Day 9 The Valkyrie – Ride of the Valkyries – Richard Wagner

The Valkyrie – Ride of the Valkyries
Richard Wagner


I really have to go and see this opera. I love the myths and legends that inspired it (as well as being a fan of Lost Girl…which you know…has a Valkyrie… that counts as relevant right?).

This is another piece that I was familiar with ahead of the challenge but the drama and passion captures my imagination more and more as time goes by, not less!

Da Facts

The leitmotif (main theme) of the piece (ooh, aren’t I learning lots!) known as “Walkürenritt” was first written down on the 23rd of July 1851.

The composition of the opera as a whole was completed in 1856. That’s a *nasty* case of ear worm.

This piece belongs to the third act of the second opera in a series of four – Die Walküre – The Valkyrie. The series of Operars are know as – Der Ring des Nibelungen – The Ring of the Nibelung.

This is the only ensemble piece of the four Ring opera’s that Wagner composed.

The piece builds up successively, layer by layer; corresponding to the story of the opera – Valkyrie sisters meeting on the mountain top, preparing to carry the souls of heroes to Valhalla, culminating in a battle cry.

Did you know?

The opera was first performed on the 26th of June 1870 against Wagner’s express intention. From January of the following year, he was inundated with requests to play this piece independently of the Opera – an idea he vehemented rejected. When the score was released by Schott, he wrote a letter of complaint. It took until 1876 for Wagner to soften his stance. In 1877 he conducted it in London on May the 12th and even repeated it as an encore.
This piece was used to fantastic effect in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now during the attack on a North Vietnamese village by a gun ship.


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