The Ring of the Nibelung: First Day

Die Walküre

The Valkyrie
Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
Sung in German, with surtitles
Libretto: by the composer
First performance: 1870 in Munich

Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster
Photo: Karl & Monika Forster

“I have been caught in my own trap. I am the least free of all men!”
Wotan’s desperate outcry shows the change in his position since “Das Rheingold”: powerless instead of powerful, gridlocked instead of free, a slave to his own treaties. His unlawful seizure of the great world-dominating ring has only given more power to Alberich and effectively crippled the ruler of the gods. All hopes of world domination now rests on the shoulders of a free-spirited joker-turned-hero, someone quite unaffected by the powerful grip of the gods. In turn, Siegmund and Sieglinde’s free love is to reawaken a counterforce which will revive and invigorate the threatened world. But Fricka, Wotan’s wife and the guardian of wedlock, exposes Wotan’s self-deception: as Wotan’s flesh and blood, Siegmund must be sacrificed to serve his proper purpose in the struggle for power. Forced to act against his own interests, Wotan sends his Valkyries to destroy Siegmund. Brünnhilde rebels against her father’s wrongdoings; her insubordination brings a crucial turnaround. The punishment which Wotan unleashes on his daughter is dreadful, yet it sows the seeds for the salvation of his goal and – eventually – his own downfall. Brünnhilde’s punishment becomes an act of emancipation: the stripping of her Valkyrie status to become a mortal woman, held in a magic sleep on the mountain, encircled by a protective ring of fire – these elements set the scene for the long-awaited arrival of a true free-born hero, who is now to save the world. His name is Siegfried.

2017 International May Festival
The Ring Cycle

Das Rheingold
First performance: 1869 in Munich

Die Walküre
First performance: 1870 in Munich

First performance: 1876 in Munich

First performance: 1876 in Bayreuth

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)
Libretto: by the composer

The 2017 International May Festival offers two complete cycles of Wagner’s “Ring”, each spread over the course of six days. On the “rest days” during the first cycle, we offer the Wagner Gala Concert, a lecture matinee and a reading from Thomas Mann’s “Wälsungenblut”, while the second cycle offers the operas “Le nozze di Figaro” and “Die Zauberflöte”.

“The incomparable thing about myth,” wrote Wagner in 1851, “is that it is true for all time.” His “Ring” is a drama about the genesis and demise of a mythical world which is, despite everything, more current than ever before. With human co-existence at its core, Wagner’s mammoth four-part work is filled with symbols such as ring, speer, gold, helmet and sword, as well as countless musically and textually interwoven elements. Figures, ideas, thoughts, feelings and naturalistic references blend with words and music to form images in which endless associative properties are hidden and expressed. In the end, what ultimately remains after all the violence and death, is hope for a new beginning – an unredeemed wish not only for the 19th, but also for the 20th and 21st centuries.

1st Cycle
Das Rheingold 26 April
Die Walküre 27 April
Siegfried 29 April
Götterdämmerung 1 May

2nd Cycle
Das Rheingold 23 May
Die Walküre 24 May
Siegfried 26 May
Götterdämmerung 28 May


Conductor Alexander Joel
Director Uwe Eric Laufenberg
Stage Designer Gisbert Jäkel
Costume Designer Antje Sternberg
Lighting Designer Andreas Frank
Video Falko Sternberg
Dramaturgy Regine Palmai
Siegmund Richard Furman
Hunding Young Doo Park, Albert Pesendorfer
Wotan Egils Silins
Thomas J. Mayer
Sieglinde Sabina Cvilak, Eva-Maria Westbroek
Brit-Tone Müllertz
Brünnhilde Evelyn Herlitzius
Fricka Margarete Joswig
Helmwige Sarah Jones
Gerhilde Sharon Kempton
Ortlinde Heike Thiedmann
Waltraute Judith Gennrich
Siegrune Marta Wryk
Rossweiße Anna Krawczuk
Grimgerde Maria Rebekka Stöhr
Schwertleite Romina Boscolo
Statisterie des Hessischen Staatstheaters Wiesbaden, Hessisches Staatsorchester Wiesbaden