Soft Valkyrie

David Kanaga

A contemporary podcastversion of Die Walküre

Can someone whisper Die Walküre in your ear? With opera, you do not think of whispers or sighs but of strong classical voices in grand, spectacular set pieces. But the composer and game designer David Kanaga has turned Wagner’s famous opera into a podcast.

In Die Walküre, the second part of Richard Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, the supreme god Wotan punishes his daughter Brünnhilde for not following his orders. He makes her mortal and locks her up in a mountain surrounded by fire. While closely following Wagner’s notes and storyline, Kanaga’s background in the world of gaming can be heard in his use of electronic instruments and sound effects full of humour, drama and mysticism. The parts are sung by an atypical cast, ranging from classically trained vocalists like Claron McFadden to the demonic voice artist Attila Csihar – sung to be listened to on headphones rather than in an opera house. The result is intimate, light and less domineering than the original. One might even say: soft. A warm narrating voice turns Wagner’s stage instructions into a magical radio play in which the entire drama takes place in listeners’ imagination.

Each of the three acts of Die Walküre will be divided into several podcast episodes for Soft Valkyrie. During the festival, the episodes of the first act will be released, always a few days apart. The second and third acts will follow later. The exact dates will be announced as soon as possible.

Biography

David Kanaga is an American composer and game designer known for his interactive scores for video games, such as ProteusDyad and Panoramical. He has written essays for his blog Wombflash Forest as well as the recent Oxford Handbook of Algorithmic Music, in which he explored video games and their significance to the wider (art) public on a more philosophical level. His music is described as ‘extra-terrestrial, eclectic and important’ and albums have been released on labels such as Orange Milk, Noumenal Loom, and Software Recording Co., run by the musician and producer Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never).

In 2017, he created Oikospiel, Book I, a dog opera in the form of a video game. It is the first part in a series of operas that are to culminate in a worldwide gaming festival, The Geospiel, at the next turn of the century. In the same year, he received the IGF (Independent Games Festival) Nuovo Award for this work. The second part premiered at the Holland Festival in 2018. Oikospiel Book II: Heat Cantata was a combination of video games and musical theatre performed live.

Credits

concept
David Kanaga
Siegmund (tenor)
Bryan the Mensah
Sieglinde (soprano)
Hailey Clark
Hunding (bass)
Attila Csihar
Wotan (baritone)
Mattijs van de Woerd
Brünnhilde (mezzo soprano)
Claron McFadden
Fricka
tba
piano, act 2
Ernst Munneke
piano, act 1
Marc Evanstein
piano, act 3
tba
casting
David Kanaga, Christian Carlstedt
dramaturgical advice
Laura Roling
commisioned and coproduced by
Holland Festival, Dutch National Opera, Staatsoper Hannover
with support of
NTR Radio 4
This performance was made possible with support by

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