- Actors: John Brocheler
- Directors: Pierre Audi
- Format: Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled
- Language: German
- Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Number of discs: 2
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Universal Music Canada
- Release Date: Aug. 26 2008
- Run Time: 205 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B001ARDBYY
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,850 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
Das Rheingold - Wagner/De Nederlandse Opera, Brocheler, Haenchen
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Richard Wagner's tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen, in which Power and Love are presented as mutually exclusive ideas, is always a huge challenge for any opera house.
Das Rheingold is the opening of this extraordinary production of The Ring from Het Muziektheater Amsterdam, with the orchestra taking its place both in the pit and, ring-shaped, on the astonishing stage.
The fantastic stage direction by Pierre Audi succeeds in forging a profound unity combining the lyrical, mythical and philosophical qualities of Wagner's work. Breathtaking sets by George Tsypin, superb costumes by Oscar-winner Eiko Ishioka and the passionate performances of the soloists and Residentie Orchestra under their inspired guest conductor Hartmut Haenchen all contribute to an intense total experience that will leave a permanent impression.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My comments to follow will cover all four sets rather than deal with each set individually inasmuch as my feelings essentially do not vary as regards singing and acting. While nothing is provincial as regards the staging and sets (as I have implied, they are beautiful if you can deal with a totally unrealistic ambience) the singing is quite another matter. Brochler, the Wotan, obviously has the measure of the role, but most of the time his singing is unreliable and veering towards the wobbly. When the passages are declamatory his efforts are more successful, but in long catablile passages (Wotan's great Act II monologue with Brunhilde) his contribution is rather mixed. Altmeyer's Brunhilde is a role that is at least two sizes too big. she simply doesn't have the vocal reserves that is needed for a Brunhilde. Her Chereau Sieglinde is much superior and represents the outer limits of her vocal capacities. Of course she wanted to sing Brunhilde, but she lacks thrust and power when it is needed. Singers such as Anne Evans and Johanna Meier were lucky to tape their roles as Brunhilde and Isolde an act at a time and without the benefit of an audience so were not put to the test as Altmeyer is.
The Siegmund might have had some potential, but attempting to sing this role was a mistake. Surprisingly he is most successful in the Walse passages where he seems to hold on to the note forever--and quite successfully too. Softer passages reveal a slight wobble and loosening of the voice--not what one wants to hear in a Siegmund. Secunde's Sieglinde is shrill and unlovely. She is much superior in the Kupfer/Barenboim taping.
The Siegfried is poorly cast. Not only is he an inadequate actor, he hardly represents the "young" Siegfried. He is somewhat better in the last of the tetralogy, but Kurt Rydl's Hagen is afflicted with a wobble that has gotten worse, while his is the right kind of voice for the role.
Smaller roles are mixed, but generally better than the leads. Chris Merritt's Loge is wonderful, but then as one who enjoys Gragham Clark's Mime a beauriful voice is hardly what the role asks for. Reinhild Runkel's Fricka is probably the best on DVD, but I could probably be accused of damming with faint praise. Her competition is very light-weight.
I understand that this production has since been revived with better singers--at least on paper-- but this is meaningless for those pondering a purchase of what is available currently. If I could only have one Ring it would have to be Kupfer's. But then I would not want to be without Chereau/Boulez. Perhaps the Copenhagen Ring is the best sung, but in spite of the creativity involved, it lacks the mythic quality that is essential (for me) to any Ring, regardless of the setting. The Munich Lenhoff Ring has only been released on laser disc and has not reappeared. EMI did release a CD version, but the singing was variable as regards Behrens who is better heard in the Met version. Kollo is operparted as Siegfried. Stage noises are acceptable when one is watching DVD but irritating on a CD and unless my memory is playing me false, there are a lot of them in this cycle. I have no idea whether or not EMI will release this set, but I don't think it is competitive.
I have always felt that the met's classic video/dvd cycle was a benchmark in productions as, for the most part, it was very traditionally staged and sung to near perfection.
However I was priveleged to sing in the chorus of The Ring in Adelaide in 2004 and that was aa mind-blowing production (I saw the other three operas as well). It made me realised that it is possible for a production of the Ring to be non-traditional yet still entertaining.
The Wotan in that production is the same one on this dvd- John Brocheler. He leads a wonderful ensemble that sings with as much gusto and clarity as any other troupe. Across the board, the cast is vocally very strong.
The orchestra is tight and well conducted and the performance sizzles with a real energy.
Te set encompasses the orchestra so the music is as much a part of the drama as the players. The set is very striking and very versatile.
Of course Rheingold depends upon effects and many seasoned Wagnerians will be curious to see the many effects needed for this one- especially the Dragon and Frog transformations in scene 3 and the bridge to valhalla. All of these are done very effectively.
My only gripe is the costuming. The actual clothes are fine but the wigs are positively hideous (especially the giants who look a little like giant male genitalia). It is very distracting and is the reason this dvd gets 4 stars instead of 5.
I will be getting the remainder of this cycle over time and can't wait to see what else lies in store from this wonderful production.