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Wagner;Richard Siegfried [Import]

Hans Hulscher    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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5.0 out of 5 stars First rate example of the "Opera Evolution" Aug. 30 2006
I have to advise you that I am not an opera groupie. I don't claim to be a great music analyst or one who can compare the great tenors of history. But that may be an advantage when viewing the "modern" productions that some can only criticize. I can spend less time formulating rude comparisons while watching these production, and more time awed by the moving performances and surprised by the fantastic transformed into reality. This opera moved me to tears and made me think. I found it easy to see this Siegfried, fighting the Nazi dragon at the gates of their manmade Hell, existing in our real world. Siegfried fighting a magical dragon breathing fire in a mythological forest is more visually pleasing because of all the glistening or blazing scenery, but I cannot easily transfer that "evil" to a deeper understanding of mankind's response to the horrors the 21st Century has offered. Opera, like great art, can exist in greatness only because it can provide value from many perspectives. For an artistic work to triumph through expanses of time, it must be able to breath. If we, the audience, won't allow it to fill it's lungs with the fresh air of our ever changing reality, we condemn it to the dank air of musty caves and it will die. This work will open your mind. Allow Wagner to flex and stretch with the reality of our current world and you will be struck how well this production, with it's amazing performances, can so accurately reflect the struggles that face this and every age.
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1.0 out of 5 stars OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE EMOTIONAL SPECTRUM... June 7 2004
AS ABOVE,SO BELOW,HERMES TRIMEGISTUS WENT...WELL,HERE IT IS:WHEN I SAW this production's RHEINGOLD I HAD A HEARTY LAUGH AND WALKURE ALMOST MADE ME PUKE.THIS IS A TYPICAL EXAMPLE OF THE
CURRENT MEDIOCRITY THAT GOES AROUND NOW NOT ONLY IN TERMS OF EUROTRASH BUT ALSO IN SEVERAL OTHER POINTS OF THE GLOBE,MAKING THE PREVIOUS ALTERNATIVE VIDEO-RECORDED PRODUCTIONS BY CHEREAU,KUPFER AND LEHNHOF LOOK LIKE CLASSICS.THE NAMES RANG THE BELL...JOSSI WIELER AND SERGIO MORABITO,YES,THESE ARE THE CLOWNS'DUETTO WHO RUINED THE 2001 ARIADNE AUF NAXOS UNDER VON DOHNANYI,I KNEW I HEARD THESE "ICONOCLASTIC NAMES" SOMEWHERE ELSE,BUT OBVIOUSLY FOR THEIR LACK OF IMPORTANCE COULD NOT PINPOINT THE SOURCE...BOTTOMLINE,A TOTALLY SKIPPABLE VENUE WHICH I STRONGLY RECOMMEND TO BE AVOIDED BY TRUE ADMIRERS OF THE GENIUS OF BAYREUTH/LEPIZIG.IN SPITE OF THE VOMITIVE PRODUCTION SETS AND THE LOWER-THAN-AVERAGE SINGING THE ONLY RESCUABLE THING IS THE SOUND OF THE ORCHESTRA,IN SPITE AGAIN OF ZAGROSEK'S VOLATILE TEMPI."IN SOMMA":I ENJOYED THE VIDEO IMAGES OF THE STUTTGART'S OPERA HOUSE SHOWN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DVD BETTER THAN THE "BRAINSTORM" PRODUCTION BY FRAU WIELER AND SIGNORE MORABITO...RATE:ABSOLUTELY EXPENDABLE....TOO BAD THEY DON'T HAVE MINUS STARS HERE @ AMAZON!THIS ONE WOULD TAKE THE CAKE AND EVERYTHING ELSE!
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This production of 'Siegfried' has everything wrong with it but the music. The singing is generally quite good, the orchestra is spectacular under the direction of Lothar Zagrosek. But this 2002 production from the Staatsoper Stuttgart is so grotesquely awful that I will admit that I did not watch every last moment of it. After the shock of the first few scenes I was only able to bear skimming the rest of it, although I did settle down for such things as the Forging Scene, the scene with the Woodbird, the Wanderer's monolog, and much of the Third Act. Still, it was painful.
Where to start? Well, the settings are grotesquely (and obviously purposely) inappropriate in the extreme. The opening scene, in Mime's cave, is set in a kind of kitchen/workshop that looks like it came out of the 50s, and perhaps the 1950s is when all this is supposed to be taking place. Why? In the opening scene Mime is peeling potatoes - the anvil strokes called for in the libretto and score are done by Mime hitting the side of a metal bowl with a potato peeler - you think I'm kidding? - I'm not. Siegfried, sung (well) by the more-than-morbidly obese Jon Frederic West, is kitted out in jeans, tennies and a grotty white teeshirt with the words 'Sieg Fried' written on it. [For some reason, the Dragon also has on a tee shirt with 'Sieg Fried' in mirror-writing.] Siegfried's blond hair is long, ratty, and even from a distance looks like it hasn't been washed in six months. He wears this same outfit through the whole opera; it is splattered liberally with Fafner's blood after he kills the him and through the rest of the opera we have a hero with a gruesomely bloody shirt. Ewwww! Wotan, as The Wanderer, is a motorcycle dude, in cycle boots, jeans, leather jacket, ball cap.
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5.0 out of 5 stars look below the surface July 22 2006
i'm surprised by the poor reviews of this production. supposedly sophisticated opera-philes complaining that fafner doesn't look like puff the magic dragon and siegfried doesn't look more like eric the red or robin hood! sheesh! they sound like a bunch of five yr old kids. look, guys: ours is the post-modernist age. myth and mythology are dead. we have science to tell us what mythology couldn't. so get over it already!

and i suspect wagner himself would agree. by the time he wrote siegried, he'd come around to share schopenhauer's view that the music was the most important element of opera, more important than the words, and, yes, even more important than the sets and costumes. the music-making here is very good. and most importantly, the drama is compelling. i was enthralled from the very beginning, which is more than i could say for solti's ring.

this is a refreshing and highly recommended production of siegfried.
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