From the Lyric Opera of Chicago website:
After the triumph of Das Rheingold in 2016/17, Lyric continues the thrilling journey through Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle with Die Walküre. This is the most deeply moving and romantic of all the Ring operas. Its riveting, devastating drama involves complex relationships between brother and sister, husband and wife, father and daughter. Every character is unforgettable—valiant Siegmund and Sieglinde, headstrong Brünnhilde and mighty, tortured Wotan, determined Fricka and vengeful Hunding. Wagner’s music drama burns itself on our memories, exciting us with the emotional intensity of its lyrical outbursts and its incredible power and majesty.
In the Ring cycle’s prologue, Das Rheingold, Alberich steals the Rhinemaidens’ gold and forges it into a ring giving him supreme power. Wotan, the chief god, captures Alberich and steals the ring, but Alberich places a curse on it until it is restored to its rightful owner. Wotan is forced to give the ring to the giants Fasolt and Fafner as payment for building the gods’ fortress, Valhalla. The curse immediately reveals its power: Fafner kills his brother and keeps the ring himself. The gods enter Valhalla, apparently in triumph.
Knowing that without the ring, this triumph is ephemeral, Wotan sires two mortal children, Siegmund and Sieglinde, in the hope of creating an independent hero, unbound by the contracts that limit his freedom of action, who can win back the ring. But he cannot resist participating in their fate, so fatally compromising their independence. As further insurance, he sires nine Valkyries with the earth-goddess Erda, whose task is to recruit fallen heroes to defend Valhalla.