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Introduction

A dangerous ring that grants its owner unlimited power has been forged. Wotan, ruler of the gods, is forced into a series of increasingly desperate compromises to try to retrieve it.

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Background

Die Walküre had its premiere in Munich in 1870. It was conceived by Richard Wagner as the first day of the Ring, following the 'prelude' of Das Rheingold. Its music includes the lyrical 'Spring Song' and surging 'Ride of the Valkyries', one of Wagner's most instantly recognizable melodies. Die Walküre is the most performed individual opera in the cycle. Its complex exploration of familial relations has provided inspiration for many writers, including George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Thomas Mann and Angela Carter.

Wotan's voyage of self-discovery and acceptance of the impossibility of his predicament are at the heart of Keith Warner’s production. Wotan’s great monologue in Act II – in a ruined hall of the gods that reflects his inner decline – is set to some of the most dramatic and experimental music Wagner created. By contrast, Siegmund and Sieglinde’s blossoming love is expressed in beautiful duets of great lyricism and fluidity, as is Wotan’s farewell to his beloved daughter Brünnhilde. Visual motifs recur throughout The Royal Opera’s production. They parallel Wagner’s innovative use of musical leitmotifs and bring unity to the cycle as a whole.