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 and Nadine Secunde 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. The warm narrating voice of Stephen Fry 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. The four episodes of the first act were released during the festival of 2021. During the festival of 2022 the new episodes of the second and third act are released.