18 & 21 January 2018
Wagner’s Ring cycle is the most ambitious work in the history of music: four operas that combine to tell a single epic story. Based in legend, it has become a legend in its own right: a supreme challenge for conductors, singers, opera producers, and indeed for audiences. But for all its grandeur and complexity, The Ring is far more accessible than many music lovers think. This two-CD guide explains the basics of the plot, profiles the leading characters, and shows how Wagner’s revolutionary music adds fascinating layers of meaning and psychological insight, as well as providing some of the most stirring and intoxicating moments in the entire operatic repertoire.
“This double CD will make a brilliant gift for music and opera lovers.”
– Limelight Magazine ★★★★★
Step into the Ring! This iPad app is aimed at anyone with an interest in Wagner’s monumental operatic achievement Der Ring des Nibelungen (‘The Ring of the Nibelung’).
Whether you are intimately acquainted with the cycle or a newcomer to it, you can enjoy a clearly and beautifully presented outline of the work’s so-called ‘leitmotifs’. These musical calling-cards are woven in a sophisticated web throughout all four operas – Das Rheingold (‘The Rhinegold’), Die Walküre (‘The Valkyrie’), Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (‘Twilight of the Gods’): here is the chance to get to grips with them, refresh your memory, and enhance your listening experience.
“an indispensible guide to understanding the stories, music and history of Wagner’s epic four-opera cycle.”
– Sinfini Music ★★★★
“Condensing opera’s biggest works into a small space, the app is a helpful way of getting to grips with the entire Ring cycle.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★
“...a valuable and worthy addition to material relating to the Ring—and the leitmotifs especially.”
– The Wagnerian
“For a Wagner fan, this is probably the very best way to understand and absorb the ground-breaking emotional building blocks found within the Ring cycle.”
Well over a century after Wagner’s death, the man and his music are as controversial as ever. Praised for his profound insights into the workings of the human heart, he has also been condemned as a dangerous libertine, a proto-fascist and an arrogant bore. His vast four-part operatic Ring cycle has been elevated as one of the greatest achievements of western culture and dismissed as an unparalleled example of creative megalomania. This audiobook makes no attempt to gloss over the darker sides of Wagner’s character, personally or artistically, but argues that the finer aspects of his vision transcend its flaws. It tells the story of an extraordinary life, and charts Wagner’s development, from unpromising beginnings, into the creator of some of the most brilliantly innovatory and seductively beautiful music ever composed.
“… an excellent introduction to Richard Wagner, whose life and music still stir controversy today.”
– Nancy Crowder-Chaplin, Sound Commentary