Here is the second instalment of poor Wotan's attempt to cling to power and avert his doom. Wotan uses sex to try to maintain his hold on power - out of the 14 individual soloists in Die Walkure, 11 are Wotan's illegitimate children (the only woman who was safe around Wotan was his wife, apparently). Wotan's plan is for the 9 Valkyries to bring fallen heroes to Valhalla so that he has an army of valiant men to command, and he hopes that Siegmund will restore the Ring to the Rhine-Maidens Unfortunately, things don't go to plan.
This is the most popular of the four operas and is superbly sung and recorded here. Even the traditionalists will like this because there isn't much "updating" of the opera.
Here is the Amazon Editorial review:
"Wagner's ideas of "racial purity" reach a logical conclusion in Act I of Die Walküre, powerfully performed in this Bayreuth production. Siegfried, the tragic hero of the cycle, is begotten in an adulterous, incestuous mating of Siegmund (Peter Hoffmann) and Sieglinde (Jeanne Altmeyer), a twin brother and sister. No miscegenation here.
Siegfried will not be seen until the next opera in the cycle. For now, the Valkyries (after their famous, musically spectacular ride) are asked to protect Sieglinde, his pregnant mother-to-be, until he can be born. His father is killed in a fight with Hunding, Sieglinde's brutish husband, with Wotan intervening against his will to help the wronged spouse. Wotan has been forced by his wife Fricka, who is the goddess of marriage, elegantly played by Hanna Schwartz. Her victory is a striking display of Wotan's diminishing powers. Brunnhilde, Wotan's daughter and leader of the Valkyries (Gwyneth Jones), disobeys a paternal prohibition, rescues Sieglinde and hides her in safety to wait out her pregnancy. For this, she is punished by losing her divine status and being left asleep for years, surrounded by a circle of magic fire, until a hero (Siegfried, who has not yet been born) will come to rescue her.
This episode is extremely well-sung, with particularly notable work by Hoffmann, Altmeyer, Schwartz, Jones and Donald McIntyre as Wotan, while conductor Pierre Boulez and director Patrice Chéreau work smoothly together to define the opera's overall form and continuity."