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Wagner would have loved this production. While it is modern and innovative in its use of video technology it seems to me that is faithfull to the spirit of Wagner in a way that creates a real separation between the gods and the humans. You have a real sense of two separate worlds which combined with strong singing, acting, musical direction and playing creates a truly memorable theatrical and musical experience. While all the singing is at least good I can not remember a better sung and acted performance of Wotan than I experienced here. Blu Ray sound and picture are first rate. This is a production that will not leave you unmoved or indifferent
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Another Successful Installment in a Unique Ring CycleFeb. 21 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
The opening bars of Die Walküre immediately establish the danger and excitement in the tale to follow. Zubin Mehta's first downbeat conjures up that tempestuous, ferocious flight, as stage projections show running wolves, passing trees, the legs of a man fleeing whom we eventually see stumbling into Hunding's dwelling. Peter Seifert is the Siegmund, Petra Maria Schnitzer Sieglinde, Matti Salminen Hunding. The stage is dominated with the liveliest tree I have ever seen in a Ring production, always changing hues, and importing an alphabet when Sieglinde gives the name Siegmund to her beloved brother. Costumes are eloquently primitive, Siegliende appearing bound by a rope around her neck, clearly Hunding's chattel that must not get away. The imaginative vision of La Fura des Baus with which we first got acquainted in Rheingold continues and grows in this Walküre. The second act brings back the strong, riveting Wotan of Juha Usitalo and the Fricka of Ana Larsson. It also introduces the powerful Brünhilde of Jennifer Wilson, and without reservations one can honestly say: at last, a Brünhilde! One of the joys of this ring is that the voices are firm, secure, in all cases fresh and young (well, we know Salminen is mature, but the voice is rock-solid and overwhelming, as if the years hadn't passed). The singing is always musical, subtle when called upon by the text, and soaring when they need be. The ride of the Walkyres is as close to a ride as one has ever seen (symbolically achieved)..... with an element of terror in their stride. It is all quite astounding. The final Wotan-Brünhilde scene is eloquent and powerful, with the scenic background, always dynamic, reflecting the momentous parting of father-god and human-to-be daughter. The music, the staging, the singing indeed embody the momentuous rupture of the old order, as indeed from this moment on the demise of the old gods becomes inevitable. Twilight really begins here, with Brünhilde's disobedience and embrace of humanity, which is why Wagner treated Walküre as the first opera in the cycle. The long dénouement of Götterdammerung is the final catastrophe for the gods and the rise of humankind, with Siegliende's soaring phrase for her son in the third act of Walküre, sealing the cycle.
This production is a treat. If one doesn't like what one sees, one can close the eyes and see with the ears as the singing and playing are stupenduous. The sound on blu ray is sumptuous, demonstration quality if you have surround; it's true high-definition sound. And, by the way, there is real fire on stage when the Fire Music plays. I can hardly wait for the remaining two operas, particularly with the much praised young Canadian Lance Ryan as Siegfried whom I've never heard except in YouTube. One is looking forward to much pleasure.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding and alternative modern concept continuedJuly 12 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I normally resist any production that deviates far from traditional concepts. On the face of it therefore, it would seem that the use of raised platforms for the Gods with mechanical hoists operated by on-stage scenery movers during the singing, plus trapeze artists and other gadgetry such as Loge's scooter transport, would be totally repellent. However, despite all of this, the concept seems to work - at least, for me!
This is due, to a very large extent, to the consistently high standard of singing and orchestral playing throughout. The musical values of the singers in this production can only be described as outstanding and, in my opinion, there is not a weak point to be noted anywhere in this regard. It therefore seems to me that it would be invidious to single out particular performers for particular praise in this overall review of the complete set.
The use of high quality projected backdrops to create scenarios or to imply long journeys, such as the descent from and return to the world of the Gods, are also very impressive and surely an advance in technology that would appeal to Wagner himself. This sense of realism would be hard to match in any `normal' stage production without using this modern technology.
The use of mechanical hoists to move the Gods about on raised platforms by on-stage scenery movers during the singing and as mentioned at the beginning of this review are, for me, the most invasive parts to my enjoyment of this production. However, I have found that upon repeated viewing, one adjusts and accepts the concept given the wealth of virtues otherwise present.
The camera work and imaging are both of a very high standard as one would expect from an HD recording and the same can be said of the sound which is frequently spectacular. The sound is presented in DTS 7.1 and stereo. There is also a 27 minute bonus feature that focuses on the making of this episode of the Ring.
A most enjoyable production overall therefore, but not, in my opinion, sufficient to entirely replace the Barenboim/Kupfer version on DVD complete with bleeding colours at all points of fast movement (and there are many)which still reigns supreme. Buy both if you can. The differences between the two are such that this is musically justifiable even if financially stretching!
Despite my preference for the earlier Barenboim version therefore, I still feel that this is well-worth the full 5 stars as such a preference may be more of a personal response. Both versions are equally worthy of 5 stars on any even-handed basis and we can be grateful that such a high quality choice has been put before us.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
sensational WalkureMarch 5 2010
Ivor E. Zetler
- Published on Amazon.com
I am wildly enthusiastic about this performance. The singing is uniformly excellent, Mehta proves to be a superb conductor and his orchestra play like angels. The busy production, frequently involving creative and colorful back projections, seemed to my eyes to be intelligent and enhancing of Wagner's vision. It will not be to everyone's taste but it is a performance that demands to be experienced by the many fans of this inexhaustable masterpiece. Excellent sound and visuals. Please see my more comprehensive review given for the non Blu-ray version.
And, believe me, she DOES "sing!"May 26 2015
- Published on Amazon.com
And yet another superb release in the mind-blowing Valencia production of Wagner's "Ring Cycle." This time, the second in the Cycle, "Die Walkure" features flying Valkyries and Gods and staged by La Fura Dels Baus, the brilliant mime company whose members "become" various settings. Stunning projections. Mesmerizing Magic Fire finale--- when all the "tech" becomes moot! All in all, maybe a bit too much of "a little bit..." but still lots of fun, very well sung by a first-class cast,including Jennifer Wilson as the larger-than-life titular Valkyrie, and played mightily by the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana led by maestro Zubin Mehta! Gorgeous blu-ray with two choices of stunning lossless audio tracks! Much fun for the slightly adventurous Wagnerian opera lover.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A stunning, a masterpiece of artistry and technologyApril 12 2010
Mr. John A. Coulson
- Published on Amazon.com
Wow, what an evening of home entertainment!! Friends came over and being very tired, I was not really looking forward to a 4 hour Wagner opera. But that rapidly changed as we became immersed in this fabulous production. And yes, it is fabulous from all points of view, even better than Rheingold. The staging and special effects were mind boggling, the music itself sublime, the singing and acting sensational, the orchestra brilliant, all combining to keep us riveted to our seats. It was a cold night and I was so engrossed in the opera the fire went out!!!
Special mention needs to be made of the acting and singing of Juha Uusitalo in the role of Wotan. Few male singers move me but his performance was heart wrenching both in the scene where he was forced to decide to have his son Siegmund and daughter Sieglinde murdered and in the final scene with his other daughter Brunnhilde. The rest of the cast was not far behind as all sang and acted their roles passionately and convincingly. And that takes some doing in a storyline involving murder, incest, deception and adultery but fortunately set to glorious music which they all sang beautifully.
Unfortunately (for me) my wife dislikes traditional operas like Traviata, Aidia, La Boheme but she reveled in this Wagner production and loved every minute of it. This was after a bit of moaning at the start about having to sit through a 4 hour opera - she really was not looking forward to it. What better recommendation could a production get?
Yes there were a few odd moments where the symbolism of the scenery escaped us but overall it is one of the most memorable opera videos we have ever experienced. The video quality via Blu Ray was excellent and the audio of demonstration standards with solid deep bass, great dynamic range and first class clarity overall.
This disc should be in every opera lovers collection and might even convert a few others, like my wife, who are generally negative about the genre. If you do not have it yet, place an order NOW!!!