Die Walküre
Longborough Festival Opera

Die Walküre

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Siegmund and Sieglinde find themselves drawn together during a storm. Unbeknown to them their father Wotan, chief of the gods, hopes through Siegmund to retrieve a ring of ultimate power.

Die Walküre stands at the pinnacle of Romantic musical drama. Barely has the curtain opened when Wagner unleashes orchestral writing that sweeps everything away in its path. Storm, incest, divine wrath, irrepressible passion: everything is there to announce the tortuous destiny of the heroes. Through a composition in which every instrument contributes to the tragedy, Wagner begins the story proper, illuminating words and scenes with his famous leitmotifs that run beneath the singers, pass into their voices, transform and resurface as the plot develops. It is not surprising that Die Walküre (second part of the Ring of the Nibelung) is widely regarded as the most popular and the most moving. Likened to a Bayreuth in the English countryside, Longborough Festival stages a new production following the socially-distanced concert performance of Die Walküre in 2021. This new 2024 production is seen for the first time as part of Longborough’s 2024 Ring cycle. It is directed by Amy Lane, Artistic Director of Copenhagen Opera Festival, and conducted by Anthony Negus, Longborough Music Director and eminent Wagnerian.


Mark Le Brocq
Emma Bell
Paul Carey Jones
Madeleine Shaw
Lee Bisset
Julian Close
Eleanor Dennis
Cara McHardy
Rebecca Afonwy-Jones
Verena Gunz
Katie Lowe
Carolyn Dobbin
Katie Stevenson
Rozanna Madylus
Longborough Festival Orchestra
Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Anthony Negus
Amy Lane
Charlie Morgan Jones
Rhiannon Newman Brown
Emma Ryott
Tim Baxter
Assistant Conductor
Harry Sever
Assistant Director
Leo Doulton
Lorena Randi


Act I

In a violent storm, a stranger takes refuge in the home of Sieglinde and Hunding. On Hunding’s return it becomes clear that the unarmed stranger is in flight from Hunding’s kinsmen. The law demands that Siegmund be offered hospitality for the night, but Hunding warns that revenge will follow in the morning. Sieglinde gives Hunding a sleeping draught and tells the stranger of the sword buried in the tree. As they share their stories, mutual feelings grow swiftly into a passionate expression of love. Sieglinde, drawing on her earliest memories, also realises that he is no stranger. He is her twin brother, and she names him – Siegmund. In the strength of this new identity, Siegmund draws the sword from the tree, and brother and sister escape as Bride and Bridegroom.

Act II

Wotan sees in Siegmund an opportunity to regain the ring of power that was lost during the events of Das Rheingold, held now in the clutches of the giant, Fafner. Wotan asks his favourite daughter, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde, to protect Siegmund in his coming fight with Hunding. Fricka, wife of Wotan and Goddess of Marriage, is outraged by Wotan’s infidelity and the incestuous behaviour of the twins. On Fricka’s demand, Wotan must order Brünnhilde to let Siegmund fall in the battle with Hunding. Wotan shares his history and darkest moments with Brünnhilde and then gives Fricka’s order to the Valkyrie: Siegmund must die in the battle. As Sieglinde and Siegmund flee from Hunding, Brünnhilde appears and ultimately offers her protection. Siegmund and Hunding fight, and Wotan shatters his son’s sword, causing Siegmund’s death. Brünnhilde carries Sieglinde and the splintered sword away, Wotan vowing revenge for her disobedience.


The Valkyries gather on the rocky mountain, before taking the dead heroes up to Wotan and Valhalla. Brünnhilde brings Sieglinde to them, begging for their support in the face of Wotan’s anger. She reveals that Sieglinde is carrying a child who will be called Siegfried, but they refuse to help her for fear of Wotan’s wrath. Brünnhilde gives Sieglinde the shattered pieces of the sword, Nothung, which one day Siegfried will forge again. She then sends Sieglinde off to the forest to fend for herself, remaining to receive Wotan’s judgement.  Wotan arrives in a huge storm, and as punishment for her disobedience strips Brünnhilde of her powers, removing her immortality. He places her into a deep sleep, for a mortal man to come and claim her as Wife. On Brünnhilde’s insistence, Wotan surrounds the rock on which she sleeps with fire: only a fearless hero worthy of her will be able to brave the flames.