Die Walküre -
'... live performances that rightly earn due applause act by act ...'
The action of this Barcelona Walküre, whether in Hunding's hut, on
mountain summits, or in the gorge where Siegmund must be felled, is confined by
a barrier of enlarged wire-netting, presumably making the point that all characters
of the drama are imprisoned. The other main prop is the World Ash Tree from which
Wotan originally carved his spear, which Harry Kupfer and Hans Schavernoch as producer
and set designer will diminish through successive evenings of The Ring. It
makes a convincing repository for the sword in Die Walküre Act 1 and a
convenient bed somewhere in the mountains for the sleeping Brünnhilde at the
end of the work.
Sieglinde (Linda Watson) dallying with Siegmund (Richard Berkeley-Steele) in front of the World Ash Tree in Act 1 of Die Walküre. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte
Wagner is at pains during The Ring to differentiate musically gods, giants,
dwarfs, Erda, the Valkyrie brood, and ultimately the humans. The Barcelona Wotan of
Falk Struckmann, with dark glasses and pigtail (sensibly tucked away for the aerial
galop to the Valkyries' perch), looks hardly more divine than anyone on a well-earned
break at the seaside. Giants, dwarfs and Erda are only hinted at in snatches of
musical motif. The helmeted and spear-waving Valkyries are certainly convincing enough
as they stride through a multitude of scantily-clad male corpses. Of the humans,
Sieglinde is initially got up as the impeccable heroine of any British wartime film,
and then the warrior corpses are prodded by the Valkyries so as to become vertical
again and presumably more manageable for the flight to Valhalla.
Copyright © 12 June 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK