Eight Valkyries perform in Richard Wagner's Die Walküre in a concert performance with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra on May 18, 2018 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas.
(Ben Torres/Special Contributor)
Karen Foster, Elaine McKrill, Catherine Martin, Nicole Piccolomini, Erika Wueschner, Blythe Gaissert, Krysty Swann and Edyta Kulczak were the powerhouse Valkyries.
The most stirring and thrilling part of the performance came from Act III. The familiar opening fanfare of “Ride of the Valkyries,” aggressively sweeping upward, was exhilarating to hear in its original context. The powerhouse chorus of Brünnhilde’s eight sisters, arranged in two neat rows and tucked behind the bass section of the orchestra, created a heady wall of sound as they exchanged haughty greetings, laugh with cascading chromaticisms, and share triumphant battle cries of “Hojotoho!” Together, they provide a ringing polyphony that paints the stage with the heavenly backdrop of Valhalla, and the crucial dramatic nuance that drives the urgency of the plot.
As conductor Jaap van Zweden draws near to the end of his Dallas career, he displays a true command on the artform with this production. His collaboration with the soloist and musicians on stage throughout this huge romantic work demonstrates his keen abilities of navigation and interpretation, as together they laid out nearly five hours of penetrating fantasy to a nearly sold-out house.