This Philharmonia Orchestra concert at Royal Festival Hall kicks off Wagner 200 - a wide-ranging, London-based festival celebrating the bicentenary of the German composer's birth.
Wagner 200 continues throughout the year with further concerts, opera screenings, public masterclasses, symposia, a curated film season, exhibitions and much more - at leading venues including the Southbank Centre Royal Opera House, English National Opera, the Barbican, Royal Albert Hall and Kings Place.
The Valkyrie (Die Walküre) is one of Wagner's finest artistic achievements - and the prelude to Act III, The Ride of the Valkyries, has become rooted in popular culture since the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, where an American air regiment bellows out Wagner's powerful piece on helicopter-mounted loudspeakers during an assault on a Vietnamese village. Die Walküre is the second part of Wagner's most celebrated oeuvre - the four-opera cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung).
Two days after the opening concert of Wagner 200, the Barbican hosts a screening of the landmark production of the whole Ring Cycle directed by Patrice Chéreau for the centenary of the Bayreuth Festival in 1976. Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung are shown on consecutive nights at the Cinema 1 on Silk Street (24th - 27th May).
Wagner's controversial writings on subjects as varied as race, climate, vegetarianism, aesthetics and modern science go on display on Saturday 8th June at The British Museum at a one-off exhibition entitled Wagner The Writer. One day later, on Sunday 9th June, the British Library hosts a reading of the entire Ring Cycle, in English. A series of Wagner concerts, events and screenings is also on offer at Kings Place between Wednesday 26th June and Sunday 30th June.
Later in the year, Wagner returns in force with Act II of Tristan und Isolde performed by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican on Thursday 28th November and a special Wagner In Concert evening with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican on Friday 20th December. And finally, Antonio Pappano conducts Wagner's final opera, Parsifal, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 30th November to 18th December.
For more information on Wagner 200 and other classical concerts and operatic events, please visit the events website LondonTown.com.