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Thread: Wagner on DVD and Blu-ray

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    Senior Member nickgray's Avatar
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    Default Wagner on DVD and Blu-ray



    Musically it's great. Barenboim was good, Isolde was really good, Tristan was... ok... Music's not the problem here. It's Patrice Chereau, with his dull, boring and dark 19th century. This guy has a talent - to make stage productions booooorrriiing, incredibly boring. Hell, give him Dorati's 1812 and he'll make even that one boring. I'll never watch Chereau again.
    Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    This one a arrived a couple of days ago.....



    This would be 10/10 if it weren't for Richard Cassily who sings the title role. His voice isn't a very pleasant sounding instrument - he sounds nasal and has a tendency to bark. He doesn't look like the type of guy that Venus would be attracted too either and is rather static. My criticism of him is maybe a bit too severe because it's not that he's awful, it's just that he isn't of the same level as the other singers here. I must say that he does better in the third act as the desperate character who has been refused redemption in Rome than as the love interest of a Goddess though.

    Although Tatiana Troyanos is not the most gorgeous looking woman ever to set foot in a opera house, she is for my taste both vocally and visually convincing as Venus and yes, even sexy. Eva Marton both looks and sounds too old for the part of Elisabeth, but it doesn't really matter. This is prime Eva Marton - the singing is not very subtle, but it's very strong. And while she was never considered one of the great actresses, here I find her performance really moving - she's actualy crying real tears at one point. Conductor James Levine's tempi are lively, the Metropolitan orchestra sounds fine and the chorus is really great.

    And after the good news, here's the VERY good news: Venus is not a Martian, Tannhauser doesn't look like the guy from the grocery store at the corner of the street and Elisabeth isn't a Sarah Palin lookalike wearing a Michael Jackson t-shirt. No - this is WAGNER'S 'Tannhauser', set in the 13th century and it's a lavish production also - a feast for the eyes as well as for the ears. THANK YOU Otto Schenk!!!! 9/10 - warmly recommended to any lover of traditional productions in general and especially to Wagner fans.

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    Senior Member Elgarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhar26 View Post
    No - this is WAGNER'S 'Tannhauser', set in the 13th century and it's a lavish production also - a feast for the eyes as well as for the ears.
    That's a blessing! I guess Tannhauser is a long way down my list of possible purchases right now, but it's good to know there's a good one out there.

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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elgarian View Post
    That's a blessing! I guess Tannhauser is a long way down my list of possible purchases right now, but it's good to know there's a good one out there.
    I like 'Tannhauser' so I thought I'd better buy it - especially since Wagner operas so often suffer from ridiculous and/or incomprihensible productions. I've seen part of 'Tannhauser' in the opera house in Antwerp a few years ago but I was so disgusted by the production that I went home after the first act.

    I understand it being way down on your list of possible future buys (much as we may want to, it's impossible to buy everything), but maybe sooner or later you may see a cheap copy for sale somewhere. If you do it's definitely worth your consideration because I don't think you would regret having it.

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    I wouldn't recommend this DVD to anyone. The music is not so bad, but visual performance is TERRIBLE. Even if I'm going to listen to Boluez's Walkure some day I'll definitively avoid watching this mess.

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    I wouldn't recommend this DVD to anyone. The music is not so bad, but visual performance is TERRIBLE. Even if I'm going to listen to Boluez's Walkure some day I'll definitively avoid watching this mess.
    Aramis, why is it so bad? What did you not like about it?
    Natalie

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Aramis, why is it so bad? What did you not like about it?
    Let's see... antcient germanic god dressed like XIX-th century gentleman, Walk of Valkyries instead of Ride of Valkyries...

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    Senior Member Poppin' Fresh's Avatar
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    Personally I don't mind more modern productions of some of Wagner's work, particularly The Ring. Certainly not the best option for an introduction to it, but his works are allegorical in the larger sense, so romantic stage productions are are not essential I don't feel. And I enjoy watching different interpretations, though obviously I like more than others. Chereau's Ring was very much in the vein of George Bernard Shaw's Perfect Wagnerite, viewing it as an allegory of the 19th century socio-political landscape , focusing on the corrupting influences of political power and capitalism.

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    So what is a good DVD version of the Ring? For a Wagner neophyte like me, who thinks the acting is as important as the singing?
    Natalie

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    So what is a good DVD version of the Ring? For a Wagner neophyte like me, who thinks the acting is as important as the singing?
    The only traditional Ring out there is Levine's, but the singing and conducing is not good enough to deserve a recommendation. The Barenboim DVD has very good singing and conducing, far from perfect but pretty much on the balance the best you can get on any Ring collection, be it on DVD or CD. I personally liked the staging but many people have hated the staging, and it is indeed so radical that it makes complains about Chereau's Ring sound like a joke. So you have to live with what you have, if you want a better Ring DVD you'll going to have to wait longer.

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
    The only traditional Ring out there is Levine's, but the singing and conducing is not good enough to deserve a recommendation. The Barenboim DVD has very good singing and conducing, far from perfect but pretty much on the balance the best you can get on any Ring collection, be it on DVD or CD. I personally liked the staging but many people have hated the staging, and it is indeed so radical that it makes complains about Chereau's Ring sound like a joke. So you have to live with what you have, if you want a better Ring DVD you'll going to have to wait longer.
    I think I'll try and watch Levine's on Met Player to get an idea of the "traditional story" but I find the subtitles very capricious on my system so that might be a bit of a mission. :angry:

    Can you tell me a bit more about the Barenboim staging? This is the one I am inclining to acquiring at the moment.
    Natalie

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    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    I think I'll try and watch Levine's on Met Player to get an idea of the "traditional story" but I find the subtitles very capricious on my system so that might be a bit of a mission. :angry:

    Can you tell me a bit more about the Barenboim staging? This is the one I am inclining to acquiring at the moment.
    Common complains: it is definetely non-traditional, it's ugly, it features the use of lasers (very clevery done), people wear funky looking raincoats that doesn't look like it comes from any era, without spoiling too much the immolation scene is very stupid (but then again so is all the immolation scenes I have seen so far), a lot of times the stage is bare and only smoke and lasers are used for the staging. But on the plus side the acting is terrific, far better than Chereau's which is supposed to have changed standards of acting in opera (and which shows how pathetic the standard of acting in Opera is in the past). So if you are going to go "WAHHHHHHH!!!! IT'S NOT WHAT WAGNER WANTED!!!!" then you will probably dislike Barenboim's staging, but whether or not you will dislike it more than Behrens's awful singing is something you need to find out yourself.

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    Which one of those two below would you recommend higher?




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    Quote Originally Posted by Aramis View Post
    Which one of those two below would you recommend higher?



    As a mentioned a few posts back, Barenboim's Ring is the best Ring you can get audio-wise, be it on CD and DVD. It makes the Karajan/Bohm/Solti Rings pale in comparison. That by itself makes the Barenboim Ring a must have. While the singing and conducting in Levine's Ring is both lackluster. And the staging, while traditional, is a bit boring too (just because it is traditional doesn't make it boring or good, but in this case it's boring). But there seems to be a group of classical music fans who don't care about these things and just rant and complain about the non-tradition-ness of Barenboim's Ring, so if you are one of them and if you are brainwashed into believing that Solti's Ring can't be bettered than Levine's Ring is probably for you.

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    Senior Member Il Seraglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scytheavatar View Post
    As a mentioned a few posts back, Barenboim's Ring is the best Ring you can get audio-wise, be it on CD and DVD. It makes the Karajan/Bohm/Solti Rings pale in comparison. That by itself makes the Barenboim Ring a must have. While the singing and conducting in Levine's Ring is both lackluster. And the staging, while traditional, is a bit boring too (just because it is traditional doesn't make it boring or good, but in this case it's boring). But there seems to be a group of classical music fans who don't care about these things and just rant and complain about the non-tradition-ness of Barenboim's Ring, so if you are one of them and if you are brainwashed into believing that Solti's Ring can't be bettered than Levine's Ring is probably for you.
    Interesting this was brought up. I've foregone the Barenboim set for Boulez's interpretation. This was actually my Christmas present from my folks.



    I'll probably start watching it tomorrow. I just had to get it after seeing the Bayreuth '76 version of the Brunnhilde immolation scene in Gotterdammerung. I'll obviously be missing out on Barenboim, but I can get that one another time.

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