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Thread: Operas by Wagner on DVD/Blu-Ray/CD

          
   
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  1. #61
    Senior Member Involved Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    I received the Kubelik Parsifal yesterday and am finding it much better than the Solti. More restrained in most places, which gives the big parts just a little more impact.

    EDIT: Ive listened to each more extensively and side by side: To sum it up: The overall effect of the Solti recording is one of a victory, whereas the Kubelik is transcendental. When the trumpet plays the final grundthema it is like a soul escaping to heaven.

    Further, not as a comment on the quality of the singing, but I want to add that I think the casting on the Solti recording was near perfect. Rene Kollo's very light boyish voice suits the young/pure character of Parsifal IMO and Zoltan Kelemen's Klingsor sounds perfectly corrupt.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    The most infuriating, deflating, offensive piece of ****** garbage I have ever witnessed in my entire life. I was only relieved by scraping it with a knife and throwing it down the garbage chute.

    It's not that the set, singers, or orchestra is bad. Orchestra is great. Singers range from competent to quite good. The stage designer is imaginative and the sets while not complete to my taste are always at least interesting. The 3rd act has a flooded stage and is quite spectacular really.

    It's that the filming is such mindless, utter garbage that it lays a good production to waste. It's witnessing this wasteful, needless destruction of a solid production which is the offense.


    Take the Liebestod. We have Isolde graciously rising over the gently rippling waters of the stage as heavenly lights float about.

    It's ecstasy: live in the theatre.

    How this is presented to us on DVD:

    - Jump shot every few seconds. Switch from extreme close ups to bizarre angles at a distance.
    - Forget tripods. Let's film it all shakily by hand.
    - During this intense focus of Isolde's emotional expression, jump back and forth to the conductor's hands.
    - Film Brangane and King Marke. They're interesting.
    - For the "big note", shakily zoom up on Isolde's blurry mouth in green NIGHT VISION. Jump back to conductor.

    Why. Just *******why?


    See my review on amazon (and I never review anything on amazon, but this has to die): http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Wagner...rBy=addOneStar
    Last edited by Soave_Fanciulla; May 26th, 2012 at 07:48 AM. Reason: language

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  4. #63
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Let's add Andy Sommer to the list of video directors we would like to lynch for ruining otherwise wonderful DVDs.
    Natalie

  5. #64
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Yikes. There is little that irritates me more than the stupid trend of hand-held shaky camera. It was a novelty years ago when Lars von Trier and his pals launched the Dogme 95 collective. It got the Blair Witch Project some notoriety and was exploited by action flicks. Then it became passé. It is annoying and nauseating. That contemporary opera video directors are trying to resurrect this stupid trend is mind-boggling. What are these people thinking???

    And then, the jump shots every three seconds like in the equally nauseating Nielsen's Maskarade DVD are also incomprehensible.

    And to add insult to injury, now there is this idea of focusing where the action is NOT when filming opera DVD like the hands of the conductor or something even backstage. People go to such lengths to give the impression that they are different and creative! Some illustration of other stage action and even the occasional orchestra shot is fine and even desirable. But making it intrusive and distracting is not!

    And this DVD you're commenting upon does all three!!! Outrageous!!!

    I just can't believe these video directors can't see how stupid this all is. And how a full production team made of pretty smart people like conductors and stage directors and artistic directors and recording company managers can't see this for what it is and stop these video directors from ruining their products.

    It reminds me that like the Strassberger interview, we need to get an interview with an opera video director and explore this situation.

    Yes, the garbage can is where this kind of DVD belongs. I hereby add my pet-peeve rant to yours. Maybe my use of small nuclear devices to curb Anna Netrebko's detractors should be diverted to silly video directors.

    PS - I added my comment to yours, on Amazon.com. Without the Anna Netrebko small nuclear device part, hehehe.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 26th, 2012 at 01:53 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  6. #65
    Schigolch
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  7. #66
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Who is again that video director that Natalie hates for ruining a DVD with backstage shots *during* the opera, and what DVD was that? Something with Kaufmann? Werther, I think?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  8. #67
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Now that I've seen the video clip (thanks, Schigolch), I have to say I wasn't as troubled as I expected. Yes, the constant cutting, wildly varying camera angles and lighting, and handheld jerkiness are a bit much, but I'm not opposed in principle to a director using such devices to give some visual counterpart to what is otherwise a static moment onstage.

    More specifically, the shots of the conductor's hands don't bother me; many see the liebestod as being as much about the orchestra as the singer. To me, these partial views of the conductor suggest an Isolde transfixed on some unseen force guiding her onwards. Similarly, shots of the lone, rotating searchlight piercing through the darkness also seem fitting at such a moment. I will admit that I'm less able to account for the garish neon green lighting in the closeups. On the whole, though, the director seems to want to instill the moment with dramatic weight and seriousness, an approach often lacking in modern productions.

    I'm not saying I like the clip, but I don't find it quite as irresponsible or totally off base as others have suggested.

  9. #68
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amfortas View Post
    Now that I've seen the video clip (thanks, Schigolch), I have to say I wasn't as troubled as I expected. Yes, the constant cutting, wildly varying camera angles and lighting, and handheld jerkiness are a bit much, but I'm not opposed in principle to a director using such devices to give some visual counterpart to what is otherwise a static moment onstage.

    More specifically, the shots of the conductor's hands don't bother me; many see the liebestod as being as much about the orchestra as the singer. To me, these partial views of the conductor suggest an Isolde transfixed on some unseen force guiding her onwards. Similarly, shots of the lone, rotating searchlight piercing through the darkness also seem fitting at such a moment. I will admit that I'm less able to account for the garish neon green lighting in the closeups. On the whole, though, the director seems to want to instill the moment with dramatic weight and seriousness, an approach often lacking in modern productions.

    I'm not saying I like the clip, but I don't find it quite as irresponsible or totally off base as others have suggested.
    Well, this is *one* clip with less than 5 minutes. Would you still keep your opinion after four hours of this? T&I is a long opera.

    That's the problem with the Makarade DVD, for example. For a few minutes it seems original and interesting, but then by the end of the performance you're dizzy, you have a headache, and you experience murderous thoughts for the video director.

    By the way, I don't think this is great singing either.
    Last edited by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva); May 26th, 2012 at 05:19 PM.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  10. #69
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Well, this is *one* clip with less than 5 minutes. Would you still keep your opinion after four hours of this? T&I is a long opera.
    Good point. But then again, I don't know if the director is this busy throughout the entire opera. Maybe he keeps some of his more extravagant choices in reserve until this final moment.

    As I said, though, I'm not crazy about the clip, so I'm not in a hurry to check out the rest.

  11. #70
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    That clip is actually a bit different from the DVD. For one, I distinctly remember that when Isolde begins singing, the camera is on Marke and Brangane, *not* Isolde. Also the shot seems stabilized compared to the DVD, but that could just be the difference of a 15" computer screen and a 55" TV. Perhaps a more sensible cut will someday be released.

    And yes, the director is truly this busy during the entire thing. The first act in particular is insane, he gets a bit, but not much, better in Acts 2 and 3. It's sensless visual overload and it cuts up Wagner's lines at random. Your thoughts are interesting Amfortas but 4 hours is far too much of it.

  12. #71
    Senior Member Involved Member Couchie's Avatar
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    I should say it also doesn't help that the stage action itself is already quite busy. In the first Act he has the poor ranting Isolde flinging herself all over the stage, lying down, using a lot of props like a crown, a skull, a full sized dummy, wielding a sword, painting "Tantris" and "Tristan" on the wall in white paint, etc. she's always doing something in addition to singing and yet she pulls off a pretty good vocal performance. As other reviewers noted she's (understandably) used up by the Liebestod.

  13. #72
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    she's always doing something in addition to singing and yet she pulls off a pretty good vocal performance. As other reviewers noted she's (understandably) used up by the Liebestod.
    And since when is this an excuse?
    Oh wait. Since I used the same excuse for Anna Netrebko in Willy Decker's Traviata.

    OK, OK! But... but...

    Oh, I got it!

    It's that we want our Isoldes with stamina!

    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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  15. #73
    Senior Member Involved Member brianwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post

    Further, I also ordered the Bohm ring as I got quite tired of the Solti. Any opinions there?
    Apart from certain moments of Siegfried the Solti is decidedly superior in virtually every aspect. Bohm is terrible; if you think Solti isn't sensitive you'll find Bohm even more abrasive unless you like things swift and melodies skipped over.

    If you want better singing I suggest the new Keilberth cycle, or for conducting the 1954 VPO/Walkure and 1951 Bayreuth Knappertsbusch Gotteredammerung will do just fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Couchie View Post
    It should be pointed out that this set is worth it for the Liebestod alone. If the Liebestod is a shapely glimmering silver statue levitating in the air then Karajan reaches above and perfectly caresses its curves with tender hands. I have it spliced into my Böhm playlist... sorry Nilsson.
    I think this tells us more about Bohm's conducting than anything else.

    I'm not a fan of Dernesch and would go rather with Meier in 1992 or best of all, Varnay on an excepts album recorded with her husband doing pedestrian conducting for DG.

  16. #74
    Senior Member Involved Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with you on Bohm's ring Brianwalker, though I havent found either entirely satisfying.

    How is the sound on the Keilberth?

  17. #75
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Dark_Angel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emiellucifuge View Post
    I have to disagree with you on Bohm's ring Brianwalker, though I havent found either entirely satisfying.
    How is the sound on the Keilberth?
    Keilberth 1955 Ring has very good sound (amazing really), a live stereo recording using Decca's top recording team. Best sound quality document of the great 1950's elite Wagner Ring singers in prime voice.

    Keilberth live Ring was allowed to languish because Decca's Culshaw had grand plans for the famous Solti studio Ring project and he did not like live recordings in general

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