The second installment of Wagner’s four-part Ring cycle, Die Walküre is the most popular and most self-contained episode in the epic tetralogy. It combines the mythical machinations of gods and demigods with the deeply human love story of the brave hero Siegmund and the dignified Sieglinde, whose passion is undiminished even when they discover that they are long-lost brother and sister, separated at birth. It also features one of opera’s most touching father-daughter relationships—that between Wotan, king of the gods, and his warrior-maiden daughter Brünnhilde, leader of the Valkyries. Wagner’s score requires singers as superhuman as the characters they portray and features some of the most glorious orchestral music ever written, making for an unforgettable operatic experience.
This 1989 telecast stars Hildegard Behrens as Brünnhilde, James Morris as Wotan, Christa Ludwig as Fricka, and Jessye Norman and Gary Lakes as Sieglinde and Siegmund.