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.
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.
CHICAGO — Many productions of Wagner’s “Die Walküre” stage the “Ride of the Valkyries” scene as a rowdy reunion. We see eight Valkyrie sisters, who arrive on their flying steeds, assemble at a mountaintop to greet one another giddily.
“The loveliest scene of the opera was the first one. The river maidens, Jacqueline Echols (Woglinde), Catherine Martin (Wellgunde), and Renée Tatum (Flosshilde) all had such wonderfully unique voices, yet blended so beautifully with rich harmonies to create a shimmering river scene. As they effortlessly floated across the stage, there were billows of fog creating a cool and calming effect, which brought the audience deep into the river valleys of this mythical world. One can’t help but feel the intensely thick waves of music wash over you.”
-MD Theater Guide