With Das Rheingold’s preliminary squabbles between gods, giants and dwarfs out of the way, Die Walküre gets down to the monumental fracturing of a family.
Wotan has sired many, many children, none more beloved than Brünnhilde and Siegmund. By the end of Walküre, Siegmund will be dead and Brünnhilde exiled. Wotan’s wife, Fricka, has implacably exposed contradictions in his complicated deal-making that effectively neuter him.
What’s needed are performances that keep you in their thrall as deeply human interpersonal conflicts are laid bare, along with a reason to accept a story in which a crucial plank is the marriage of a brother to his sister.
Suzanne Chaundy’s production for Melbourne Opera does the job by concentrating on character and emotion and letting the narrative look after itself. The approach wasn’t entirely successful in Rheingold; it was in Walküre.
As Wotan consigned Brünnhilde to her fate, Chaundy had Warwick Fyfe’s god feverishly stroke his daughter’s hair and face as if trying to imprint her likeness on his...