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Wagner;Richard Lohengrin [Import]

John Treleaven , Emily Magee , Peter Konwitschny    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Amazon.com: 2.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner in the classroom gets an A+ Dec 29 2007
By P. Sutherland - Published on Amazon.com
Before purchasing this video, I had the benefit of reading a favorable review in Opera News, which prepared me for the shock of seeing Lohengrin set in a classroom with all the players cast as children. It is absolutely absurd...but it works! All the boys, including the king with a paper crown, wear short pants and knee socks; all the girls, simple skirts and blouses with socks and little girl shoes.

Elsa, sung and acted beautifully by Emily Magee, is hiding in the classroom cupboard. She finally comes forward to face the king after Telramund, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, has accused her of drowning her brother Gottfried, the Duke of Brabant. Telramund has been put up to this by his wife Ortrud, played by Luana DeVol. Elsa requests a champion to fight for her and lo and behold, the handsome stranger, John Treleaven, shows up, arising from the floor, piloted by a beautiful swan who is actually Gottfried.

In the classroom, all the children are rowdy throwing spitballs and paper missiles. Ortrud, dressed in black with red hair in pigtails, sings her lines while making nasty witch faces, pushing and shoving and being the manipulative, "mean" girl. The blonde Elsa, wearing white, is the picture of innocence and naivety.

As I said, the setting is ridiculous. You are watching adults, dressed as children and behaving like children. The king is wearing short pants. Telramund and Ortrud, depicted as children, are nevertheless married. The boys are all waving wooden swords, prepared to go to war for Germany. But, as the action proceeds and the story unfolds, the absurdity of the setting starts to fade away. And you find yourself just watching the fairy tale. At least, I did.

All the characters sang well and the music conducted by Sebastian Weigle was first rate. Emily Magee displayed Elsa's fear, innocence, doubt, guilt and remorse perfectly. Luana DeVol excelled as the mean, nasty, evil Ortrud. John Treleaven was a believable Lohengrin who got better and better.

I've seen a traditional production of Lohengrin; the one with Peter Hoffman and Eva Marton. This one was definitely more fun and visually more interesting. The director, Peter Konwitschny, gets the stars, too. But, I think Wagner, the control freak, would be rolling in his grave over it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good(!? ) buth "extreme", yes I now ... July 2 2014
By Eric Lambrechts - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Good(!?) buth "extreme", yes I now, it's PETER KONWITSCHNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3.0 out of 5 stars Half great Aug. 19 2013
By Julien Tort - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I think Konwitschny is an awesome director who created moving, thought provoking and extremely convincing productions. In this case, he chose to set up Lohengrin in a so called "classroom" environment, ie every body but Lohengrin are school kids, and Lohengrin is an adult that the teens find fascinating. There's a lot of virtues to that view and, as always with Konwitschny, it is extremely well staged, very clear and understandable. It makes the fascination with Lohengrin, the mood swings of the people, in particular, very understandable and relatable. And of course it takes the edge off the call to wars and other "deutsches Volk" parts.

But really, it only works (very well) for the relationship between Elsa and Lohengrin and the scenes about the mood of the people - say the second act and the bridal room scene in the third. The first act has too many lines that make no sense in that context, and also, it's hard to care about kids playing war in a classroom, despite some great moments. Ortrud for instance is superbly played and sung, but why does that school girl invokes paian Gods? Why does Telramund invokes his honor and family name?

Musically, it's pretty much meh. The first act is mostly a mess, you rarely can hear most of the soloists in the big ensembles. The more intimate moments are more of a success, and the playing gets better as the opera goes on.

So, it's definitely not a Lohengrin for MET donors, it has many extraordinary moments, but it still leaves whole parts of the opera unaddressed and it is not Konwitschny's best (I find his Götterdämmerung or his Tristan for instance one much superior). And the music doesn't make up for the shortcomings - quite the contrary: it's at it's best when the staging is.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wagner Lohengrin Oct. 23 2013
By Cláudio Trarbach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'ts difficult enjoy one Lohengrin after the Munchen prroduction with Jonas kaufmann.On this productions the singers are good but falts something. Excuse-me but Trelaven don't function as Lohengrin. It's very old.Forr me only Jonas kaufmann is the best.
6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agree with Fabert Aug. 1 2010
By CarlosQuintoCatolico - Published on Amazon.com
This is indeed Eurotrash. It's not even worth owning to just listen to it; much less to watch it.
If you just want to listen get an old Bayreuth recording of Lohengrin.
The director does try very hard to ridicule Wagner's concept of heroism and fulfilling one's destiny through doing good.
The funny thing is that the music and the drama of Lohengrin are so powerful they overpower the stage production. You end up feeling sorry for the players as they desperately try to ridicule and downplay the drama but fail miserably. Bested by the great master Wagner, even from the grave!

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