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May 3, 2007 > 'Ride of the Valkyries' to highlight opera concerts

'Ride of the Valkyries' to highlight opera concerts

From the helicopter assault scene in the movie "Apocalypse Now" to cartoon character Elmer Fudd singing "kill da wabbit," "Ride of the Valkyries" by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is one of the most recognized motifs in Western music.

The Washington University Opera will perform "Ride of the Valkyries" from Wagner's opera "Die Walküre" (1870) as part of its Evening at the Opera concerts at 8 p.m. May 4-5 in Umrath Hall.

Also featured are works by Peter Tchaikovsky and Claudio Monteverdi.

Performances — sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences — are free and open to the public.

Jolly Stewart is director of the Washington University Opera. John Stewart, director of vocal activities in the music department, conducts.

The program begins with selections from "The Queen of Spades" (1891) by Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), a story of obsessive gambling replete with ghosts and secret codes.

The program continues with excerpts from "The Coronation of Poppea" (1643) by Monteverdi (1567-1643), an historical tale in which the Emperor Nero discards his wife, Ottavia, to marry the scheming, power-hungry Poppea.

The program concludes with singers — complete with horns and spears — performing music from "Die Walküre," part of Wagner's four-opera Ring Cycle, based on figures from Teutonic lore. "Ride of the Valkyries," from the third act, depicts four sisters of the Valkyrie Brünnhilde as they prepare to transport fallen heroes to the halls of Valhalla.

For more information, call 935-4841 or e-mail staylor@wustl.edu.