I agree with the content of the two previous reviews, particularly about the DARK production and the static "stand and deliver" style. However, I don't share the conclusion that the production overcomes these handicaps. The visual/acting dimensions really bring this DVD down.
The music of "La donna del lago" evokes lively, richly colored stage pictures. There are echo effects; the musical illusion of sounds coming from far to near, or bouncing across the hills; double-chorus numbers; antiphonal hunting horns, etc. The shepherds and the hunters should be visually differentiated, as should the groups of warriors. Their costumes should define their social roles. And they're supposed to be moving around in the opening scene - heading out to the fields and forests. Instead Herzog gives us ragged lines of people in shapeless, ragged clothes. They shuffle on, sing for an inexplicably long time, and shuffle off.
The decision to leave the women's chorus onstage during Elena and Uberto's long duet also makes NO sense...why would these two carry on an intimate conversation in front of a squad of listeners?
Elena (June Anderson) and Malcolm (Martine Dupuy) are the only ones with flattering/appropriate costumes (and some might quarrel with Malcolm's "mountain lion" headress... I liked its golden color and the way it disguised Dupuy's feminine head). Uberto (Rockwell Blake) is saddled with a hat made of a whole dead bird. Rodrigo (Chris Merritt) is draped in an enormous dark pink bedsheet, totally unflattering and about as unheroic as you can imagine. His headband and goatee are bad too. Yes, he's huge... all the more reason for the costumer to give his clothes some structure.
You would never guess that the action is supposed to be taking place in the 16th century... the costumes and architecture are closer to Stone Age. Maybe Herzog wanted to avoid a sentimental "picturesque" approach, but this dark, prehistoric "crags and caves" aesthetic is totally out of sync with the music. The static and uninspired stage pictures make the music seem overlong, repetitious, and boring. In all, a disservice to a lovely opera that deserves a lovely treatment.