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Etudes–Richard Wagner: The Ride of the Valkyries (The Main Event)

  1. Ride of the Valkyries, Richard Wagner, 1870–Performed by the Trondheim Symphoniorkester in 2021

Valkyries are female figures in Norse mythology that usher dead heroes from the battlefield to Valhalla. Wagner gives these beings a rousing number in the third act of the opera Dië Walküre (The Valkyries), which is itself the second of four installments of the epic opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Yes. Huge. Wagner worked on it for nearly twenty-six years.

            Click the YouTube link above to listen to this version of the number and watch the performers. As you watch this through the first time, pick someone on the stage that you would like to be—the conductor, one of the soloists or any one of the musicians in the orchestra. The second time through, watch that one person as closely as you can. Remember, that person is you.

            We all know that performance is just a small part of a musician’s day. So what, as a performer on that stage, did you have to do to prepare to take part in such a big, emotional piece of music? How did you study, practice and psyche yourself to get out there and do it up big?

            Don’t worry if you’re not a musician or if you’ve never taken part in a stage performance. What would you have to do to get from where you are now to your particular place on that stage?


As you “become” the person on the stage, how is it for you to be there?


React to the music. What images, from your life, does it conjure?


Exciting entertainment of cringeworthy torture? What’s it like for you to listen to this?