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Thread: Wagner Opera DVD's

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    Junior Member Weltschmerz's Avatar
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    Default Wagner Opera DVD's

    I've been wanting to buy some DVD's of Wagner operas, particularly The Ring of Nibelung. The two primary versions of most of his operas (on DVD) seem to be the Metropolitan under Levine and the Bayreuth production. Has anyone seen either of these or have any idea which is better. I am leaning toward the Metropolitan versions, as they seem to be more popular and plus - its the Metropolitan Opera. Then again, the authenticity of the Bayreuth theater cant be forgotten. Any suggestions?
    "When all hopes of recognition or honor have faded into distant memory, when purity of heart meets sorrow of mind, when all the world seems to walk in blindness, and yet a man works without wearying for that which he loves...only in this moment is passion truly understood." - Franz Schubert, 1827

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    Default Der Ring Des Nibelungen

    Between the Metropolitan with Levine and the Bayreuth with Boulez, I would recommend the Boulez on Deutsche Grammophon. Levine does not understand Wagner and rushes through him.
    The ultimate is Solti's version with the Wiener Philharmoniker on Decca/London (not on DVD).

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    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Wow, has this thread been fallow for a long time!
    Quote Originally Posted by tahnak View Post
    The ultimate is Solti's version with the Wiener Philharmoniker on Decca/London (not on DVD).
    Agree with this.
    Quote Originally Posted by tahnak View Post
    Between the Metropolitan with Levine and the Bayreuth with Boulez, I would recommend the Boulez on Deutsche Grammophon. Levine does not understand Wagner and rushes through him.
    Have to differ with you, here. An audition of Levine's Bayreuth Parsifal cannot be called a "rush-through" performance. (Actually, consensus is he's too slow with it.) Also, I heard the closing night Levine-MET Tristan und Isolde LIVE last year- and found it to be a great performance.

    I'm not going to quibble with Boulez' musicianship- but a primary consideration with a DVD purchase is the visual component. [If it isn't, one can just go with the Solti CD recommendation.] If you're okay with Rhine-Maidens posing in front of a hyrdoelectric dam and business-suited real-estate magnate Wotan attempting to forstall foreclosure on the 'Valhalla mortgage,' then you should be at peace with the Boulez pack. If, like me, you find 'personal vision' staging misguided at best (and mutilative at worst), you are herewith forewarned.

    Most guides consider the Levine set and the Barenboim set the finalists in this particular derby. Again, if someone considers Barenboim to be musically superior, I won't argue the point. While I'm at it, let me give a shout-out to our contributor Herzeleide, who considers the Barenboim Walküre a top-of-the-table recommendation. However, the production for Barenboim is another occasion for some 'personal touches,' though they're not viewed to be as extreme as those perpetrated by Chereau for Boulez.

    One of the prominent guides (Penguin, I think) says the Levine/MET set is the one version that has a stage presentation rendered in a form that would have been recognizable to the work's creator, and goes on to drolly say "no small consideration."

    No small consideration, indeed!
    Last edited by Chi_townPhilly; Feb-10-2009 at 16:18. Reason: clarifications
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    Senior Member jhar26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi_town/Philly View Post

    One of the prominent guides (Penguin, I think) says the Levine/MET set is the one version that has a stage presentation rendered in a form that would have been recognizable to the work's creator, and goes on to drolly say "no small consideration."

    No small consideration, indeed!
    I have no idea whether the Boulez or Barenboim versions are better from a musical perspective but I have the Levine set on DVD and agree about the visual aspect.

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