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Wagner;Richard Lohengrin [Blu-ray] [Import]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Wagner, Vogt, Kringelborn, Meier, Nagano
  • Directors: Lenhoff
  • Format: Classical, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Bbc / Opus
  • Release Date: May 26 2009
  • Run Time: 279 minutes
  • ASIN: B001U5V04E
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

Product Description

Quick Shipping !!! New And Sealed !!! This Disc WILL NOT play on standard US DVD player. A multi-region PAL/NTSC DVD player is request to view it in USA/Canada. Please Review Description.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 11 reviews
32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Superb July 12 2009
By Steven P. - Published on
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I rarely review items for Amazon, prefering to leave that to others. This production is, however, of such high quality I feel it deserves all the recognition it can get.
Staging is sparse, but appropriate and meaningful to the flow of the story line. Costumes are not necessarily modern, but certainly not 'period correct'. They are very striking though, and lend brilliance to the effect.
The singing is spectacular from all the characters.
Musical direction is first rate. Most of all, the sound and picture quality in Bluray is magnificent.
This is , for my money, the best available version of 'Lohingrin" available. Wagner's work is allowed to speak for itself, without imposition of any outside agendas. Highly recommended.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Not high concept Wagner, but dramatic and accessible in a strong production Feb. 25 2011
By Keris Nine - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
This romantic opera from the end of Wagner's early period, just before embarking on his more mature work, is rather more conventional and accessible than, for example, the romance of Tristan und Isolde, but by the same token Lohengrin doesn't have the conceptual weight of later Wagner dramas. The characters are rather one dimensional, divided quite clearly as being on the side of light or darkness, and the score is not as refined as later Wagner. On the other hand, there are some wonderful singing roles, some dynamic scoring that colours the difference between the physical and the spiritual, a terrific drama, and of course the opera is of great interest for the thematic links it has with the composer's more celebrated works, to say nothing of the fact that the traditional Wedding March originates from this opera.

Lohengrin starts off like a courtroom drama, but it's one that, being a Wagner opera, is dressed up in regal grandness, heroic declamations and with a strong element of ancient Teutonic mythology underlying it all. On the eve of going to war against Hungary, King Heinrich calls a tribunal meeting to settle a dispute that has arise over the territory of Brabant. Friedrich von Telramund has accused Elsa, the daughter of the late Duke of Brabant, of murdering Gottfried, her brother and the rightful heir to Brabant. Elsa defends her position and calls on a heroic knight of her visions to take up arms and defend herself in combat against Telramund. Her knight in shining armour (quite literally) cannot reveal his name, and begs her not to ask of it, but it transpires - no surprise here since it is the title of the opera - that he is Lohengrin, the son of Parsifal, guardian of the Holy Grail, who is himself the subject of Wagner's final opera. The themes of this opera deal similarly - if not quite as abstractly - with questions of virtue, purity and innocence, but above all here with the noble virtues of complete love and unconditional trust.

Nikolaus Lehnhoff's 2006 production for the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, conducted by Kent Nagano, brings a new dimension to those themes. His use of the stage, as ever, is simply magnificent, the use of props minimal, the sets nonetheless majestic and impressive, yet simple and not overly ornate. The stage is immaculately lit, balancing light and shade, foreground and background, using colours to highlight and give appropriate emphasis. Whatever angle you look at this from - and the cameras do a fine job in their coverage - the stage and the positions of the characters within achieves maximum impact. At the same time, by making the period non-specific, although certainly more modern than its middle-ages origins, Lehnhoff downplays the fairytale trappings of a heroic knight borne on a chariot drawn by a wild swan (as well as leaning it well away from any troubling National Socialist conceptions that could be applied to the themes), while still remaining true to the opera and its purpose, without over-emphasising or lessening the impact of its musical strengths.

Solveig Kringelborn's Elsa doesn't have quite the power of the other singers, nor indeed does Klaus Florian Vogt's Lohengrin, but the nature of their characters is purer than the others, with a bond of trust between them that their counterparts Ostrund and Telramund do not possess, and consequently their voices are softer - more angelically toned than the more typical Wagnerian heldentenor in the case of Lohengrin - but clear, ringing and forceful where required. Tom Fox, as Telramund and Waltraud Meier as Ostrund are however terrific, playing their baddies to the hilt and with delightfully over-the-top almost pantomime eye-rolling madness in the case of Meier's sorceress - both perfectly appropriate nonetheless for this particular opera and for roles that shouldn't be underplayed. Kent Nagano conducts the Deutsches Symphonic-Orchester of Berlin for similar dramatic force, but the dynamic and subtle tones are there also, brought out in the fine PCM surround sound mix that comes on the Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray quality cannot be faulted either on its image quality, or the manner in which it is filmed. It captures perfectly the qualities of the stage sets and the lighting and allows you to get right up close with the performers. A 68 minute documentary is also included on the 2-disc set which looks at the opera and its staging in some detail with interviews from most of the principals involved, but it is overlong in its walk-through description of the plot, extensively illustrated with scenes from the opera. Kent Nagano however provides interesting analysis on the tone and complexities of the score, particularly in the preludes to each of the three acts.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By An opera lover - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
This is one of the best performances of Lohengrin available in video. Nagano's conducting, the playing of the orchestra, the singing of the chorus and the vocal performances are as near perfection as one might expect. Klaus Florian Vogt in the tile role is a revelation: he is handsome, which suits the role, and his voice is the sweetest I have heard as Lohengrin. The rest of the cast is also excellent; Waltraud Meier one of the best Ortruds I have ever heard. As for the staging, I have some difficulties in accepting modern stagings of Wagner's operas. It is difficult to associate what is being sung (the story of the opera, which, in the case of Lohengrin, include witchcraft, adoration of old Gods, a character who comes from the sacred realms of the Grail) to the modern clothes worn by the characters and the chorus. It is also strange to see Lohengrin sitting at the piano composing while the bridal chorus is sung. Is the character a composer or a knight coming from Montsalvat? By the way, I did not understand why the bridal chorus was not entirely sung; the second part was ommitted, and first one was not repeated. In spite of my complaints, this is a wonderful version of this opera with first class image and sound, though I would like to have DTS HD Master Audio or Dolby True HD track instead of 5.1 PCM.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great production - poor engineering June 6 2011
By Rohan Pethiyagoda - Published on
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
A brilliant, imaginative production of Wagner's most popular opera. Excellent singing, faithful conducting, superlative direction and great video management. My only quibble is with the sound engineers: the orchestra sounds as if it is in the next room, with the singers set well forward on the sound stage, relegated to a secondary, accompanying role rather than an equal partner with the vocalists. A pity: but for that imperfection this would be the best Lohengrin in the catalog. This is not a version for audiophiles.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Something Different but not Better than Usual Nov. 6 2009
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Blu-ray
Three stars for the excellent singing, good acting, effective use of blu-ray visuals. I haven't seen the regular DVD version but I doubt that in it, Elsa's floral bouquet and dazzling white wedding dress in Act II would have the same impact.

I am afraid that my prejudices and preconceived notions prevent me from accepting anything but a fairy tale version of Lohengrin. Anything else is just plain silly. In the accompanying 68 minute documentary, we learn that the aim here was for a "psychological" version. So in the bridal chamber, Lohengrin composes music on a mirror imaged piano, with treble and bass reversed, meaning he is an artist from another universe and the forbidden question is about the true meaning of art. O brother! There were plenty of other inanities. Gottfried is restored to human form as a 9 year old, wearing long undies and just stands there. Wagner's directions have Elsa dying in his arms, but oh well. Vogt's Lohengrin seems somewhere between helden-tenor and counter-tenor which indeed does give the title character an other worldly nature. In the documentary his speaking voice suggests he is a natural baritone or bass. Maybe the singing voice is supposed to suggest the real reason that Lohengrin doesn't perform on the wedding night (HeHe).

Another star gets docked for the sound balance between soloists, chorus and orchestra. I chose the lossless 5.1 PCM track. This is the first time I have had to continually fiddle with the volume and bass controls in a BD. I rarely do it even with an ordinary DVD opera. A real effort was made not to cover the singers with the orchestra. But they over did it. Now as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has pointed out, in Wagner, the orchestra carries the melody and the singers ornament it. In contrast to Italian opera where I concentrate on the singing, I mostly listen to the orchestra in Wagner and in this BD, they sounded like they were behind the stage instead of in front. It also was a strange effect to hear the chorus making about the same volume of sound as the soloists.

To sum up, I am not sorry about my two day rental of this item but would not buy it and will turn to other versions for my next Lohengrin.