Director's Notes

There is no question that Wagner’s Ring is one of the supreme achievements of 19th century art. No other composer has so completely immersed himself in the political and philosophical ideas of their time. This magnificent and richly layered work finds its inspiration from a multitude of sources; from the spirit of the 1848 Revolution (Wagner was a devoted Anarchist who was close to Bakunin), to the dramatic strategies of classic Greek Theatre, to a deep reading of philosophers such as Hegel, Kant and Schopenhauer.

The most essential source of tension in the work is between the love of power and the power of love. In Wagner’s world, power is sustained by an elaborate set of laws and treaties, combined with a brutal show of force and the threat of destruction. Perhaps the single most destructive force – as laid out so brilliantly in Die Walküre – is the capacity for self-delusion.

It is in this examination of self-delusion that any production must focus on the generation and carefully constructed aspect of myth. I’m fascinated by the way in which the creation of any myth (be it national, familial or personal) allows one to condone what might otherwise seem a transgression. In Die Walküre, even the most grave transgression of incest is given a degree of license under the generation of myth.

Who constructs these myths? Why should we believe them? Die Walküre is a brilliantly constructed drama that finds its force in the disparity between the literal – the stories and myths that the characters articulate – and the overwhelming ability of Wagner’s music to give expression to the irrational and subconscious. This revolutionary combination is the genius of Wagner’s extraordinary imagination.

Atom Egoyan

A scene from the Canadian Opera Company production of Die Walküre, 2015. Conductor Johannes Debus, director Atom Egoyan, set and costume designer Michael Levine, and lighting designer David Finn. Photo: Michael Cooper.

Performance Dates & Times
View the performance dates below:
  • Sat. January 31, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Wed. February 4, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Sat. February 7, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Tue. February 10, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Fri. February 13, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Thu. February 19, 2015 at 7 p.m.
  • Sun. February 22, 2015 at 2 p.m.
Please note: All evening performances of Die Walküre start at 7 p.m.
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