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The netting is grey for the start of Act 3, with the Valkyries in splendid trim as they 'Hojotoho' for all they are worth amid the acres of scattered man-meat. But they also rally loyally to Brünnhilde as she beseeches their aid in defence of the helpless Sieglinde [watch -- DVD3 chapter 2, 0:00-1:12, 'Schützt mich und helft in höchster Not!'].

The Valkyries 'Hojotoho' amid acres of scattered man-meat, at the start of Act 3. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte
The Valkyries 'Hojotoho' amid acres of scattered man-meat, at the start of Act 3. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte

Once the pregnant Sieglinde has accepted her lot and staggers off to the forest for the birth of Siegfried, Brünnhilde's task is so to work on Wotan that her punishment for outrageous disobedience will be merely to sleep until Siegfried has grown up sufficiently to make a possible husband. Wagner lavishes his utmost art as Wotan bids Brünnhilde farewell and prepares to summon Loge for an encircling fire of defence [listen -- DVD3 chapter 13, 4:30-5:45, 'Denn einer nun freie die Braut']. The netting can now become fitfully red.

At the end of Act 3, Wotan (Falk Struckmann) bids farewell to Brünnhidle (Deborah Polaski) and summons Loge. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte
At the end of Act 3, Wotan (Falk Struckmann) bids farewell to Brünnhidle (Deborah Polaski) and summons Loge. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte

The Barcelona orchestra is fully in command of the massive score, which Bertrand de Billy keeps commendably on the move. If there is the odd moment of roughness, how could it not be so in a couple of live performances that rightly earn due applause act by act? The cameras have not always been kind to the singers, with Sieglinde as a main casualty. It is a matter of careful discretion to know when close-up enhances a dramatic moment or distracts from it. The Act 1 twins are less well served in this respect than, say, Wotan and Brünnhilde in Act 3, where shadows cast by the lighting are artistically used. But this Walküre, with its stimulation, challenges and lapses, only whets the appetite for Siegfried and the ultimate collapse of the gods.

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Copyright © 12 June 2005 Robert Anderson, London UK

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Wagner: Die Walküre

OA 0911 D 1xDVD5, 2xDVD9 16:9 anamorphic NTSC region 0 (worldwide) LPCM Stereo and DTS digital surround NEW RELEASE 250' 2005 Opus Arte

Falk Struckmann, Wotan; Richard Berkeley-Steele, Siegmund; Eric Halfvarson, Hunding; Linda Watson, Sieglinde; Deborah Polaski, Brünnhilde; Lioba Braun, Fricka; Sabine Brohm, Gerhilde; Annegeer Stumphius, Ortlinde; Marisa Altmann-Althausen, Waltraute; Andrea Bönig, Schwertleite; Heike Gierhardt, Helmwige; Mireia Pintó, Siegrune; Corinne Romijn, Grimgerde; Francisca Beaumont, Rossweisse

Harry Kupfer, stage director; Hans Schavernoch, sets; Reinhard Heinrich, costumes; Manfred Voss, lighting; Guerassim Voronkov, Markus Fohr, assistant musical directors; Katharina Lang, Derek Gimpel, Enrico de Feo, assistant stage directors; Beatrix Lorber, assistant set design; Diego Leetz, assistant lighting; Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Bertrand de Billy, musical director

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Die Walküre (1870) (Day 1 of 'Der Ring des Nibelungen'), opera in three acts, libretto by the composer. Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona. Original production from Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin. Extra features: cast gallery; illustrated synopsis

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ROBERT ANDERSON'S REVIEW OF THE BARCELONA 'DAS RHEINGOLD'

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