Die Walküre


Die Walküre

Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

The second opera in the Ring Cycle holds special appeal for audiences with its dramatic power and remarkable music, including the famous ‘Ride of the Valkyries’. After Das Rheingold’s rarefied realm of gods, monsters and nature spirits, in Die Walküre Wagner plunges headlong into the highly emotional world of humanity.

Love animates the actions of all the leading characters: Wotan, who wants to protect his children but is forced to forsake them; his twin offspring Siegmund and Sieglinde who fall passionately in love; and his warrior daughter Brünnhilde, who defies Wotan by trying to protect the twins. He punishes her by stripping her of her immortality and putting her to sleep surrounded by a wall of flames that only the greatest hero can brave.

A Day with the Ring

A Day with the Ring is an all-day symposium during each of the three Ring Cycles. Conceived and chaired by Peter Bassett and involving experts in various fields, these symposia will examine The Ring and its staging from many perspectives. Book at

Other operas in the Ring cycle


Conductor Pietari Inkinen
Director Neil Armfield
Associate Directors Kate Champion
  Roger Press
Set Designer Robert Cousins
Costume Designer Alice Babidge
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper

Sound Designer

Jim Atkins
Associate Conductor Anthony Legge
Assistant Conductor Tahu Matheson
Assistant Directors Greg Eldridge
  Tama Matheson
Assistant to the lighting designer James Lipari
Movement revival Frankie Snowdon


James Johnson
Fricka Jacqueline Dark
Siegmund Bradley Daley
Sieglinde Amber Wagner
Hunding Jud Arthur
Brünnhilde Lise Lindstrom
Gerhilde Anna-Louise Cole
Ortlinde Olivia Cranwell
Waltraute Sian Pendry
Schwertleite Dominica Matthews
Helmwige Mariana Hong
Siegrune Amanda Atlas
Grimgerde Nicole Youl
Rossweisse Roxane Hislop


Opera Australia Chorus

The Melbourne Ring Orchestra

The Ring Cycle requires huge orchestral forces. The Melbourne Ring Orchestra will unite 135 musicians. Opera Australia's Melbourne performance partner, Orchestra Victoria, will be joined by outstanding musicians from national and international orchestras, including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra.

Running time: approximately 5 hours & 45 minutes, including two intervals.

The first interval is 75 minutes long and will start at approximately 6:10pm. The second interval is 40 minutes long and will start at approximately 9pm.

Lockouts apply. Latecomers may not be admitted until interval. 

Performed in German with English surtitles.

Melbourne Ring Cycle Principal Supporters

Maureen Wheeler AO and Tony Wheeler AO

Melbourne Ring Cycle Major Supporters

Hans and Petra Henkell
Anonymous (1)

Opera Australia Government Partners

Australia Council logo & Creative Victoria

Opera Australia Principal Partner

Mazda logo

Venue Partner

Arts Centre Melbourne logo

Act I

As a storm rages, Siegmund the Wälsung, exhausted from pursuit by enemies in the forest, stumbles into a house for shelter. Sieglinde finds the stranger lying by the hearth, and the two feel an immediate attraction. But they are soon interrupted by Sieglinde’s husband, Hunding, who asks the stranger who he is. Calling himself ‘Woe-full’, Siegmund tells of a life filled with sorrow, only to learn that Hunding is a kinsman of his foes. Hunding challenges the stranger to combat the next day. Left alone, Siegmund calls on his father, Wälse, for the sword he once promised him. Sieglinde reappears, having given Hunding a sleeping potion. She tells of her wedding, at which a one-eyed stranger thrust into a tree a sword that thereafter resisted every effort to pull it out. Sieglinde confesses her unhappiness to Siegmund, whereupon he ardently embraces her and vows to free her from her forced marriage to Hunding. Siegmund compares their feeling to the marriage of love and spring. Sieglinde asks if his father was really ‘Wolf’, as he said earlier. When Siegmund gives his father’s name as Wälse instead, Sieglinde knows for certain that he is the Wälsung for whom the sword is intended. She tells him that he is her twin brother and Siegmund draws the sword from the tree. 

Act II

Wotan instructs his daughter Brünnhilde to protect Siegmund in the impending fight with Hunding. Brünnhilde warns Wotan that his wife, Fricka, the guardian of marriage, is approaching. Fricka arrives demanding the punishment of Siegmund and Sieglinde, who have committed adultery and incest. She knows that Wotan, disguised as the mortal man Wälse, fathered Siegmund and Sieglinde. Wotan protests that he requires a free hero (i.e. one not ruled by him) to aid his plans, but Fricka retorts that Siegmund is not a free hero. He is a pawn in a game invented by Wotan, who is himself severely compromised by his promiscuity. Backed into a corner, Wotan agrees to forbid Brünnhilde to let Siegmund win the battle against Hunding, ensuring the death of his beloved child Siegmund.

Siegmund and Sieglinde enter. Sieglinde faints in guilt and exhaustion. Brünnhilde approaches Siegmund and tells him of his impending death. Siegmund refuses to follow Brünnhilde to Valhalla when she tells him Sieglinde cannot accompany him there. He draws his sword and threatens to kill both Sieglinde and himself. Impressed by his passionate love, Brünnhilde relents and agrees to grant victory to Siegmund instead of Hunding.

Hunding arrives and attacks Siegmund. Brünnhilde urges Siegmund to trust in his sword ‘Nothung’ but Wotan appears and shatters Nothung with his spear. While Siegmund is disarmed Hunding stabs him to death. Wotan looks down on Siegmund’s body, grieving, while Brünnhilde gathers up the fragments of Nothung and flees with Sieglinde. Wotan strikes Hunding dead with a dismissive gesture, and angrily sets out in pursuit of his disobedient daughter.

Act III 

The Valkyries, preparing slain heroes destined for Valhalla, are surprised at the arrival of their sister, Brünnhilde, with Sieglinde. When they hear she is fleeing Wotan’s wrath, they refuse to protect her. Brünnhilde tells Sieglinde that she bears Siegmund’s child. She receives the pieces of the sword from Brünnhilde and thanks her rescuer as she rushes off into the forest to hide near Fafner’s cave, a place safe from Wotan. When the god appears, he sentences Brünnhilde to become a mortal woman. Brünnhilde pleads that in disobeying his orders she was really doing what he wished. Wotan will not relent: she must lie in sleep, vulnerable to the first man who finds her. But as his anger abates she asks the favour of being surrounded in sleep by a wall of fire that only the bravest hero can penetrate. Wotan kisses Brünnhilde’s eyes with sleep and mortality before summoning Loge, the spirit of fire, to encircle the rock.


Das Rheingold




Or read the full synposis

"Its beauty and dramatic power were superbly realised."

The Age

"As the doomed twin lovers, Bradley Daley and Amber Wagner are revelatory."

The Guardian

"Thoughtful second part to Armfield's Ring transports us to soprano heaven."

Limelight Magazine 

"In a truly thrilling performance, American soprano Lise Lindstrom electrifies the stage as Wotan’s cherished daughter Brünnhilde."

Simon Parris: Man in Chair


Choose from a wide selection of five, four or three-star hotels, suite-hotels and self-contained apartments in the Melbourne CBD and Southbank area. 8 nights from AUD$1,299 per person, twin-share, including daily breakfast (where available), special welcome reception, pre-performance talks, A Day with the Ring symposium and a priority booking service for sightseeing tours.

For further information visit or telephone toll-free 1300 727 095 (within Australia) or 0800 403 621 (from New Zealand).

See all available travel package partners.

Pan seared duck breast, potato, baby leek, duck leg tortellini and orange
               scented jus, served on a shiny black plate.Arts Centre Melbourne is offering a range of dining options, timed to coincide with intervals, inspired by the world of The Ring Cycle. Book online at or call 1300 182 183.

Ein Königsmahl (A King's Feast)

Hugh Williamson Room
Four-course degustation with matched wines
$250* per guest, per meal

See the menu

Speisen unter den Sternen (Dine Amongst the Stars)

The Pavilion
Three-course meal with matched wines
$140* per guest, per meal

See the menu 

Siegfried’s Picknick Korb (Siegfried's Hamper)

Around Arts Centre Melbourne
A hamper of savoury and sweet food
$45* per hamper for one
$80* per hamper for two

See the menu 

More to eat and drink

Arts Centre Melbourne has a range of eateries that will be open during The Ring Cycle. Find out more.

Download The Ring Cycle food and beverage experience brochure (pdf)

*a transaction fee of $7.95 applies 
'Richard Wagner and the Valhalla state of mind' by Roger Scruton

Recommended by Maureen Wheeler and Lyndon Terracini, this article by philosopher Roger Scruton discusses why The Ring Cycle is so important: it's "a story of the gods for people who have no gods to believe in."

'The Perfect Wagnerite' by George Bernard Shaw

This controversial and entertaining Marxist reading of the Ring by playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw remains compelling reading, even if you don't agree with him.

Download for free for Kindle or iBooks.

'The Ring and the Rings' by Alex Ross

One ring to rule them all: Alex Ross (The Rest is Noise) explores the links between Wagner, Tolkien, and Peter Jackson.

'Secret Passage: Decoding ten bars in Wagner's Ring' by Alex Ross

Alex Ross takes a look at one of the hundreds of tiny moments that makes up The Ring Cycle, "it is an affair of sidelong glances, compassionate shrugs, paralyzing hesitations, callous joys, comforting sorrows, and, beneath it all, endless yearning."

Interviews with the cast and creative team behind The Melbourne Ring Cycle

Deborah Humble talks to the people on stage and behind the scenes.

'With This Ring': An interview with Assistant Director, Roger Press

Shamistha de Soysa speaks to Roger Press about his experience working on The Melbourne Ring Cycle.

Podcast: The Ring and I

Listen to this excellent special episode of the wonderful Radiolab podcast about how and why The Ring Cycle has permeated our culture.

Further listening: NPR's Self-Help Guide to Wagner

Ring Cycle Events

There are many events happening around Melbourne during The Ring Cycle: concerts, talks, tours, and more.

See what’s on

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