Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Ride of the Valkyries

on October 5, 2021

The Ride of the Valkyries is one of Richard Wagner’s most popular pieces. The music has been used as part of the soundtrack in Francis Ford Coppola’s movie, Apocalypse Now, included in Halloween music collections, and hailed as an anthem for strong, courageous women. Everybody loves the iconic image of hefty, solid women dressed in armor, ready to wage battle. The music is rousing, active, and elevating. And the scene, which marks the beginning of Act Three in the opera Die Walkure, appeals to people who appreciate the enduring legacy of Nordic and Teutonic mythology. It is the second opera in the four operas which make up the Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle (The Ring). Many people believe J.R.R. Tolkien derived The Lord of the Rings from Wagner’s Ring, but Tolkien always denied that idea. Still, the similarities cannot be ignored. Wagner’s ring is a symbol of complete and total power that can be wielded against others. Cursed by Alberich, it becomes the cause of all the misery in the world. Sound familiar?

But who and what are the Valkyries?

In Norse mythology, the Valkyries were warrior goddesses associated with the god Odin. Their primary function was to bring back the bodies of slain heroes to Valhalla, where they would feast with Odin. They were called the Einherjar. Some were chosen to fight with Odin at the end of the world, during Ragnarok.

Wagner uses Teutonic mythology in his opera. The Valkyries were the daughters of Wotan who chose which heroes would be slain and then transported their bodies to the halls of Valhalla. Wotan’s daughter, Brunnhilde, embodies the qualities of courage, strength, wisdom, and precognition. It is her sacrifice which finally destroys the cruel, omnipotent power of the ring and saves the world.

The Ride of the Valkyries, from the Metropolitan Opera 2012 production. Enjoy!

Dawn Pisturino

October 4, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

17 responses to “Ride of the Valkyries

  1. Thanks Dawn… was nice to be reminded and listen as its always been to me one of Wagner’s top compositions and I loved it’s appearance in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now with the Huey’s air assault scene. It just made for a breathtaking action cinema-graphic experience and I’ve seen the film about 50 times but it always works for me just like the first time; only problem now is if I think of Wagner I picture that scene with The Ride of the Valkyries, the music is imbedded and on repeat or loop in my head!! Mr. Coppola’s Dad was a conductor/composer himself and did work on the film scoring! I met his brother August and other family in San Fran at the American Zoetrope film studio!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually pushed as far as I could to be a chopper pilot in the Army and then all branches of the Armed Forces but no dice with color blindness or deficiency! From a kid I wanted to fly helicopters but if not for that I could have they all said; then like dad told me; “not meant to be.” At least it gave me something to kick up a conversation about with Harrison Ford on a film set working during chow time; he had learned to fly them; of course on his own bucks which he could afford, being so extremely expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors. How lucky you are to have met someone who is such a good actor! I’m not a celebrity nut, but there are a few people worthy of mention and respect. I’m sorry your Army plans didn’t turn out as hoped. Have a blessed day!

        Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t know his father was a composer. That’s very interesting. Have you tried their wine? It isn’t too bad! We just watched Coppola’s Dracula last night. And, of course, The Godfather – my all-time favorite! How lucky you are to have met them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Dad’s favorite Coppola film was always the Godfather and I have to say I agree nothing ever made came close to carrying out such a realistic and precise portrayal of the lives of the Mob families. And all those top choices for talent was insane, so well done, and fitting each actors performance to a “T” that I don’t think anyone will ever do such a thing again with that Genre; once in a lifetime or generation and I can’t see how another great filmmaker will top it!

        I bet the wine is very good but as yet haven’t tried it. I have a good Italian friend that makes up a large quantity each year which is coming up, and he had just told me on the phone I need to make sure I get mine before it all goes this time! I usually put it off and miss out, but now you bringing this up has me primed to get some and then talk to him about the Coppola’s and get his input, he being a real expert connoisseur and I will get some of it no matter; but I figure he will have some good things to say and can explain to me why!

        All sounds good on your end, how you are both kicking back and taking in some of the finer things!!! Good for you!


        Oh BTW! I hadn’t ever seen this rendition of The Ride of the Valkyries, and you know what, they are now taking up some serious space in my head as they are fabulous and amazing talent! I’m really awe struck by them!

        My mother when young trained with a voice coach from a philharmonic orchestra and was a strong Soprano; and as a boy I had a mom belting that stuff out, which looking back that was a blessings and gift, for ME, not just her! It’s all so strong in my head and of course heart!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Lawrence, you are so lucky to have so many wonderful people in your life! I exposed my daughter to music even before she was born, and she grew up to be a professional opera singer and vocal teacher. Music is so important! I am so glad that your mother exposed you to it. And, as for The Godfather, I hope they never try to do a remake! It would be disastrous!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dawn that is tremendous; how you instilled such an appreciation of music even while your baby girl was in her mother’s womb, which I have to say, is a first for me to hear that! But it was so genius, as look what the result ultimately was and is! Your daughter took that offering and experience to the highest level; actually becoming a professional opera singer and teacher!!! WOW! You bring a tear to the eyes, and knowing how my mother having touched her children in that special way with her beautiful voice, I must say your families experience has such a deep appreciation and added dimension to this theme; of “being a true and great mother, like Dawn!” God bless you for doing that and being who you are!

        Now me getting a bit “tongue in cheek” here, but, what you cap off this beautiful comment with I have to say this!
        “Absolutely!” Anything like that would require “a sit-down” anyway or it’s “an exercise in futility!” The family would “take out a contract” and it would be DOA! 🤣 😉 👍 😂😂😂 🤗 🙏🕊✝️🕊🙏 🌟

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much, Lawrence, for your inspiring words!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Dawn… no sweat; and I hope for sure you see the inspiration you have fostered even in me! You do so much Lady!!!
        My hat is off to you!!!
        God bless you! ✝️🙏

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Lawrence, and the same to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Very encouraging thoughts and advocacy my Friend!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Zettl says:

      I don’t know if you’re a Wagner fan, but if you want to see a really good ending to the ring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8njyLeEfuQ&t=500s
      Above all, the set at the very end is the most beautiful thing for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are right, Friedrich! What an incredible production! Very impressive! Thank you for sharing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for this! I’ve never seen anything like it and I do love Wagner so much! This was one amazing full stage production on multiple levels and you’re so right about the end being so beautiful!

        But I found so many high points to be taken aback by in such a unique musical and theatrical spectacle, I will have to review it again and again to perhaps find the jewels tucked in throughout!

        Simply amazing, and again; this was nice of you to offer the link here so I would know about this!
        God bless you and yours!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Zettl says:

        Thank you very much! I normally prefer listing to operas rather than see a poor production. But this one just struck me. So many great ideas! Just to make sure: the guys hanging in the ropes at the end represent Valhalla. What a collaps!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Yes Friend all is well that ends well! I see what you mean but it is good to explore other options at times then one can be delightfully surprised! Keep the faith and thanks again!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Dawn! I take your confirmation as truth I was lucky a little here and there and I thank God! I think I can honestly say looking back I pushed hard when it wasn’t going to do any good like the pilot thing, and when it could have changed everything I backed away; go figure!

    I had some cards to play in meeting all them, and even met Paul Newman who to me was really worth it; but like you I was never a celebrity nut like some people I know even relatives, thinking there is something so intrinsically great that someone is famous; I usually felt the opposite as though being famous for show business is not what it’s cracked up to being and is more fake than not. Its entertainment is all and not some saintly act for the world or effort toward the redemption of souls, unless it’s a masterpiece like Passion of The Christ or the Exorcism of Emily Rose even. Because these depictions can offer an entrance for some people to open up more to God if they have not already or never thought about it much!

    But there are some Gems as far as actors and you are right Harrison is one I admire like Mel Gibson, or Keanu Reeves and Julianne Moore! I heard her thoughts about celebrity on a talk show and she said she just does a job well enough to be hired and learned the profession well at BU in Boston, and doesn’t think of herself as anyone special and doesn’t want people to react that way to her! She said when with her husband and children at the time, say walking in NYC, she only wanted to be just like all the regular people just blending in; I guess not feeling famous or special! So you are on the right track as far as I’m concerned and Julianne!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: