Today at the Proms - Prom 68

Continuing our daily coverage of what's on at The Proms 2019, Susan Omand has a quick look at the programme for Prom 68: Wagner Night ...

It's the start of the final week of Proms concerts and they're making sure we go out with a bang, not a whimper, as there's some hefty Wagner on the cards. The main event after the interval is four separate pieces from Götterdämmerung, the last of the Ring Cycle operas. The word Götterdämmerung is actually a German translation of the Scandinavian word Ragnarok (the Fate of the Gods), although I don't think we'll get Thor making an appearance any time soon.

There's more Wagner before the interval too, with his much more gentle, but no less descriptive, Forest Murmurs from the third opera in his Ring Cycle, Siegfried. Accompanying this, and keeping the nature theme sort of going, we have César Franck's symphonic poem Le chasseur maudit (the accursed huntsman) which tells the story of a Count of the Rhine who dares to go hunting on a Sunday morning, in violation of the Sabbath. How very dare he?

But first up we have Carl Maria von Weber with the overture to his opera Der Freischütz (the Free Shooter) set around the legend of the “free bullets,” supplied by the Devil, in return for a soul, and sure to hit their targets. Supposedly, the freeshooter will have seven shots, six under his own control and one under the Devil’s and, as you'd expect, things get complicated. This is an unusual opera for the time in that it had spoken dialogue as well as the usual sung recitative (story bit) and it became a huge success, influencing many composers that came after Weber including, yes you guessed, Wagner.

Here's the full programme for this evening's Prom which you can listen to live from 19:30 on Radio 3 or on the iPlayer 

Carl Maria von Weber
Der Freischütz – overture(10 mins)

Richard Wagner
Siegfried – Forest Murmurs(9 mins)

César Franck
Le chasseur maudit(14 mins)


Richard Wagner
Götterdämmerung – Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey
Götterdämmerung – Duet 'Zu neuen Taten, teurer Helde'
Götterdämmerung – Siegfried's Death and Funeral March
Götterdämmerung – Brünnhilde's Immolation Scene

Image - Photo © Chris Christodoulou

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