Die Walküre | Opera review

Longborough Festival Opera, Moreton-in-Marsh

Any lingering notion that Longborough's full-scale Wagner Ring represented folly has been blown away with this fine production of Die Walküre, the second opera in the cycle: it has both intimacy and integrity.

From the thunder of the opening prelude to the tenderness of Wotan's farewell to his daughter Brünnhilde, conductor Anthony Negus realises Wagner's score with great fluency and insight. Together with this authority from the pit, Alan Privett's directorial concept distills the essence of the drama, marrying every eloquently simple gesture with musical leitmotif.

Kjell Torriset's stark design and Guy Hoare's lighting sharpen the focus; in particular, a glass waterbowl and a glass rod as Wotan's spear reflect the light to elemental, symbolic effect. Suzanne Firth's choreography further tightens the action, with three black-clad actor-dancers as the omnipresent Norns, spinning out the fateful thread of life.

In his UK debut as Wotan, bass-baritone Jason Howard is a handsome physical presence, and vocally, too, he manages to be noble yet vulnerable. His Fricka, Alison Kettlewell, has exactly the force needed to make credible Wotan's capitulation to her will. The Walküre are a fearsome octet – but there's no cliched screeching, though Alwyn Mellor's Brünnhilde takes until the final act to get truly into her stride.

Key to the evening's success is the passion of the incestuous lovers, twins Siegmund and Sieglinde: Andrew Rees is virile and full-toned, but also conveys compassion; Lee Bisset is revelatory, her rich and luminous sound ideally suited to Wagner and always compelling.


Rian Evans

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Die Walküre – review

Bryn Terfel continues to captivate as the Ring Cycle's second opera becomes a thrilling juggernaut of noise, writes Erica Jeal

Erica Jeal

27, Sep, 2012 @10:52 AM

Die Walküre – review
Erik Nelson Werner and Alwyn Mellor are glorious in Opera North's "austerity Ring", which continues to enthral and amaze, writes Tim Ashley

Tim Ashley

17, Jun, 2012 @4:01 PM

Article image
Das Rheingold/Die Walküre – review
Gold turns to oil in a much-anticipated but very mixed Ring cycle that has too many distractions, writes Martin Kettle

Martin Kettle

28, Jul, 2013 @3:59 PM

Article image
Prom 15: Die Walküre - review

The cast was very close to being as good as any could be assembled from singers today, while surely there's no other ensemble in the world that has this music more deeply ingrained in its collective psyche than the Berlin Staatskapelle, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

24, Jul, 2013 @9:29 AM

Die Walküre/The Madness of an Extraordinary Plan - review
The Madness ... is too self-consciously erudite to work as an introduction, but it was classily done and contains some dazzling scenes, writes Tim Ashley

Tim Ashley

17, Jul, 2011 @3:28 PM

Opera review: Das Reingold/Die Walküre | Royal Opera House, London

Royal Opera House, London The Mariinsky's staging of Wagner's Ring turns this provocative works into a piece of new-age wooziness, writes Tim Ashley

Tim Ashley

31, Jul, 2009 @9:35 PM

Wagner: Die Walküre; Tannhäuser | CD review

Not all live recordings of Die Walküre were created equal, discovers Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

20, Aug, 2009 @11:01 PM

WNO/Koenigs – review
Lothar Koenigs conducts a muted run-up to Welsh National Opera's Wagner season, writes Rian Evans

Rian Evans

29, Apr, 2013 @5:54 PM

Der Fliegende Holländer – review

Zurich Opera deliver a superbly energised and paradoxically joyous rendition of Wagner's tragedy, says Guy Dammann

Guy Dammann

19, Dec, 2012 @6:55 PM

Parsifal – review

Conductor and orchestra were fabulous, but key singing personnel weren't on form, writes Andrew Clements

Andrew Clements

01, Apr, 2012 @5:45 PM