Opera Scotland

Valkyrie 2017Edinburgh International Festival

Read more about the opera Walküre

Marvellous performance makes fitting Festival anniversary celebration

2017 being the 70th year of the Edinburgh International Festival, the opera programme was a celebratory one with a distinctly expanded line-up of nine works. The operas to be performed in concert included Die Walküre, the second instalment of the Festival's four-year survey of the Ring.

One way of ensuring a packed house in the Usher Hall on a Sunday is to put on a concert as appetising as this one. If last year's Rheingold was generally enjoyable, even with some flaws, this second instalment of the Festival's Ring project gained unanimous praise from all sides. Andrew Davis may have limited reputation in this country as a Wagner conductor, but he has started working his way through the repertoire with his opera company in Chicago. He certainly had a firm grip on the piece.

The RSNO nowadays rarely tackles Wagner as it did when it was Scottish Opera's house orchestra. The first act has featured in concert schedules from time to time, with Jessye Norman or Linda Esther Gray as Sieglinde, but the players last performed Die Walküre complete in 1972 when Sir Alexander Gibson conducted a few performances at the end of the Ring project that Scottish Opera had started, with the same work, in 1966. However on this wonderful occasion there was no indication of a lack of familiarity with the work.

The singers were also top notch, led by the wonderful Wotan of Bryn Terfel, a singer whose operatic appearances in Scotland have been shockingly rare. He was backed up by a group of soloists with experience of this music in the world's great houses.  Most were therefore performing from memory and fully involved in the drama. The interchanges between Wotan, Fricka and Brünnhilde were every bit as dramatic in the concert hall as they would be in the theatre - Karen Cargill and Christine Goerke backed up Terfel to the hilt.

Simon O'Neill is now known as a leading performer of Siegmund, for good reason, while the other two showed why they are rapidly rising up the world rankings. As in the world's major houses, the various Valkyries in the third act were cast from strength, employing singers such as Lee Bisset and Elaine McKrill who already had experience in the leading roles.

All in all this made for a hugely memorable event. Audience members were still talking about this incandescent performance days later, even when they had been to several other successful events afterwards.

Performance Cast

Siegmund a Volsung

Simon O'Neill

Sieglinde a Volsung, sister of Siegmund

Amber Wagner

Hunding husband of Sieglinde

Matthew Rose

Brünnhilde a Valkyrie

Christine Goerke

Wotan father of the Valkyries and Volsungs

Bryn Terfel

Fricka Wotan's estranged wife

Karen Cargill

Gerhilde a Valkyrie

Lee Bisset

Ortlinde a Valkyrie

Elaine McKrill

Waltraute a Valkyrie

Jennifer Johnston

Schwertleite a Valkyrie

Claudia Huckle

Helmwige a Valkyrie

Katherine Broderick

Siegrune a Valkyrie

Madeleine Shaw

Grimgerde a Valkyrie

Judit Kutasi

Rossweisse a Valkyrie

Andrea Baker

Performance DatesValkyrie 2017

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

6 Aug, 17.00

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