Operas that wrestle with human emotions such as love, greed and the lust for power are for everyone, says Katharina Wagner.
She is the great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner and the artistic director of the Bayreuth Festival orchestra, which specialises in showcasing his work. She is also the woman in charge of bringing ‘The Valkyrie’, or ‘Die Walkure’, to the UAE. The show runs as part of Abu Dhabi Classics, organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) on January 30 and February 1 at the Emirates Palace.
It’s a drama Wagner promises will make an impression.
First, there’s the plot: Young man Siegmund finds himself at the home of Hunding and his wife, Sieglinde. The newcomer and woman secretly fall in love, and Hunding discovers an old grudge with Siegmund. After the revelation, the two men decide to fight the following morning as honour dictates, but Hunding finds himself drugged by his wife. Meanwhile, Siegmund recovers an old sword that his father had spoken to him about and the new lovers discover their feelings are taboo: they are brother and sister. This Gordian knot is further complicated by the designs of deities including the chief lord Wotan. Eventually, love, compassion and duty lead to the death of a hero and the banishment of a trusted soldier.
Then there’s a stellar cast, explains Wagner. It includes Stephen Gould as Siegmund, who was awarded the title of Osterreichischer Kammersanger by the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture Austria in 2015; Albert Dohmen as Hunding; brass baritone Egils Silins as Wotan; and soprano Catherine Foster, who has played Brunnhilde for six consecutive years. The music is made for a tearful watch.
“We have an orchestra which is specialised in playing Wagner and they are coming from all over the world. So you’ll really have a high quality music experience,” says the artistic director.
Plus there is a feature length movie that provides context of the story and how Wagner originally developed it.
“With the movie you can make other things than you can make on stage — for example you can look backwards in the movie and you can look to the future and on stage it’s not that easy,” she explains.
‘The Valkyrie’ promises to ride in on a storm of emotion; it’s tough to be prepared.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to see the Bayreuth Festival’s performance of ‘The Valkyrie’ at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi on January 30 and February 1 start at Dh395.