Review: Wagner: Die Walkure

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Leeds Town Hall

The second installment of Wagner’s Ring cycle from Opera North finds that on his visits to earth, the supreme god, Wotan, has fathered a host of illegitimate offspring, two of them, Siegmund and Sieglinde, who were separated when young, now falling in love.

That is the opening of the epic drama, Die Walkure, here presented in a staged concert version with filmed sequences projected on screens as the backdrop, those through the first act only distracting from the static nature of the story.

Musically it was an unqualified success, nowhere more so than in the debut performance of Sieglinde from Alwyn Mellor, her large, radiant and perfectly focused voice, responding to the nuances of every word.

The American tenor, Erik Nelson Werner, choked-up on one climatic high note, but made a likeable Siegmund who was no match for the malevolence of the chilling sounds from Clive Bayley’s murderous Hunding.

The Hungarian baritone, Bela Perencz, was a vocally imposing Wotan, who draws audience tears as he bids farewell to his daughter, Brunnhilde, here taken by the highly impressive last minute replacement, Kelly Cae Hogan.

A fine account of Fricka from Katarina Karneus, and eight splendid Valkyrie complete the cast, the superb playing of the Orchestra of Opera North, with Richard Farnes conducting, drawing the most enthusiastic part of a long and noisy final ovation.

Die Walkure returns to Leeds Town Hall. Jun 27, 5pm. 0113 224 3801.