Die Walküre
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Language

Sung in German with projected English translation

Age

Appropriate for all ages

Running Time

4 hours and 34 minutes

Subject

The story of the Ring moves from the gods' home, Valhalla, to earth: Having brought Freia's freedom with the ring in Das Rheingold, Wotan sets about regaining the golden band and its unique power.

Wotan must sacrifice his son Siegmund, renounce a daughter, Sieglinde, and abandon his favorite child, Brünnhilde, the leader of the Valkyries. Like all the Ring operas, Die Walküre stands on its own as great spectacle, masterful storytelling, and electrifying music.

Wotan, chief of the gods, has fathered a set of twins-Siegmund and Sieglinde-with a mortal woman, but they have been separated since childhood. Fate brings them together on a stormy night, as an exhausted Siegmund seeks shelter at the home of Sieglinde, unhappily married to Hunding. Learning that Siegmund has killed some of his relatives, Hunding challenges Siegmund to a duel the next day. Alone that night, Sieglinde and Siegmund discover their kinship and fall in love. They flee, but Hunding pursues them; in the ensuing duel, Wotan's daughter Brünnhilde, leader of the Valkyries, tries to aid Siegmund in defiance of Wotan's orders. Wotan himself intervenes and both contestants are killed. Brünnhilde knows Sieglinde is carrying Siegmund's child and helps her to escape. Because of Brünnhilde's disobedience, Wotan strips her of her immortality, puts her into a deep sleep, and leaves her alone on a mountain surrounded by a wall of flames.