Wagnerian Encounters at Die Walküre

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Yes, that’s me. Yes, I am wearing viking horns. Yes, they light up. What the heck was I doing? Going to today’s matinée of Die Walküre at the Metropolitan Opera of course!

Today I attended ‘Ring Cycle 1’ Die Walküre with my Dad, and my Mom played in the orchestra. The cast included Deborah Voigt as Brünnhilde, Simon O’Neill as Siegmund, Martina Serafin (debut) as Sieglinde, Mark Delevan as Wotan, Hans-Peter König as Hunding, and Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, with Fabio Luisi on the podium. As I usually do at the Ring operas, I wore my viking horns. I wear them to every Ring opera except Das Rheingold, because there are no valkyries in it. I got many “Hey, nice hat!”s and “Where did you get that hat?s” and others even wanted to get their pictures taken with me. After several meet-and-greets, I went to my seat. A couple next to me greeted me and told me how much they loved my hat. Two minutes later, I was telling them the plot of Die WalküreThey had never seen it before, so when I told them that Sieglinde and Siegfried are siblings and that they fall in love with each other, they looked freaked out. You should have seen the woman’s face when I said that Sieglinde gets pregnant! It was fun explaining the plot of a Ring opera to people who were at least twice my age.

The opera was wonderful. Martina Serafin’s debut was a success. She has a gorgeous voice that will hopefully return to the Met after her next two performances of Sieglinde. Hans-Peter König outdid himself as usual, playing the unimpressed, almost comical Hunding. Act I was overall smooth except for a Siegmund exchange. Simon O’Neill had started off the performance with an announcement from Peter Gelb, saying that he had suffered from an allergic reaction but that we would still be able to sing. Well, once Sieglinde and Hunding left the stage in Act I, so did he. Out went O’Neill and in came Andrew Sritheran from Stage Right. I noticed first off that it was a different Siegmund because Sritheran was much taller. I also noticed because Sritheran was wearing Jonas Kaufmann’s Siegmund costume from when he did it last season, while O’Neill was not. He did a fine job, especially since he came in right away to sing the two “Wälse”s, “Winterstürme,  and pull Nothung out of the tree. It was a light voice but a fine one.

Mark Delevan and Deborah Voigt created a loving father-daughter relationship for the audience. They created loving duets throughout the opera, and then a bitter-sweet goodbye at the end. Stephanie Blythe outdid herself. After she made her first entrance in Act II, my Dad and I whispered to each other that her voice was as solid as a rock. As Fricka, she acted desperate to be heard by him, and for him to finally obey her. Erda had come between them, and she knew it. Stephanie Blythe sang an outstanding and solid Fricka.

Now, the opera was indeed wonderful, but I experienced something in between that actually surpassed it. I got to hear the eight valkyrie sisters warm up for Act III!

Photo: Me with the eight valkyrie schwesters!

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Wendy Bryn Harmer, who sang Ortlinde in today’s performance, invited me backstage to hear the valkyries warm up in Studio 203! It was an incredible experience, and a LOUD one, to hear all of the valkyries warm up together, and sing through their parts. All of them posed for a picture after they were done, and they told me that they liked my horns! This was the highlight of my day! (Thank you, Wendy).

I will be attending Die Walküre again on April 26 because I have tickets to ‘Ring Cycle 2’. I can’t wait to see it all again! HOJOTOHO!

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