Barbora Horáková Joly
Set and costume designer
Eva-Maria Van Acker
Theater an der Wien
The village of Hochstoff
A shooting contest is being held to celebrate the 70th birthday of Wally's father, Stromminger. A hunting party arrives from the nearby village of Sölden led by Hagenbach. Old enmities quickly surface, and a quarrel develops between Stromminger and Hagenbach, who trade threats and insults before Hagenbach is drawn away by his companions.
Vincenzo Gellner has his own heart set on Wally and quickly notices that she is clearly infatuated with her father's enemy during the quarrel. When left alone with Stromminger, he tells the older man of his suspicions. Recognising that Gellner is in love with his daughter, he insists that Wally agree to marry him within a month or leave his house forever. Wally retorts that she would rather take her chances in the Alpine snows than marry Gellner.
The Eagle Tavern at Sölden
A year has passed; Stromminger has died, and Wally has inherited his fortune. However, Hagenbach has become engaged to Afra, the landlady of the Eagle Tavern, and is apparently not interested in Wally.
A festival is taking place in Sölden, and Wally is drawn to the tavern knowing Hagenbach will be there. Hagenbach is persuaded to accept a challenge to try to win a kiss from Wally. What begins as a game quickly develops into something more serious, and Hagenbach easily wins his wager. When Wally realises she has been the victim of a cynical bet, her jealousy and fury boil over. She turns to Gellner, who is also at the festival, and insists that if he loves her, he must kill Hagenbach.
La Wally returns to her home. Her anger has now subsided, and she wishes she could take back her words. At that moment, there is a knock at her door. It is Gellner, who describes how, under cover of darkness, he was able to set upon Hagenbach and hurl him into a deep ravine.
Wally is horrified and hurries to the ravine in the hope of saving Hagenbach, even though she believes he loves Afra. She herself goes down a rope to rescue him and successfully raises his unconscious body back to the surface.
High in the Alps
Lonely and depressed, Wally has climbed into the mountains above the village. Her only friend, Walter, has followed and urges her to come down for the Christmas festivities, reminding her of the dangers of avalanches. She sends him away and contemplates her imminent death.
Wally hears another voice. It is Hagenbach, who has recovered from his injuries and come to confess his love. The lovers are reconciled, and Hagenbach goes to find a safe path back down the mountain. He shouts up to Wally, but the noise of his call sets off an avalanche that carries him away. Wally stands momentarily on the edge of the precipice before hurling herself down to her death.
2 hours 15 minutes, no interval
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