WAGNER 200 Birthday Concert

Critics' choice

Sir Andrew Davis conducts the Philharmonia Orchestra in a concert commemorating the exact 200th anniversary of Wagner's birth with soloists including soprano Susan Bullock (Brünnhilde) and bass James Rutherford (Wotan).

Richard Wagner: Overture: 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg'

Richard Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from 'Tristan und Isolde'

Richard Wagner: 'Die Walküre', Act 3 (semi-staged performance in German, directed by David Edwards; with English surtitles)

The Walküre – or Valkyries – of the title are an army of maidens who ride through the air on horseback. We see twin brother and sister, Siegmund and Sieglinde, fall in love, thereby committing both adultery and (unwittingly) incest. The former is subsequently killed by Wotan, although Brünnhilde (Wotan's Valkyrie daughter) saves Sieglinde in the nick of time. The opera reaches a blazing climax during the unforgettable Third Act, when Brünnhilde is punished by Wotan, who surrounds her with a ring of fire that can only be crossed by a fearless hero destined to be none other than Sieglinde's eventual son, Siegfried.

(Note: Preceded by an afternoon of related activities on the Festival Hall terrace and in the Ballroom, including pop-up Valkyries, balcony fanfares and a performance of Vitali Bujanowski’s arrangement of 'Ring' highlights for 16 horns. There will also be a performance of the 'Siegfried Idyll' and an exhibition of illustrations from Barry Millington’s excellent new book 'Richard Wagner: the Sorcerer of Bayreuth' in the foyer.)

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