Budapest Wagner Days debuted in 2006 with two Parsifal performances, which in many people’s opinion surpassed their Bayreuth counterparts, launching the series and turning the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall which boasts excellent acoustics, as well as unique stage and intellectual dimensions, into an iconic destination for Wagner enthusiasts. The Ring of the Nibelung tetralogy, performed over four successive nights in the spirit of Wagner’s heritage, has become a returning production of the decade-old festival, enjoying the festivalgoers’ unwavering attention. Every year the Ring performances are accompanied by different Wagner pieces that are destined to immortality. In 2006 it was Parsifal that launched the Budapest Wagner Days series that grew into an acclaimed international festival. It was followed by Tristan and Isolde, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, The Mastersingers ofNuremberg, The Flying Dutchman and will feature his early work, Rienzi, scheduled for 2017.

News

Tickets now available for the 2017 Budapest Wagner Days Festival

The Budapest Wagner Days Festival will be back with spectacular productions in 2017. The event series has staged all classic musical dramas of the composer, and for years audiences have been treated to the productions of the Ring tetralogy in its entirety, as the festival's main attraction. The staged productions will feature the very best Wagner singers in the world.

The four monumental pieces of the Ring of the Nibelung saga will be performed between 15-18 June 2017, featuring stars such as Johan Reuter, Christian Franz, Gerhard Siegel, Walter Fink and Iréne Theorin. On 8 and 21 June, audiences can see Parsifal, with soloists Violeta Urmana, Peter Seiffert and Albert Pesendorfer.

Season tickets for the Ring Tetralogy as well as the production of Parsifal are already available for purchase. Click for more details.

Program calendar

June 2017

Quotes and critiques

Who would have dared to think a few years ago that in Budapest we would have performances of Wagner’s operas capable of matching any opera house worldwide? Maybe only Adam Fischer.

The modern style of the performance lay in the use of parallel effects – the visuals of today serve to break with linear thinking. Using supporting visuals is a dangerous game, and one must be very careful not to overkill a work with such effects. But in my view, this Budapest production succeeded in avoiding this trap. It allowed the music to speak for itself, used its symbolism to come to an understanding of the story. Which is the most noble goal that any director could set for him or herself.

(Zoltán Rockenbauer, Heti Válasz)

The audience and their loyal servant, the critic, are not treated to revelation-like stage performances too often or too rarely for that matter. Just like Schröder-Devrient was a gift to Wagner, the critic can welcome the gift of revelations, induced by outstanding performances and performers, conveying synthetic experiences that embody human essence.

Every honest performer and performance strives to discover the essence of a piece, but let me go as far to say that the more direct the approach, the less likely the success is. Efforts can backfire: apart from overperformed and oversung roles or overinterpreted conducting, further depressing experiences show that in most cases it is the directors who derail the otherwise noble intentions of a production by riding on the hobby-horse of preconception in pursuit of the essence. Time and again we’ve seen them galloping on their high horses and missing the finish line altogether. We cannot praise enough the extraordinary focus, with which the creators and performers of the Budapest Wagner Days series search for, emphasise and depict the true essence of the pieces every time, in every premiere. Thousands of visitors are witness to the fact that on many occasions their efforts led to electrifying and captivating results. There may have been some less striking acts over the eight years, but none of them were unpleasant, misleading, false or contradictious. Also, these less significant productions had plenty of moments that gave us food for thought or enlightened us artistically, philosophically and emotionally. Very mindful of my position as an outsider, I don’t know who to thank for making sure that the Budapest Wagner Days series managed to avoid local and European power struggles and ideological turfs of war and that worthy of Bartók, whose name it bears, the National Concert Hall always focussed on talent - that of the composer and the performers - and in a unique way managed to fulfil the role of Wahnfried as Asyl, which Wagner, the eternal warrior considered as a sanctuary for himself and his art. He searched for it in Zurich in vain, maybe even in Bayreuth – why else would he set off to Venice to die? Let’s flatter ourselves: He found it in Soroksár.

(Tibor Tallián, Muzsika – August 2013)

Hartmut Schörghofer, who made a name for himself abroad as a set designer, has a sure hand over the production. He remains loyal in pictures and plot to Wagner. In his production Wagner’s music dominates, not his own ideas.

it may seem strange to highlight these points, but we have seen enough evidence to the contrary on opera stages. Here, it is as if the director were observing happenings from afar, placing his trust into the explanatory nature of Wagner’s music.

(Tamás Jászai, www.kultura.hu)

The masterminds of “Budapest Wagner Days” were modest in choosing such an understated name for their ambitious project back in 2008, and the event surpassed even itself this year by turning last year’s half-cycle into a four-evening whole.

A Swiss guide went further. During the first interval in the Valkyries, he wrote on a board for the benefit of his group gathering for refreshments: Wagner-Festtage (“Wagner Festival”).

(Szabolcs Molnár, Magyar Narancs)

The innovative approach of director Hartmut Schörghofer is based on relationships. Human-human, god-god and human-god relationships. Its main goal is to use the clearest possible set of means.

A praise is due here already, since Schörghofer did not sit on his laurels after the individual premieres, the first tetralogy production in 2008 or the subsequent annual restaging of Wagner’s work.

The director continued to work on the production, which has improved, edging closer to perfection apart from a few minor details. He omitted some minor elements and added some new ones. Some modifications were due to changes in the leading roles, whereas in other areas the director came up with better solutions for capturing certain situations. Less and less props are used, proving that we do not need to see a spear in Wotan’s, a sword in Siegfried’s or a hammer in Mime’s hand at all times to know who they are and what they are doing.

(zéta, momus, 21 June 2012)

Christian Martin Fuchs:

„Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a story of revolution, and, like the revolutions Wagner witnessed (1789 and 1848), this one also ends in deadlock, betrayal and blood.

Adam Fischer:

„A dream became reality
This year the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival will again perform the entire Ring Cycle on four consecutive days – in the way Wagner originally intended.

“That they should be forced by adversity to become heroes.” – (Richard Wagner, 1850)

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is also a story of return: the gold, and the power that derives from it, corrupting gods and mortals alike, is returned to the protective waters of the Rhine. There is hope for the survivors. “...the pernicious power that poisons love is concentrated in the gold that is stolen from nature and put to ill use...” – (Richard Wagner, 1854)

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is also the story of modern times, beginning with the rejection of old moral and religious values, i.e. with the enlightenment. Siegfried, Wotan’s long awaited hero, possesses none of the old values. He is a rambo-like character, someone who does not know fear, for whom fighting is a game, and killing the aim. After this new-age Heracles is done with his “clean up” escapades, however, there follows the catastrophe, the downfall, which even Siegfried could not have prevented. His own death inevitably follows as well. No one had ever told him how it could have been otherwise.

„Down to its memory I will destroy each trace of this mad state of things, compact of violence, lies, care, hypocrisy, want, sorrow, suffering, tears, trickery, and crime... – (Richard Wagner, 1849)

And the Ring Cycle is also a – no, it is the love story. Siegfried transforms Brünnhilde from banished demi-goddess into a woman, and her love for him transforms Siegfried from cruel boy into a man. This non-biblical hymn to love represents the hope in this work, the undestroyable shimmer of light shining through a world of egoism and betrayal.”

For the artists and performers this presents an enormous challenge coupled with a massive artistic responsibility. We have to try and convince everybody that our Wagner Festival can measure up to the best Wagner productions world wide.

We want to create opera performances that make sure no one ever feels bored: for boredom is the biggest enemy of the theatre. In our interpretation of the Ring Cycle we want to extend the illusion of realism, we want to find new forms, perspectives, modern associations. It may seem bold for me to state this, but we want to create a form of opera performance for the future. Theatre must always adapt and grow. In the course of its 3000 year old history, theatre always adapted to the times and culture it developed in.

A work has timeless relevance, it speaks to all generations, but we must find contemporary ways to translate what it says. The kind of translation must always adapt and change. We aim to combine different theatre traditions in our Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival. We are a festival and we have to work with several casts, just like a repertory opera house. We also have to preserve the unity of the whole work, and the unity of our artistic vision. That is our priority. To achieve this, we combine different elements: puppets, shadow play, film and dance theatre, and the singers do not always play their traditional roles. The unity of role and performer is sometimes deliberately broken. I look at our artistic solutions as a kind of experiment. Every year we want to expand and improve our interpretations using the experiences we make from past performances.

Our production uses modern as well as traditional means: we think that this is the best way to present Wagner’s courageous vision and his modern relevance.”

Christian Martin Fuchs:

„Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle is a story of revolution, and, like the revolutions Wagner witnessed (1789 and 1848), this one also ends in deadlock, betrayal and blood. “That they should be forced by adversity to become heroes.” – (Richard Wagner, 1850)

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is also a story of return: the gold, and the power that derives from it, corrupting gods and mortals alike, is returned to the protective waters of the Rhine. There is hope for the survivors. “...the pernicious power that poisons love is concentrated in the gold that is stolen from nature and put to ill use...” – (Richard Wagner, 1854)

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is also the story of modern times, beginning with the rejection of old moral and religious values, i.e. with the enlightenment. Siegfried, Wotan’s long awaited hero, possesses none of the old values. He is a rambo-like character, someone who does not know fear, for whom fighting is a game, and killing the aim. After this new-age Heracles is done with his “clean up” escapades, however, there follows the catastrophe, the downfall, which even Siegfried could not have prevented. His own death inevitably follows as well. No one had ever told him how it could have been otherwise.

„Down to its memory I will destroy each trace of this mad state of things, compact of violence, lies, care, hypocrisy, want, sorrow, suffering, tears, trickery, and crime... – (Richard Wagner, 1849)

And the Ring Cycle is also a – no, it is the love story. Siegfried transforms Brünnhilde from banished demi-goddess into a woman, and her love for him transforms Siegfried from cruel boy into a man. This non-biblical hymn to love represents the hope in this work, the undestroyable shimmer of light shining through a world of egoism and betrayal.”

Adam Fischer:

„A dream became reality
This year the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival will again perform the entire Ring Cycle on four consecutive days – in the way Wagner originally intended.

For the artists and performers this presents an enormous challenge coupled with a massive artistic responsibility. We have to try and convince everybody that our Wagner Festival can measure up to the best Wagner productions world wide.

We want to create opera performances that make sure no one ever feels bored: for boredom is the biggest enemy of the theatre. In our interpretation of the Ring Cycle we want to extend the illusion of realism, we want to find new forms, perspectives, modern associations. It may seem bold for me to state this, but we want to create a form of opera performance for the future. Theatre must always adapt and grow. In the course of its 3000 year old history, theatre always adapted to the times and culture it developed in.

A work has timeless relevance, it speaks to all generations, but we must find contemporary ways to translate what it says. The kind of translation must always adapt and change. We aim to combine different theatre traditions in our Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival. We are a festival and we have to work with several casts, just like a repertory opera house. We also have to preserve the unity of the whole work, and the unity of our artistic vision. That is our priority. To achieve this, we combine different elements: puppets, shadow play, film and dance theatre, and the singers do not always play their traditional roles. The unity of role and performer is sometimes deliberately broken. I look at our artistic solutions as a kind of experiment. Every year we want to expand and improve our interpretations using the experiences we make from past performances.

Our production uses modern as well as traditional means: we think that this is the best way to present Wagner’s courageous vision and his modern relevance.”

Alberich the dwarf (of the Nibelung race) renounces love, as that is the only way he can seize control of the world, the Rhinegold.

Siegmund is weary and seeks shelter in—as it turns out later—his own sister and her husband’s house. The husband has been called to take vengeance on him, but respects guest rights to provide him accommodation for the night.

Mime the Nibelung tries and fails to forge Siegfried’s sword into one. The sword has the secret power to conquer the giant who guards the Ring that signifies world domination. Siegfried himself takes the hammer and the blade fuses upon a few of his powerful strikes.

King Gunther’s rule could be consolidated through a marriage of high rank. Brünnhilde is guarded by an impenetrable ring of fire, but Siegfried could bring it to her if he could win the hand of Gunther’s younger sister as a reward.

15 June 2017, Thursday 6 pm

Preliminary Evening

Das Rheingold

A music drama in four scenes (no interval)

German-language performance, with projected subtitles in Hungarian and in German

On Earth. The light-hearted play of the Rhine-maidens is interrupted by the Nibelung Alberich. Instead of joining in their frivolous games, he steals the gold that they are guarding. In doing so, he renounces love.

The Kingdom of the Gods. In order to maintain peace with his wife Fricka, Wotan has enlisted the giants Fafner and Fasolt to build a fortress for her. In return, he has promised them Freia, Fricka’s sister. As guardian of agreements and promises, Wotan must remain true to his word. Loge, the demigod of fire, suggests a compromise: Alberich is said to have forged a powerful ring out of the Rhine gold. Loge and Wotan travel down to Nibelheim, the world of the Nibelungs to retrieve the treasure, whilst the giants keep Freia hostage. Without Freia, and her golden apples, the gods’ power quickly diminishes.

The Underworld. Alberich uses his Ring and the “Tarnhelm” (a magical helmet which makes those who wear it invisible) to torment the other Nibelungs, especially his brother Mime. Using his cunning, Loge manages to steal the gold, the Tarnhelm and the ring from Alberich. Alberich places a powerful curse on the bearer of the Ring.

The World of the Gods. Freia is released. Erda, the Earth goddess, warns Wotan not to keep the ring. Wotan realises that the world of the Gods would go under if he were to keep it and so he hands the ring to the giants. And the curse of the ring starts working immediately: Fafner slays his brother Fasolt. The Gods retreat into their fortress, Valhalla. Two ravens, who inform Wotan of what is happening in the world, are his companions. Loge laughs at the imminent downfall of the Gods. The Rhinemaidens are left behind, mourning the loss of the gold.

Artistic director and conductor: Adam Fischer
Featuring: The Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Choir (choir director: Zoltán Pad)
Dramaturg: Christian Martin Fuchs
Costume and puppet design: Corinna Crome
Lighting design: Andreas Gruter
Video: Momme Hinrichs, Torge Moller (fettFilm)
Choreographer: Teresa Rotemberg
Revival director: Etelka Polgár, Sylvie Gábor
Set designer, director: Hartmut Schörghofer

Wotan:

James Rutherford

Wotan:

James Rutherford

James Rutherford won the Seattle Opera's International Wagner Competition in 2006 and ever since has been considered a recognised singer of German Romantic opera, especially the works of Wagner. The baritone has sung the roles of Hans Sachs (Bayreuth Festival, State Operas of Vienna and Hamburg, Cologne and San Francisco Operas, Glyndebourne), Wolfram (San Francisco Opera), Kurwenal (Washington National Opera), and the title role of Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner in Budapest Opera Festival), as well as both Amfortas and the Dutchman with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons. His album of arias by Wagner has also been released, featuring Andrew Litton conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Donner:

Zsolt Haja

Donner:

Zsolt HAJA

Zsolt Haja is one of the pillars of local opera performance in Debrecen, the city of his birth. He won the József Simándy Singing Competition in Szeged in 2006, the Ferruccio Tagliavini International Singing Competition in 2007, and received a special award at the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna in 2008. He debuted in the Csokonai Theatre in Debrecen in 2005 and first appeared in King Pomádé’s New Clothes in the Hungarian State Opera. The Müpa Budapest audience has already had the chance to hear him in the Richard Strauss opera Capriccio, with Zoltán Kocsis conducting.

Froh:

Christoph Strehl

Loge:

Christian Franz

Loge:

Christian FRANZ

Christian Franz debuted as Max (Freischütz) at Sächsisches Landestheater Radebeul. Since then he sang a broadly based repertoire including operas of Mozart, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss, Henze and Janáček. He performed amongst others at Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich State Opera Houses, the Bayreuther Festspiele, Metropolitan Opera New York, New National Theatre Tokyo, Canadian Opera Toronto, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma. A regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival, he sang the title role of Parsifal, all the tenor parts in the Ring, and also winning great acclaim as Tristan.

Alberich:

Péter Kálmán

Alberich:

Péter KÁLMÁN

Péter Kálmán started singing with Anna Pauk, and then continued his studies at New York's Manhattan School of Music under Gábor Carelli and in Hungary under Mircea Breazu. For a total of seven seasons, starting in 1997 at the Zürich International Opera Studio, and then from the following year at Opernhaus Zürich, he worked as a soloist with such conductors as Christoph von Dohnányi, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Stephan Soltesz and Franz Welser-Möst. His major roles in Zürich included Silvano (Un ballo in maschera), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), Angelotti (Tosca), and Papageno (The Magic Flute). He has made guest appearances in numerous countries around the world.

Mime:

Gerhard Siegel

Mime:

Gerhard SIEGEL

Gerhard Siegel began his musical career as an instrumentalist and composer before commencing vocal training. From 1999 to 2006 in Nuremberg he could expand his repertoire into the dramatic and heroic field. From 2006, he performed as a freelance singer among others as Max (Freischütz, Berlin), Protagonist (Bregenz Festival), Herod (Salome, Montpellier, Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, Brussels), Hauptmann (Wozzeck, Madrid, Paris London, Stuttgart, Met New York, Chicago), Traumgörge (Berlin), Sellem (The Rake's Progress, Vienna), Schujskij (Boris Godunow, Munich), Mime (Rheingold, Siegfried, Bayreuth, New York/Met, Budapest, Barcelona, Tokyo). ©Claudio Hiller

Fafner:

Walter Fink

Fafner:

Walter FINK

Walter Fink became a member of the Wiener Staatsoper in 1991, and has played some 70 roles there to date, including Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Rocco (Fidelio), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Varlaam (Boris Godunov), King Heinrich (Lohengrin), Veit Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Titurel (Parsifal), Daland (Der fliegende Holländer) and Fafner (Siegfried). The eminent Austrian opera house recognised him with the title of “Kammersänger” in 2001. He has been a guest performer at the Bregenz Festival, in Berlin, Lyon, Toulouse, Mannheim and Düsseldorf. His overpowering portrayal of Hunding at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival also met with great success.

Fasolt:

Gábor Bretz

Fasolt:

Gábor BRETZ

Gábor Bretz studied in Los Angeles and at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where he graduated from the opera department in 2004. In three subsequent years, he took second place at each of three singing competitions, in Baden, Szeged and Miskolc, but in 2005 won top prize at the Maria Callas Grand Prix competition in Athens. His principal rules include Mefistofele (Boito and Gounod), Figaro, Leporello, Banquo, Gurnemanz and Bluebeard. He has appeared at Berlin's Komische Oper, Milan's La Scala, the Salzburg Festival, at Covent Garden and in Sydney. He has worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Gustavo Dudamel, Adam Fischer and Valery Gergiev. ©Lilikoi Photography

Fricka:

Atala Schöck

Fricka:

Atala SCHÖCK

Atala Schöck, as one of the most sought-after Hungarian mezzo-sopranos, participated at the Bayreuth Festival four years in a row, in its production of Parsifal conducted by Pierre Boulez and Adam Fischer. She has appeared, among other venues, at Dresden's Semperoper, La Monnaie in Brussels, at Theater an der Wien as well as at Opéra Bastille in Paris. Audiences at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival have been able to see her regularly since 2006.

Freia:

Lilla Horti

Freia:

Lilla Horti

Erda:

Bernadett Fodor

Erda:

Bernadett Fodor

Bernadett Fodor graduated from the University of Music in Vienna. She has taken the winners’ podium after several Hungarian singing competitions and has also received the Kodály and Schubert prizes. In 2010, she won the Birgit Nilsson Memorial Award given to young opera singers and received an invitation to the Frankfurt Opera’s staging of Die Walküre later that same year, first performing as Schwertleite, and later as Rossweise. She debuted at the Hungarian State Opera in the autumn of 2015. ©Péter Németh

Wellgunde:

Gabriella Fodor

Wellgunde:

Gabriella Fodor

Gabriella Fodor was still a student when she made her debut at the Hungarian State Opera – where she is currently a soloist – as Miss Jess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She completed her studies at the opera faculty of Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2004, and in that same year sang the title role in Kamilló Lendvay’s opera The Respectful Prostitute at the Budapest Autumn Festival. Her repertoire features songs and oratorios ranging from the Baroque period to the contemporary. She is a regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival. ©Artbalance Stúdió

Woglinde:

Eszter Wierdl

Woglinde:

Eszter Wierdl

Eszter WIERDL is a soloist with the Hungarian State Opera. She graduated from Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying under Éva Andor and Balázs Kovalik, furthering her studies through master classes held by Gundula Janowitz, Ileana Cotrubas, Júlia Hamari, László Polgár and Helmuth Rilling. In addition to her classical repertoire, she also enjoys singing infrequently performed 20th century and contemporary operatic works. She has appeared at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival for years.

Flosshilde:

Zsófia Kálnay

Flosshilde:

Zsófia KÁLNAY

Zsófia Kálnay won the József Simándy Singing Competition as a student of Mária Temesi at the Music Faculty of the University of Szeged. Shortly afterwards, the mezzo-soprano joined the Szeged National Theatre as a soloist. As the winner of the special prize at the singing competition, she performed in the Richard Strauss opera Die schweigsame Frau conducted by Zoltán Kocsis at Müpa, and has since received several prestigious invitations to sing oratorios and opera pieces. She has previously performed the roles of Flosshilde and Rossweise at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival.

16 June 2017, Friday 4 pm

First Day

Die Walküre

A music drama in three acts (two intervals)

German-language performance, with projected subtitles in Hungarian and in German

On Earth. Siegmund, the Wälsung, mortal son of Wotan, finds shelter in the house of his enemy, Hunding. The following day he is challenged to a duel and he has no weapon. Siegmund recognises Hunding’s wife Sieglinde as his sister. They fall madly in love. She gives him Notung, a powerful and invincible sword. Brother and sister flee together. Wotan’s scheme, to save the world through a hero who does not know fear, seems to be working.

Between Earth and the Heavens. Fricka, guardian of marriages, forces Wotan to sacrifice the lives of the two adulterers. He must command his daughter Brünnhilde to release Siegmund from her protection. When Siegmund refuses to follow his fate and accompany Brünnhilde to Valhalla, she ignores her father’s command. Wotan destroys the sword Notung. Hunding slays the unarmed Siegmund and is killed by Wotan. Brünnhilde flees with Sieglinde, who is carrying a child.

Between Earth and the Heavens. The Valkyries are the nine daughters of Wotan and Erda. They travel through the world, bringing fallen heroes to Valhalla. They are Wotan’s secret army in his fight against the power-hungry Alberich. Instead of arriving with Siegmund, as the Valkyries expected, Brünnhilde arrives with the pregnant Sieglinde, closely followed by Wotan. Sieglinde is taken to safety. Wotan directs his wrath at Brünnhilde; the daughter who obeyed his secret order. He strips her of her immortality, and turns her into a helpless woman. Wotan then surrounds her with Loge’s fire, where she will remain asleep, until a hero arrives; a hero capable of waking her and winning her heart. The hero, who does not know fear.

Artistic director and conductor: Adam Fischer
Featuring: The Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Choir (choir director: Zoltán Pad)
Dramaturg: Christian Martin Fuchs
Costume and puppet design: Corinna Crome
Lighting design: Andreas Gruter
Video: Momme Hinrichs, Torge Moller (fettFilm)
Choreographer: Teresa Rotemberg
Revival director: Etelka Polgár, Sylvie Gábor
Set designer, director: Hartmut Schörghofer

Siegmund:

Christopher Ventris

Siegmund:

Christopher Ventris

Hunding:

Sebastian Pilgrim

Wotan:

James Rutherford

Wotan:

James Rutherford

James Rutherford won the Seattle Opera's International Wagner Competition in 2006 and ever since has been considered a recognised singer of German Romantic opera, especially the works of Wagner. The baritone has sung the roles of Hans Sachs (Bayreuth Festival, State Operas of Vienna and Hamburg, Cologne and San Francisco Operas, Glyndebourne), Wolfram (San Francisco Opera), Kurwenal (Washington National Opera), and the title role of Der fliegende Holländer (Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival), as well as both Amfortas and the Dutchman with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons. His album of arias by Wagner has also been released, featuring Andrew Litton conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Sieglinde:

Anje Kampe

Sieglinde:

Anje Kampe

Anja Kampe broke on to the music scene in 2003 singing Sieglinde, sharing the stage at the Washington National Opera with Plácido Domingo. Today she is one of the best Wagner-sopranos of our times, her signature roles include Senta, Sieglinde, Isolde and Kundry. Further plans in summer 2016 include Sieglinde with Daniel Barenboim at the Staatsoper Berlin, Isolde in Grange Park and Tove in Gurrelieder in Edinburgh. The season 2016/17 will bring her debuts as Katerina Ismailova in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Kirill Petrenko at the Bavarian State Opera Munich and as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre with Christian Thielemann at the Salzburg Easter Festival. ©Sasha Vasiljev

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Iréne Theorin debuted as a member of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Opera in the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in 2005. In December of that same year and in the spring of 2006, she sang all three Brünnhilde roles in the Copenhagen production of the Ring. Her first American performances in 2009 saw her sing Brünnhilde both in Washington and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She has collaborated with such exceptional conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Bertrand de Billy, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Franz Welser-Möst.
©Enrico Nawrath

Fricka:

Atala Schöck

Fricka:

Atala Schöck

Atala Schöck, as one of the most sought-after Hungarian mezzo-sopranos, participated at the Bayreuth Festival four years in a row, in its production of Parsifal conducted by Pierre Boulez and Adam Fischer. She has appeared, among other venues, at Dresden's Semperoper, La Monnaie in Brussels, at Theater an der Wien as well as at Opéra Bastille in Paris. Audiences at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival have been able to see her regularly since 2006.

Helmwige:

Gertrúd Wittinger

Helmwige:

Gertrúd Wittinger

Gerhilde:

Eszter Wierdl

Gerhilde:

Eszter Wierdl

Eszter WIERDL is a soloist with the Hungarian State Opera. She graduated from Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying under Éva Andor and Balázs Kovalik, furthering her studies through master classes held by Gundula Janowitz, Ileana Cotrubas, Júlia Hamari, László Polgár and Helmuth Rilling. In addition to her classical repertoire, she also enjoys singing infrequently performed 20th century and contemporary operatic works. She has appeared at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival for years.

Ortlinde:

Beatrix Fodor

Ortlinde:

Beatrix Fodor

Beatrix Fodor graduated from Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music, continuing her studies in Graz and Vienna. In 2002, she placed second at the Salzburg Mozarteum’s 8th International Mozart Competition and first at the Prague–Vienna–Budapest Summer Academy competition. In addition to her many concert performances, she primarily sings roles from Mozart’s operas, receiving much acclaim as Donna Anna (Don Giovanni). She later sang in Le nozze di Figaro and in Die Zauberflöte and has also appeared in Richard Strauss’s Elektra.

Waltraute:

Gabriella Fodor

Waltraute:

Gabriella Fodor

Gabriella Fodor was still a student when she made her debut at the Hungarian State Opera – where she is currently a soloist – as Miss Jess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She completed her studies at the opera faculty of Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2004, and in that same year sang the title role in Kamilló Lendvay’s opera The Respectful Prostitute at the Budapest Autumn Festival. Her repertoire features songs and oratorios ranging from the Baroque period to the contemporary. She is a regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival. ©Artbalance Stúdió

Siegrune:

Éva Várhelyi

Siegrune:

Éva Várhelyi

Éva Várhelyi earned a diploma from Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music in voice pedagogy in 1986, and two years later, after studying under Zsolt Bende, Dénes Gulyás and Balázs Kovalik, completed another as an opera singer. She later expanded her knowledge at master classes held by Júlia Hamari, László Polgár and Helmuth Rilling. Várhelyi has received awards at several international singing competitions and is a regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival as Siegrune in Die Walküre.

Rossweisse:

Zsófia Kálnay

Rossweisse:

Zsófia Kálnay

Zsófia Kálnay won the József Simándy Singing Competition as a student of Mária Temesi at the Music Faculty of the University of Szeged. Shortly afterwards, the mezzo-soprano joined the Szeged National Theatre as a soloist. As the winner of the special prize at the singing competition, she performed in the Richard Strauss opera Die schweigsame Frau conducted by Zoltán Kocsis at Müpa, and has since received several prestigious invitations to sing oratorios and opera pieces. She has previously performed the roles of Flosshilde and Rossweise at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival.

Grimgerde:

Gál Erika

Schwertleite:

Annamária Kovács

Schwertleite:

Annamária Kovács

Annamária Kovács earned a diploma in concert singing from Budapest’s Franz Liszt Academy of Music, followed by another in opera singing. She is a member of the Hungarian State Opera, where she has sung a number of alto repertoire roles. She has performed as a guest in many European countries, and has performed the title role of Carmen in Japan. She has sung together with Agnes Baltsa, Renato Bruson, Yevgeny Nesterenko and Ramón Vargas. Her concert repertoire spans from Bach to the present day.

17 June 2017, Saturday 4 pm

Second Day

Siegfried

A music drama in three acts (two intervals)

German-language performance, with projected subtitles in Hungarian and in German

On Earth. The blacksmith Mime has raised the orphaned Siegfried, son of the Wälsung siblings Siegmund and Sieglinde. The Nibelung also harbours the broken pieces of the sword Notung. Yet he did not raise the orphan out of a sense of duty and kindness: Both Siegfried, the young hero who knows no fear, and the sword Notung are a means for Mime to seize the ring that is now being guarded by Fafner and to gain world domination. A wanderer – we recognise him to be Wotan – stirs the Nibelung’s greed, and challenges him to a battle of wits, in which Mime forfeits his head. Siegfried, tired of his foster father, wields the sword himself. Mime arms himself with a poisonous potion.

In a different place. Fafner, transformed into a dragon, guards the treasure, the ring and the Tarnhelm, the magical helmet. He is observed closely by Alberich, who is wanting to reclaim his treasure. The Wanderer is also there; having renounced power he is now seemingly impassively observing world events as they unfold. Mime leads Siegfried to Fafner’s cavern, and Siegfried easily slays the dragon. Fafner’s blood causes Siegfried to understand a Wood Bird, and following its advice, he takes the ring and Tarnhelm for himself. Alberich is left empty-handed. Siegfried also now understands Mime’s betrayal and slays the dwarf. The Wood Bird shows Siegfried the way to the source of his – as yet undefined – longing: to a woman, Brünnhilde.

Between Earth and the Heavens. One last time, the Wanderer turns to the ancient Mother Erda for advice. However, her knowledge fails her in the light of the imminent end of the world. The Wanderer now hears of the power of the fearless and lawless hero Siegfried. The latter is on his way to the banished Brünnhilde, against the wishes of the once so powerful God Wotan. Siegfried releases Brünnhilde from her spell, and comes to feel two things: fear and love.

Artistic director and conductor: Adam Fischer
Featuring: The Hungarian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Choir (choir director: Zoltán Pad)
Dramaturg: Christian Martin Fuchs
Costume and puppet design: Corinna Crome
Lighting design: Andreas Gruter
Video: Momme Hinrichs, Torge Moller (fettFilm)
Choreographer: Gábor Vida
Revival director: Etelka Polgár, Sylvie Gábor
Set designer, director: Hartmut Schörghofer

Siegfried:

Christian Franz

Siegfried:

Christian Franz

Christian Franz debuted as Max (Freischütz) at Sächsisches Landestheater Radebeul. Since then he sang a broadly based repertoire including operas of Mozart, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss, Henze and Janáček. He performed amongst others at Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg and Munich State Opera Houses, the Bayreuther Festspiele, Metropolitan Opera New York, New National Theatre Tokyo, Canadian Opera Toronto, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma. A regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival, he sang the title role of Parsifal, all the tenor parts in the Ring, and also winning great acclaim as Tristan.

Mime:

Gerhard Siegel

Mime:

Gerhard Siegel

Gerhard Siegel began his musical career as an instrumentalist and composer before commencing vocal training. From 1999 to 2006 in Nuremberg he could expand his repertoire into the dramatic and heroic field. From 2006, he performed as a freelance singer among others as Max (Freischütz, Berlin), Protagonist (Bregenz Festival), Herod (Salome, Montpellier, Vienna, Berlin, Budapest, Brussels), Hauptmann (Wozzeck, Madrid, Paris London, Stuttgart, Met New York, Chicago), Traumgörge (Berlin), Sellem (The Rake's Progress, Vienna), Schujskij (Boris Godunow, Munich), Mime (Rheingold, Siegfried, Bayreuth, New York/Met, Budapest, Barcelona, Tokyo). ©Claudio Hiller

Alberich:

Péter Kálmán

Alberich:

Péter Kálmán

Péter Kálmán started singing with Anna Pauk, and then continued his studies at New York's Manhattan School of Music under Gábor Carelli and in Hungary under Mircea Breazu. For a total of seven seasons, starting in 1997 at the Zürich International Opera Studio, and then from the following year at Opernhaus Zürich, he worked as a soloist with such conductors as Christoph von Dohnányi, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Stephan Soltesz and Franz Welser-Möst. His major roles in Zürich included Silvano (Un ballo in maschera), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), Angelotti (Tosca), and Papageno (The Magic Flute). He has made guest appearances in numerous countries around the world.

Fafner:

Walter Fink

Fafner:

Walter Fink

Walter Fink became a member of the Wiener Staatsoper in 1991, and has played some 70 roles there to date, including Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte), Osmin (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Basilio (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Rocco (Fidelio), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Varlaam (Boris Godunov), King Heinrich (Lohengrin), Veit Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Titurel (Parsifal), Daland (Der fliegende Holländer) and Fafner (Siegfried). The eminent Austrian opera house recognised him with the title of “Kammersänger” in 2001. He has been a guest performer at the Bregenz Festival, in Berlin, Lyon, Toulouse, Mannheim and Düsseldorf. His overpowering portrayal of Hunding at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival also met with great success.

Erda:

Bernadett Fodor

Erda:

Bernadett Fodor

Wanderer (Wotan):

Albert Dohmen

Forest bird:

Mária Celeng

Forest bird:

Mária Celeng

Mária Celeng earned her degree at Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music. Since making her Müpa Budapest début in Purcell's opera The Fairy Queen, she has also sung in Mozart's Requiem with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. At the Miskolc International Opera Festival, she first appeared as Sandrina in Haydn's opera L'infedeltà delusa, later returning to portray Clorinda in Monteverdi's Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Belinda in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. In 2010, she received a special prize in the song and oratorio category at the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition.

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Iréne Theorin debuted as a member of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Opera in the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in 2005. In December of that same year and in the spring of 2006, she sang all three Brünnhilde roles in the Copenhagen production of the Ring. Her first American performances in 2009 saw her sing Brünnhilde both in Washington and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She has collaborated with such exceptional conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Bertrand de Billy, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Franz Welser-Möst.
©Enrico Nawrath

18 June 2017, Saturday 4 pm

Third Day

Götterdämmerung

A music drama in three acts (two intervals)

German-language performance, with projected subtitles in Hungarian and in German

Between Earth and the Heavens. The Norns, Erda’s daughters, are no longer able to predict the future. The World Tree has been chopped to timber, awaiting the Great Fire. The ropes of destiny have become irreversibly intertwined.

On Earth. Brünnhilde bids leave to Siegfried, who is on his way to new heroic adventures. He finds himself in the company of the Gibichungs at the Rhine, the siblings Gunther and Gutrune, and their half brother Hagen, son of Alberich and their mother Grimhild. Hagen is Alberich’s tool in getting at Siegfried’s ring. However the ring remained with Brünnhilde as a token of Siegfried’s fidelity. So Hagen develops a plan: Siegfried is to drink a potion that makes him forget everything, then rob Brünnhilde for Gunther. As a reward, Gutrune shall become Siegfried’s wife. Meanwhile, the Valkyrie Waltraute tries in vain to convince Brünnhilde to return the cursed ring to the Rhine maidens, and thus to prevent disaster. The robbery and betrayal of Brünnhilde all happen according to Hagen’s plan.

On Earth. Alberich demands that his son Hagen swear allegiance to him. Hagen fuels hate and suspicion in Gunther against the triumphant Siegfried. The betrayed Brünnhilde also seeks revenge. The unknowing hero is wed to Gutrune.

In different places. Siegfried is taken on the Gibichung’s hunting trip in a ploy to kill him. The Rhine-maidens beg Siegfried to return the ring, but he laughs them off. In the company of the men, his memory slowly returns. Hagen quickly slays Siegfried. Brünnhilde realises the extent of the treacherous plot, and fulfils her final obligations to him: Siegfried’s body is burnt in the first flames of the World Fire. Then Brünnhilde too gives herself up to the fire, which destroys the world of mortals and gods alike.

The Rhine rises over its banks and the cursed gold is returned to its original place.

Artistic director and conductor: Adam Fischer
Featuring: Hungarian Radio Choir (chorus master: Zoltán Pad), Budapest Studio Choir (chorus master: Kálmán Strausz)
Dramaturg: Christian Martin Fuchs
Costume and puppet design: Corinna Crome
Lighting design: Andreas Gruter
Video: Momme Hinrichs, Torge Moller (fettFilm)
Choreographer: Gábor Vida
Revival director: Etelka Polgár, Sylvie Gábor
Set designer, director: Hartmut Schörghofer

Siegfried:

Daniel Brenna

Siegfried:

Daniel Brenna

Daniel Brenna’s international career started in 2011 at the Zurich Opera as Aron in Moses und Aron. In this role, he was previously successful at Miskolc International Opera Festival and Müpa Budapest. In 2012 he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Desportes in Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten. In this role he made his debut in Munich and at La Scala. Other guest appearances have taken him to the Metropolitan Opera, the National Opera Amsterdam, the Stuttgart and Leipzig Opera, the Komische Oper Berlin and the Aalto-Theater in Essen. He sang Siegfried successfully in Dijon, at the Longborough Festival, in Stuttgart and Washington. ©Christine Hoeflmayr

Gunther:

Oliver Zwarg

Gunther:

Oliver Zwarg

Oliver ZWARG studied history and pedagogy before turning his attention to singing. He made his début in 1997, in Ludwigshafen, and then became a member of the Hamburg Opera Studio in 1999 and of Staatsoper Hannover in 2001. A freelance singer today, he has appeared at Europe's major opera houses, as well as at the Vienna, Salzburg, Edinburgh and Lucerne festivals and at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. Works by Richard Strauss and Wagner constitute a significant part of his operatic repertoire, and he has performed the roles of Telramund, Kurwenal, Amfortas, Klingsor, The Dutchman, Wotan and Alberich. His concert repertoire embraces the entire musical literature, ranging from the Renaissance to the present day.

Alberich:

Péter Kálmán

Alberich:

Péter Kálmán

Péter Kálmán started singing with Anna Pauk, and then continued his studies at New York's Manhattan School of Music under Gábor Carelli and in Hungary under Mircea Breazu. For a total of seven seasons, starting in 1997 at the Zürich International Opera Studio, and then from the following year at Opernhaus Zürich, he worked as a soloist with such conductors as Christoph von Dohnányi, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Stephan Soltesz and Franz Welser-Möst. His major roles in Zürich included Silvano (Un ballo in maschera), Belcore (L'elisir d'amore), Angelotti (Tosca), and Papageno (The Magic Flute). He has made guest appearances in numerous countries around the world.

Hagen:

Rúni Brattaberg

Hagen:

Rúni Brattaberg

Rúni Brattaberg is originally from the Faroe Islands. He studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at the International Operastudio in Zürich. After Mainz, Ulm, Detmold and Bern, he was engaged at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, where he could expand his repertoir. He has sung King Filipp, Padre Guardiano, Ramphis, Banquo, Rocco, Seneca, Kaspar, Il Commendatore, Prince Gremin and Doktor from Wozzeck. In 2013 he appeared as Titurel at the Met, where he later returned as Baron Ochs. He has sung the roles of Hagen, Gurnemanz, Fafner, Hunding, Sparafucile, Sarastro and Hermann in Munich, Chicago and Leipzig.

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Brünnhilde:

Iréne Theorin

Iréne Theorin debuted as a member of Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Opera in the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in 2005. In December of that same year and in the spring of 2006, she sang all three Brünnhilde roles in the Copenhagen production of the Ring. Her first American performances in 2009 saw her sing Brünnhilde both in Washington and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. She has collaborated with such exceptional conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Bertrand de Billy, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Adam Fischer, Valery Gergiev, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Franz Welser-Möst.
©Enrico Nawrath

Waltraute:

Anna Larsson

Waltraute:

Anna Larsson

©Anna Thorbjörnsson

Gutrune:

Polina Pasztircsák

Gutrune:

Polina Pasztircsák

Polina Pasztircsák has had her achievements as a singer recognised with a first place at the József Simándy Singing Competition, as well as with first place, the audience award and three special awards at the Geneva International Music Competition and a special award at the ARD Music Competition in Munich. She has performed in opera houses and concert halls across Europe, and in addition to singing Woglinde at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival, she has sung in the Grand Théâtre de Geneve’s production of the Ring.

1. norna:

Erika Gál

1. norna:

Erika Gál

Erika Gál is a member of the Hungarian State Opera and a winner of the Komlóssy Prize. She made her debut in 2002 at the Erkel Theatre as Lola in Cavalleria rusticana. In that same year, she studied in Bayreuth after winning a scholarship from the Wagner Society. She regularly appears at the Miskolc International Opera Festival, and has sung the title role of Carmen at the Bucharest Opera Festival. She has been a guest performer in Finland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Japan and Thailand. She regularly performs as Flosshilde, Erda and the First Norn at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival.

2. norna:

Judit Németh

2. norna:

Judit Németh

Judit Németh is a soloist of the Hungarian State Opera and an adjunct professor with the Music Faculty at Széchenyi University in Győr. Up until 2000, she was primarily considered a concert singer both in Hungary and abroad, but then appeared in Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival from 2000–2007. She has sung at La Scala, the Semperoper Dresden and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The Liszt Prize-winner and Artist of Merit has sung Kundry, Fricka, Brangäne and the Second Norn at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival, all with tremendous success.

3. norna:

Polina Pasztircsák

3. norna:

Polina Pasztircsák

Polina Pasztircsák has had her achievements as a singer recognised with a first place at the József Simándy Singing Competition, as well as with first place, the audience award and three special awards at the Geneva International Music Competition and a special award at the ARD Music Competition in Munich. She has performed in opera houses and concert halls across Europe, and in addition to singing Woglinde at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival, she has sung in the Grand Théâtre de Geneve’s production of the Ring.

Woglinde:

Eszter Wierdl

Woglinde:

Eszter Wierdl

Eszter WIERDL is a soloist with the Hungarian State Opera. She graduated from Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music, studying under Éva Andor and Balázs Kovalik, furthering her studies through master classes held by Gundula Janowitz, Ileana Cotrubas, Júlia Hamari, László Polgár and Helmuth Rilling. In addition to her classical repertoire, she also enjoys singing infrequently performed 20th century and contemporary operatic works. She has appeared at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival for years.

Wellgunde:

Gabriella Fodor

Wellgunde:

Gabriella Fodor

Gabriella Fodor was still a student when she made her debut at the Hungarian State Opera – where she is currently a soloist – as Miss Jess in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. She completed her studies at the opera faculty of Budapest's Franz Liszt Academy of Music in 2004, and in that same year sang the title role in Kamilló Lendvay’s opera The Respectful Prostitute at the Budapest Autumn Festival. Her repertoire features songs and oratorios ranging from the Baroque period to the contemporary. She is a regular fixture at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival. ©Artbalance Stúdió

Flosshilde:

Zsófia Kálnay

Flosshilde:

Zsófia Kálnay

Zsófia Kálnay won the József Simándy Singing Competition as a student of Mária Temesi at the Music Faculty of the University of Szeged. Shortly afterwards, the mezzo-soprano joined the Szeged National Theatre as a soloist. As the winner of the special prize at the singing competition, she performed in the Richard Strauss opera Die schweigsame Frau conducted by Zoltán Kocsis at Müpa, and has since received several prestigious invitations to sing oratorios and opera pieces. She has previously performed the roles of Flosshilde and Rossweise at the Budapest Wagner Days Opera Festival.

  • Gods:
    • Wotan (bass-baritone): King of the Gods, god of light, air, and wind. He supports the warriors, initiation and sacrificial rites, so he can also be regarded as a war god.
    • Fricka (mezzo-soprano): Wotan’s wife, goddess of marriage and protector of family happiness. She often confronts her husband because of his infidelity, but she is the one who persuades Wotan to steal Alberich’s gold ring as a ransom for Freia.
    • Freia (soprano): Fricka's sister, goddess of love, fertility and beauty. She looks after and protects the golden apples.
    • Donner (baritone): Fricka’s brother, god of thunder, storm and vegetation. His main role is to protect humans from the giants.
    • Froh (alt): (alto): Fricka's brother, god of spring, rain and sunshine. He guards the rainbow bridge to Valhalla.
    • Erda (alto): goddess of Earth and wisdom. The Valkyries are the children of Wotan and Erda.
    • Loge (tenor): Wotan’s adopted brother, god of fire that brings disaster and end to all, demon of disaster in general, cause of all troubles for the gods and the humans. Scheming and conspiring, he is Wotan’s advisor.
  • The Norns (alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano): Erda’s daughters, the weavers of fate.
  • The Valkyries: lower-ranking goddesses, serving Wotan. Their role was to choose the bravest warriors who fell in battle and take them to Valhalla.
    • Waltraute (mezzo-soprano)
    • Helmwige (soprano)
    • Gerhilde (soprano)
    • Siegrune (mezzo-soprano)
    • Schwertleite (mezzo-soprano)
    • Ortlinde (soprano)
    • Grimgerde (mezzo-soprano)
    • Rossweisse (mezzo-soprano)
  • Brünnhilde 4. Brünnhilde (soprano): Wotan’s favourite daughter who is tasked to carry out her father’s orders. She disobeys, however, saving Siegmund’s life for which she is condemned to an enchanted sleep on a rock, surrounded by fire. She can only be saved by a young mortal of pure heart.
  • The Rhinemaidens: innocent, but provocative beauties of nature, Earth mother Erda’s daughters, keepers of the treasure of the Rhine.
    • Woglinde (soprano)
    • Wellgunde (soprano)
    • Flosshilde (alto)
  • The Giants help the Gods to build their new home, Valhalla, however when Wotan refuses to give them Freia as promised, they kidnap her and later accept the treasure of the Rhine in payment in exchange for Freia.
    • Fasolt (bass-baritone)
    • Fafner (bass): Fasolt’s brother. When Wotan hands over Alberich’s gold ring to him, blinded by greed, he kills Fasolt. He turns into a dragon and guards his treasure in a cave.
  • Nibelungs: giants (trolls) in Germanic mythology, in Wagner’s interpretation the dwarf inhabitants of Nibelheim:
    • Alberich (baritone): scheming dwarf, Mime’s brother, Hagen’s father. He robs the Rhinegold of the Rhinemaidens and forges a ring from the gold by means of magic. Using the power of this ring, Alberich binds the Nibelungs in slavery and forces them to mine gold for him.
    • Mime (tenor): Alberich’ brother, Siegfried’s stepfather. Scheming dwarf, who undertakes to bring up Siegfried in the hope that the young man will forge the Nothung, a magic sword, with which he can slay Fafner the dragon and take the dragon’s hoard.
  • The Wälsungs: Children of Wotan (under the name Wälse) and a mortal woman:
    • Siegmund(tenor): Sieglinde’s twin brother. He is searching for the magic sword, the Nothung, of which he heard from his father.
    • Sieglinde (soprano): Siegmund’s twin sister. She lives in Hunding’s house, fleeing from him. She dies giving birth to Siegfried.
    • Siegfried (tenor): The son of Siegmund and Sieglinde. According to Germanic mythology, his mother put him in a nearby stream in a glass vessel before she died. He was found and brought up by the blacksmith Mime.
  • The Gibichungs are the descendants of Gibich, ruler of the kingdom by the Rheine.
    • Gunther (baritone): king of the Gibichungs, son of King Gibich and Griemhilde. He drugs Siegfried with a magic potion, who in this state helps him get his desired Brünnhilde in exchange for Gutrune. He tries to get the ring after Siegfried’s death, but he is killed by Hagen.
    • Gutrune (soprano): Gunther’s younger sister. She marries Siegfried in order to help her brother get Brünnhilde.
  • Hagen (bass): Son of Alberich and Griemhilde. He tries to get the ring at Alberich’s order and gives a love potion to Gunther to get Brünnhilde.
  • Hunding (bass): Sieglinde’s husband. After Siegmund kills his relatives, he stabs Siegmund to death, earning the wrath of Wotan and death by his spear.
  • Voice of a Woodbird (soprano): Siegfried encounters her in front of Fafner’s cave. After drinking from the dragon’s blood the hero understands the voice of the bird telling him of Mime’s secret and leading him to Brünnhilde’s rock.
  • Quotes and critiques

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