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Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:06 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QsbXcbepL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

My advice:

If you like your Tannhäuser with a complete overture instead of having it cut in half so that you're suddenly thrown right into the Bacchanal, don't buy this.
If you like naked breasts, buy this (they're beautiful).
If you hate Eurotrash, don't buy this.
If you like your Venusberg to be a surrealistic Bosch-like nightmare with lots of naked breasts and a woman-eating crocodile who gobbles another topless woman, buy this.
If you like your Hall of Music to actually look beautiful as intended, don't buy this.
If you like your Heinrich Tannhäuser to be interpreted by a singer who is not 30 years past his prime and doesn't have an awful, embarrasing wobble like René Kollo in this production, don't buy this.
If you like your Venus to be absolutely gorgeous looking, very sexy, the ultimate incarnation of seduction, the ultimate Goddess of Love with a beautiful voice to boot like Waltraud Meier in a breathtaking performance, buy this. (Sorry, *her* breasts are not part of the show, but at least she's got nice cleavage).
If you don't like silly political symbolism like a big Berlin wall with the words Germania Nostra, don't buy this.
If you like your opera videos to have a few more colors than black, white, and gray, don't buy this.
If you love ugly depressing settings, buy this.
If you want your Wolfram, your Landgrave, and your Elisabeth with good acting and singing skills (Bernd Weikl just a little passed his prime but still pretty good, and excellent Jan-Hendrik Rootering and Nadine Secunde, almost a show stopper), buy this.
If you want a good conductor, don't buy this (it's Mehta - although he is not terrible here).
If you like your choruses to be superb like the Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper, buy this.
If you like your DVD to have a booklet that has more than just a list of chapters, don't buy this.

So, obviously a mixed bag. It's almost worth buying for Waltraud Meier, but Venus doesn't stick around as you know. René Kollo pretty much ruins it, in spite of the notable effort by Weikl, Rootering, and Secunde to save it. If the Eurotrash aspects had been kept in the first act only, it would have been a valid contrast between Venusberg and Thuringia, but the way it was done pretty much ruined the whole thing - there is virtually no difference between the settings.

I think in summary the negatives outweigh the positives, so if you're not a passionate fan of Waltraud Meier, stay away.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:09 PM
A very, very, very short bubble about the Rings on DVD/Blu-ray that I know:

Levine's = traditional, with ups and downs in terms of singing
Boulez's = better singing, weird staging
Copenhagen = evil!!! Brünnhilde has a baby at the end!!!! Tampering! Wrong ending!
Valencia = visually interesting. That's about it
Baremboim's = good singing, decent staging. My choice.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:10 PM
Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander on DVD (The Flying Dutchman)
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ciZNf66kL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Spectacular overture, excellent orchestra (Nelsson conducting, Bayreuth orchestra), superlative singing, especially by Simon Estes and Matti Salminen, a dream cast. But the production is controversial. First of all, they show the original version so you won't listen to the redemption music at the end which Wagner added to the revised version which apparently became the dominant version, but Bayreuth did the original. Second, they make the entire thing be inside Senta's mind (she is present 100% of the time even when in Wagner's opera she is not supposed to be on stage). Apparently this production gave force to the dreaded Regietheater craze. And to top it all, they make of the Dutchman, two Dutchmen. I'm not sure if I like all this tampering.

One weird aspect of this production: Senta keeps singing of the pale seaman, but Simon Estes, of course, is all but pale... it causes an unintended comic effect.

Well anyway, controversy or not, there are several fine moments.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:11 PM
This is an old review of Parsifal I wrote for another site (IMDb Classical Music) several years ago:

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Wagner: Parsifal on DVD
This is an old review that I wrote for another site while watching Parsifal for the first time.

This was the production:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MFWx4XKIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

What I remember is that it was a minimalist, modern staging that didn't have too many bothersome trickery and was effective enough, except for a couple of blunders that are detailed below. The singing, if I remember correctly, I found to be rather good.

At the time, here is what I wrote (ever since, I grew more of an appreciation for Act I)

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I've just finished ACT I, and I'm having a little break before ACT II.

Impressions so far: highly disappointing. I know that it is supposed to get better, but to be frank, ACT I is a bore.

First of all, the leitmotifs repeat too often, and there aren't that many of them like in the Ring (that I know, the main ones are about 10 - Sacrament, Grail, Faithful, Spear, Kundry, Amfortas, Klingsor, Innocence, Parsifal, Bells), so it gets boring. Second, the pace is dreadful. Why do we need 1 h 46 minutes to have a rather simple (and far fetched) story told? Third, I'm sick and tired of hearing about blood and sin and how foolish Parsifal is.

Anyway, not all is bad. I generally liked Gurnemanz's lines. Like Du konntest mordem, or Wo bist du her?. He's got appropriate gravitas. And Amfortas monologue is relatively interesting (more for the orchestration), Nein! Lasst ihn unenthüllt!. And definitely, I liked a lot Nehmet vom Brot during the communion scene, and there is no doubt that the orchestration ends the act in a much better way than the rather lame overture. I do like the Bells leitmotif, which is very prominent at ACT I's end.

So, let's see the continuation. Maybe I'll like II and III more since the old psychological effect of too much expectation was definitely shattered by ACT I. I forgot to give a score to ACT I. Here it goes: C- except for the second half of the second scene which is a B+, so I guess the average is a B- or C+.

ACT II
Sc 1 - Boring start, boring dialogue between Klingsor and Kundry and the battle scene is rather lame, with unimpressive orchestration. B-

Sc 2 - Better now: I like Komm, Komm, holder Knabe!, the song of the Flower Maidens. Funny, I've never seen this many women at once in a Wagner opera. A stageful of attractive young women. Very un-Wagner-like, LOL. Kundry comes calling 'Parsifal'.

OK, it's getting seriously beautiful now. Dich nannt'ich seems to be the best piece so far. Very hypnotic with a recurrent melody. Parsifal responds, they talk about his origins, the dramatic tension increases exponentially, unlike everything that precedes this scene. I wish Wagner got rid of the three previous scenes and started his opera here. I understand the need to build up the tension, but it took too long to get to the goodies. Now I'm interested again. Long and beautiful scene as Parsifal learns that his mother died of grief when he left her. Touching.

The kiss scene. His reaction. He rejects her. Gripping tension and perfect orchestration continues. Yes, we're in business now.

This scene is a tour de force. Spectacular. It has a Greek tragedy's intensity. The music is beautiful. All this interaction between Kundry and Parsifal has been lasting for 30 minutes and it is continuously beautiful. Bravo, Wagner! A++

A change in tone when Parsifal escapes his despondency and reaffirms his faith, Auf Ewigkeit wärst du verdammt, he is pretty harsh on her; beautiful moment too. It does get a little over the top - basically Kundry says, "OK, go redeem the world but what about a little sex before? Just a quickie?" LOL. Nope, says Parsifal, gotta find Amfortas. Oh come on, Parsifal, don't be such a prude. All work and no play makes Parsifal a dumb boy. It's hard to take this utterly ridiculous libretto seriously, Mr. Wagner.

Kundry gets hysterical. Hilfe! Hilfe! Herbei!. I like it a lot less than before. Back to B-.

OMG, the staging I'm seeing just got utterly ridiculous. You guys should see how the spear came flying, and then stayed there, dangling. So fake! Rather lousy special effect.

Overgrandiose music, then curtain. OK, Act II was highly uneven, but at least had in its 40' core one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen in all of opera, so, it gets an A-.

ACT III

The prelude is the one I liked the most of the three. Good start.

Sc 1

And it continues with Gurnemanz who had already pleased me in ACT I, so, it looks promising. He is trying to wake Kundry up and the orchestration is very powerful. She does. More recitative from Gurnemanz.

Very solemn music. I like it. Parsifal comes in, as a black knight. Suspense. He's selectively mute. The sounds from the orchestra are halting. Beautiful.

The halting pattern comes to an end. Now Parsifal is giving an account of his adventures. Pretty beautiful too.

But this staging has a nun wandering by - is it Kundry? Yes, it is. Whaaaat? I don't think she is supposed to have joined an order or something. Stage director shenanigans, as if the symbolism in the libretto wasn't obvious enough. Anyway, let's not let this blunder distract us.

This ACT has entered a steady pace and is going a lot better in terms of sustained beauty, unlike boring ACT I and uneven ACT II.

Old Gurnemanz continues to do a good job. O Gnade! Höchstes Heil!. Poor Parsifal is devastated with remorse.

We get to Du wuschest mir die Füsse and the washing/anointing rituals. Wow, this is very beautiful. A++ again.

The libretto continues to displease me. So, the fool is to become king because he is innocent and pure. Sugary.

But the music is rapidly achieving sublime proportions.

Now for the Good Friday music. This is very melodious and calm. Then my favorite, Gurnemanz, soars. Damn, this is one of the most sustained A++ stretches I've ever seen. I just wish the words didn't mention so much all this Christian sentimentality.

I'm glad that I don't understand German. I'll be able to listen to Parsifal on CD without the libretto or subtitles, then I'll focus exclusively on the music.

OK, end of scene 1. The best one so far as a whole, given the continuous high quality.

Sc 2

Spectacular procession music. Goosebumps. Chorus of the knights. Excellent. Can we have an A+++?

I'm not looking forward to Amfortas' monologue; he's my least favorite character, always whining. For a Jesus Christ metaphor, Wagner could have given him better lines. But we'll see.

OK, musically beautiful, but I just can't shake off the words and the whining. Holy blood this, holy blood that, blah, blah, blah. I can't get into the pathos, confessedly because of my own prejudices. And it doesn't help that he shows his wound so overdramatically.

Here comes goody two shoes Parsifal to heal him. It's about time, maybe he'll stop whining.

Oh come on, Parsifal: "supreme joy of this miracle" and more talk of holy blood. I definitely need to turn off the subtitles.

Now the Grail will be uncovered, I brace for a bombastic finale. Everybody holds hands [Alma throws up].

Last chorus: Höchsten Heiles Wunder!. Gulp. Sublime again, as well as the orchestration.

Predicably, it ends in gorgeous, gorgeous music. A++ for Act III.

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In summary, C+, A, A++. This would be something like 79, 95, 105. 279, divided by 3, 93. Gets an A.

The libretto, on the other hand, gets a D-.

So, the opera makes it into the second tier of my favorites, but to listen only, without the libretto or subtitles.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:16 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MHRZjEL8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Not a complete review, just a blurb.

Modern staging. Solveig Kringelborn as Elsa acts well, and Klaus Florian Vogt as Lohengrin has a beautiful lyrical voice. Tom Fox is adquate. Waltraud Meier is excellent and steals the scene every time she is on.

I liked this one a lot, and I especially enjoyed the opening scene which is on the cover picture. I thought that the minimalistic staging worked very well. As a matter of fact, minimalistic stagings always work well for Wagner, but instead of realizing this simple fact, directors tend to go overboard when they tackle Wagner, go figure.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:18 PM
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen on blu-ray
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LHKB%2B5bHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

OK, folks. I saw the Valencia Ring. I'm mad. Really mad.

For my review, I'll write a fictional piece: it's what I imagine is likely to have happened in real life, under the form of a rant by Video Creator Franc Aleu talking to Stage Director Carlus Padrissa. In Catalan, of course. But for the benefit of our non-Catalan speaking friends (me included) I'll provide the translation of the rant into English.

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"Carlus, how could this fiasco have happened? Didn't you talk about it with Helga?? [Almaviva's note: Helga Schmidt, Intendant of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Spain] Wasn't she supposed to hire some good people to work with us? I mean, after all the spectacular work that you and I have done, shouldn't we have expected to deserve some good singers? A decent conductor??? I know, I know, our Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana is good for nothing, but maybe someone competent - unlike that moron Zubin Mehta - could have extracted something resembling Wagnerian sounds from those musicians. Or at least, could have impacted some soul on the performance, instead of that anemic disaster.

And look, I know that music is that idiot Mehta's department, but as a stage director, couldn't you have talked to him about the casting? One knows that one is in trouble when Fricka is more attractive than Brünnhilde. It's supposed to be the other way around, Carlus!!! See, that Brünnhilde is supposed to ride a flying horse, but how would the horse lift from the ground 2 tones of fat tissue? The time of the fat lady with the breast plate is waaaay past, Carlus. A good Brünnhilde should be able to sing unlike that fat cow, and should try and look the part a little bit.

And what in the hell were you thinking when you let Chu [Almaviva's note: Chu Uroz, Costume Designer] completely ruin the outstanding visuals you and I put together, with those ridiculous-looking costumes for the gods, made of plastic stripes? And give me some attractive Rhinemaidens, for Pete's sake! Roland [Almaviva's note - Roland Olbeter, Stage Designer] comes up with that fabulous idea of the three glass tanks for the Rhinemaidens; I provide the fabulous watery video background, and we get those plain looking women who couldn't sing if their lives depended on it, to be inside the tanks??? Then, the gorgeous idea of the golden baby in my videos symbolizing all the potential the Rhinegold gets completely wasted in a scene with an Alberich who doesn't look scary or despicable, and Rhinemaidens who can't convey any of their characteristics - seductiveness, playfulness, sillyness...

This whole thing was miscast from beginning to end! I get the spectacular special effects of Wotan's and Loge's journey underground with the brilliant idea of Earth's image rolling in the background; I get the even more brilliant image of Nothung's tree made of the letters of Sigmund's name; you get the striking effect of real fire from flamethrowers around Brünnhilde in the final scene of Die Walküre, and also the industrial imagery in the Siegfried scene when the sword is being repaired followed by the beautiful crystals floating on the air once the sword is ready, not to forget the very effective rendition of Fafner as a dragon... and it all keeps being ruined over and over by that fat cow Brünnhilde and that stupid conductor?

Look, you and I put together that human pyramid at the end of Rheingold... that suspended ball of naked bodies in the Ride of the Valkyries scene... the clever effect achieved with empty water bottles when Siegfried is traveling by boat on the Rhine... and to top it all, we do the MOST SPECTACULAR final scene of Götterdämmerung ever staged in the history of the Ring - that jaw dropping wall of fire that opens up to those bodies suspended on the air, while this time really attractive Rhinemaidens (since these didn't need to sing, we were able to get some really beautiful models this time) celebrate their recovery of the Ring... to have it all spoiled by an incompetent conductor, a mediocre orchestra, a horrible costume designer, and singers who not only don't look their parts but also can't sing?

WHAT A WASTED OPPORTUNITY! My, oh my, why on Earth two extremely competent guys like you and me, Carlus, couldn't have associated ourselves with some good musicians? We could have had the best Ring ever. Instead, we got a nice visual show, coupled with a musical and acting disaster!

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End of rant.

Edit, months later: interesting, I saw it again (Rheingold only) and this time didn't find the orchestra to be bad. And actually found the Rheinmadens better as well. Anyways, Rheingold in this version is better than the other three thanks to no fat Brünnhilde.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 1st, 2012, 10:22 PM
My personal favorite Tristan und Isolde is this one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B97iw-NGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I love its minimalistic staging, and love Stemme's performance (good singing, excellent acting) although she doesn't get a worthy Tristan in Gambill to share the stage with her (but we do get Rene Pape as a bonus). There's also a very good documentary included. It's available on blu-ray as well.

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 09:31 AM
It’s not often that watching an opera DVD interferes with my everyday life – but this one did; when I watched it I had to keep rewarding myself with 15 minutes of Lohengrin for accomplishing each essential task of the day.

This is definitely not one for the purists – no enormous swans, shining armour, medieval wimples here. But it totally brings alive the very human tragedy of the doomed love between Elsa and her Lohengrin. And that it did this so movingly and piercingly is mainly due to the shining, multifaceted and intimate performances of Anja Harteros and Jonas Kaufmann in the title roles, and the wonderful chemistry between them.

http://operastagecoach.co.uk/WEB-INF/includes/blogImageShow.php?id=7&image_no=1

Elsa here is no shrinking violet or loony halfwit, she is a true visionary, with a yearning for happiness and a strong will perverted by the effective if rather brassy Ortrud of Michaela Schuster. Lohengrin is part stalwart hero and defender of the weak, and part young man in love for the first time and hoping against hope for his fleeting change of domestic bliss. See him when he realises that his life will no longer include wife and children, see him when he first notices with a start the swan returning for him in Act three. Truly heart breaking, have hankies nearby.

The singing of both these young people was totally satisfactory for me, I personally love Kaufmann’s unique timbre but I know that it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Definitely some strained upper notes, but I don’t care. Harteros was wonderful, with a lovely creamy tone. Secondary roles were also strong, particularly the evil, violent Telramund of Wolfgang Koch. Now he was scary! All the way through I found myself thinking – “Elsa, don’t listen to them, this is a disaster, this will end in tears” even though I knew the ending.:)

As I said, the production was definitely not traditional – set in some vague mid-20C hierarchical Germany, with Lohengrin in a T-shirt and Elsa at first in dungarees, but later so beautiful in fitted wedding-dress. Colours play a symbolic part, the mustard and maroon of Brabant contrasting sharply with the sky blue of Lohengrin and later of the whole state.

The central conceit is the building of a house throughout the opera, symbolising first Elsa’s and then both the young couple’s desire for settled love. We first see Elsa in her dungarees defiantly laying the first bricks, and by the third act the young couple listen to the wedding march as the furniture is being moved in. When Lohengrin realises his hopes of love are gone, he sets fire to the wedding bed and crib:eek:!!

One advantage of all this activity is that it provides a focus, whereas more traditional productions have a tendency to be very static (and my mind starts to wander):o....

All in all I would definitely recommend it, especially if the acting is as important to you as the singing, and if you are prepared to go beyond the traditional. If you are a fan of either Harteros or Kaufmann it’s a must anyway.

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 09:35 AM
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This is another modern production of Lohengrin - all the men are wearing military uniforms except the title role who is got up in a strange stiff sparkly suit and the sort of wig that makes you look as though a small rodent has died on your head. And of course, no swan. However the blocking and acting was always interesting and I did enjoy watching it A LOT.

Solveig Kringelborn is a sweet, naive and slightly deranged Elsa and Klaus Florian Vogt a very lyrical light-voiced Lohengrin, fairly stiff and heroic and no match in the acting stakes for Jonas Kaufmann. Tom Fox was convincing as the weak Telramund. But the entire action is really dominated by the wonderfully beautiful and haughtily evil Ortrud of Waltraud Meier. She made my blood run cold and I now can't imagine anyone else in this role. Worth getting just for her.

Soave_Fanciulla
January 2nd, 2012, 09:50 AM
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It is possible that this is an interesting production of Tannhäuser. I wouldn’t know because I’ve hardly seen any of it, due to the unspeakably awful video “direction” provided by Chloé Perlemuter, obviously a graduate of the Benoît Jacquot School of Ruining Opera DVDs.

So what you do is, you find out who is playing the title role and then you train your camera on him in close up, no matter who else is singing, EVEN IF IT’S JONAS KAUFMANN:eek:.

What I *can* tell you is that it must have been damn hot in the Zürich Operhaus that night, judging from the bucketfuls of sweat that continuously pour off Peter’s Seiffert’s rather meaty face.

I can also tell you that conductor Frank Welser-Möst is married as there were a lot of shots of his left hand during the orchestral parts.

Backstage at the opera house is pretty grim and institutional, judging by the frequent cuts to waiting singers during the opera when the viewer was supposed to be transported into a magical world by the music. Oh, and the backstage clock tells me they started late.

Glad this one came from the library or I’d sue:mad:.

EDIT: Judging from this review of Falstaff (http://www.amazon.com/Verdi-Falstaff-McGreevy-Hellekant-Aix-en-Provence/dp/B00008DDUM/ref=sr_1_23?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1299721017&sr=1-23)on Amazon it seems as though Ms Perlemuter makes a habit of this.

Amfortas
January 2nd, 2012, 07:07 PM
Wagner: Der Fliegende Hollander on DVD (The Flying Dutchman)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ciZNf66kL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

. . . the production is controversial . . . They make the entire thing be inside Senta's mind (she is present 100% of the time even when in Wagner's opera she is not supposed to be on stage). Apparently this production gave force to the dreaded Regietheater craze. And to top it all, they make of the Dutchman, two Dutchmen. I'm not sure if I like all this tampering.

I think this production is absolutely brilliant. Here's why.

First of all, it's not *all* in Senta's mind, but is about the conflict between her fantasy and an oppressive reality.

I take it that the entire opening act between Daland, his crew, and the Dutchman is the repressed Senta's fantasy--her dream that her imaginary lover will materialize and win her father's approval. Hence her presence hovering over the action and responding to it gleefully.

The trouble with fantasies, though, is that they run up against reality. Here's where I think Kupfer's concept is most brilliant.

In Act II, Senta is excited at the prospect of her father bringing her dream lover to her. But when Daland appears with a mysterious, silhouetted stranger, she backs away, distressed and fearful, continually checking the portrait against this unexpected figure. The audience may feel a similar uncertainty at this point--is this Simon Estes, and if so, why are his features so obscured? After announcing that he has brought her daughter a suitor for her hand in marriage, Daland leaves the two of them alone.

The point here is that Senta's father really does come home with a prospective husband for her. But this wooer is not Senta's fantasy Dutchman, but rather some ordinary, real man Daland has chosen. His features are obscured because Senta, lost in her romantic delusion, is unable--or refuses--to see him.

Confronted with this unwelcome stranger, Senta reverts to her fantasy. A more flowery version of the magical ship appears upstage, revealing the Dutchman (Estes, of course, so that we now realize the shadowy figure is just a stand-in). Throughout the ensuing scene, Senta interacts with this romanticized illusion rather than with the actual man brought by her father. Estes/Dutchman sings words in keeping with this fantasy, announcing that he has sought such a young woman for restless ages and yearned for redemption. Senta, quite appropriately for this production, responds by asking, "Am I deep in a wonderful dream? What I see, is it mere fancy?" She too expresses her wish to bring salvation to this tormented soul.

But then the shadowy figure steps forward, and for the one and only time in the scene mimes speaking for himself. As he does so, Estes sings, "Do you agree with your father's choice? What he promised, say, can I count on it?" This is the one down-to-earth, businesslike moment in the scene; Kupfer gives these lines to the shadowy figure to make it clear that in reality, Senta is talking to an ordinary man pursuing a mundane marriage contract.

Put off by this intrusion of reality, Senta immediately reverts to her fantasy: the silhouetted figure steps aside, and the fantasy Dutchman sings "Could you give yourself to me for ever and offer your hand to a stranger? Shall I, after a life of anguish, find in your loyalty my long-sought rest?" We are back in the romantic dream world of the accursed, tormented soul in need of redemption. It is he whom Senta finds irresistible, and he whom she agrees to wed. It is only by maintaining this split between fantasy and reality that Senta can keep any sort of psychic equilibrium. I find this notion quite powerful, since of course there's an element of this dichotomy in all romantic love.

This idea of a fantasy Dutchman is executed brilliantly throughout the production, without having to alter any of the text. Another notable instance is the final scene of Act III, where Erik and the Dutchman both castigate Senta. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that in Kupfer’s production, Erik and the entire assembled crowd don't see the Dutchman—only Senta does. And again, it works perfectly with the text.

In the end, of course, Senta chooses her fantasy over both her father's candidate and the hapless Erik. But the only way to keep hold of such a delusion is to break with reality completely--through either insanity or death. Senta chooses the latter, though perhaps she has flirted with the former all along.


One weird aspect of this production: Senta keeps singing of the pale seaman, but Simon Estes, of course, is all but pale... it causes an unintended comic effect.

I also think the casting (even apart from vocal considerations) serves the production beautifully. Lisbeth Balslev, in both looks and behavior, is perfect as a repressed old-maid schoolmarm of a Senta.

And yes, some may object that Simon Estes doesn't look like any kind of "pallid" Dutchman. But presented as a fantasy figure--a towering, handsome, virile black man (appearing in chains on a slave ship), he only makes Senta's feverish longings seem all the more exotic and transgressive.

HarpsichordConcerto
January 2nd, 2012, 09:12 PM
Parsifal, (ein Bühnenweihfestspiel - A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage)

The Metropolitan Opera/James Levine.
Parsifal - Siegfried Jerusalem

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GJYbFq3YL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Wagner didn't use the "opera" for this work. Easy to see why. This four hour plus piece had strong religious themes, especially in Acts I and 3, which I thought was well captured by the relatively traditional stage production, though the best scene was in Act 2, with the Flower-maidens and their floral garden seducing Parsifal (front cover pictured above). So staging wise, I thought the production worked well, effective for the story's plot and was non-distractive.

Levine did a predictably "safe" interpretation though it didn't feel arresting, perhaps the religious theme might have something to do with it? I don't know. The singers did a fine job. Singer Jerusalem (Parsifal) was the strongest, the rest were fine. Only one role for the soprano, singer Waltraud Meier (Kundry) did her best at seducing Parsifal in Act 2 and conveyed her somewhat tragic role well. I kind of felt sorry for Kundry.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Considering it was Wagner's last opera, it didn't feel as epic as some of his other pieces composed before, but perhaps that had to do with the strong religious themes going through it? Parsifal is currently my favourite Wagner opera (has been for a while). This version is probably not the strongest around musically, but I think the best part of it was its staging, so I "justified" its purchase in hindsight.

Couchie
January 30th, 2012, 02:48 AM
My personal favorite Tristan und Isolde is this one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B97iw-NGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I love its minimalistic staging, and love Stemme's performance (good singing, excellent acting) although she doesn't get a worthy Tristan in Gambill to share the stage with her (but we do get Rene Pape as a bonus). There's also a very good documentary included. It's available on blu-ray as well.
I'll add my own thoughts:

- The production is gorgeous. If any opera can pull off minimalism it's the near-actionless Tristan. The concentric-ringed stage is beautiful and looks well-built. With changing lighting they were able to subtly enhance the drama and keep the set interesting.

- Stemme is a fiery, defiant Isolde. This makes for a sensational Act 1 but limits the sympathy we feel for her later on. Still, she is probably incomparable in this role today, and she does not fail to deliver.

- Gambill didn't really sell me on the first 2 acts. His and Stemme's voices do not meld as well as Jerusalem and Meier's in the Barenboim DVD. I had written him off after Act 2 and begrudgingly prepared for my least favorite, Tristan-centric part of the opera: Act 3. And holy **** was I ever mistaken. HE OWNED IT. Pure enthrallment. With Kollo or Jerusalem the eyelids start to get heavy during this act. Here, Tristan's death was arguably the highlight of the entire opera. Revelatory.

- Brangäne, Kurwenal, Marke: All exceptional.

- There is about 10 minutes cut from some of the most sublime music in Act 2. Why it was necessary to cut 10 minutes from a 4 hour opera I'll never know. It occurs right before the Liebesnacht and for people familiar with the opera the whole duet goes on to feel premature.

- Visual quality is quite poor for blu-ray. The only thing high definition would seem to be the subtitles. On closeups especially there are noticeable artifacts and ghosting of the image. This is a relatively minor complaint and doesn't really affect overall enjoyment.

- Audio quality is divine. Some people seem to complain the singers are drowned out listening in surround sound. I listened in stereo with headphones, and was greeted with rich orchestra and always-audible singing. The conductor and sound engineers bring out details you can't hear on the older famous CD recordings.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
January 30th, 2012, 05:19 AM
Yes, you're right that Gambill improved in the third act. This is overall an excellent production. Darn, I didn't notice the 10-minute cut, it's a shame that they did this.

AmericanGesamtkunstwerk
January 30th, 2012, 06:53 AM
Parsifal, (ein Bühnenweihfestspiel - A Festival Play for the Consecration of the Stage)

The Metropolitan Opera/James Levine.
Parsifal - Siegfried Jerusalem

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GJYbFq3YL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Wagner didn't use the "opera" for this work. Easy to see why. This four hour plus piece had strong religious themes, especially in Acts I and 3, which I thought was well captured by the relatively traditional stage production, though the best scene was in Act 2, with the Flower-maidens and their floral garden seducing Parsifal (front cover pictured above). So staging wise, I thought the production worked well, effective for the story's plot and was non-distractive.

Levine did a predictably "safe" interpretation though it didn't feel arresting, perhaps the religious theme might have something to do with it? I don't know. The singers did a fine job. Singer Jerusalem (Parsifal) was the strongest, the rest were fine. Only one role for the soprano, singer Waltraud Meier (Kundry) did her best at seducing Parsifal in Act 2 and conveyed her somewhat tragic role well. I kind of felt sorry for Kundry.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Considering it was Wagner's last opera, it didn't feel as epic as some of his other pieces composed before, but perhaps that had to do with the strong religious themes going through it? Parsifal is currently my favourite Wagner opera (has been for a while). This version is probably not the strongest around musically, but I think the best part of it was its staging, so I "justified" its purchase in hindsight.

I like this dvd a lot, but I kind of wish I had other more engaging interpretations in my collection. I've seen clips of younger Jerusalem's Parsifal, and it's definitely better than here. I think Waltraud Meier's performance in this is sublimely exceptional. Possibly even moreso than in the clips of the Nagano/Lehnhoff I've watched on youtube. But yeah Levine plays just as safe, contemplative, and minimal as Schenk. Which is why it matches and I think functions perfectly for what it is. And I didn't really appreciate Levine's Wagner until I saw Luisi's Götterdämmerung. He may not have gone wild with it, but he sure as heck believed in it, and I think it's easy to take that for granted.

On Amazon I could trade it for credit and get half off of the Wolfgang Wagner dvd at Bayreuth (also with Jerusalem) or the aforementioned Nagano/Lehnhoff bluray, and I have often considered it. But then I realized, man, I might miss it. The Earthy literal no-nonsense approach is just so sublime to me, but I think the finer points of Schenk's style are things that don't sing on a dvd. Just the way I imagine it.

Does anyone know the availability of Barenboim/Chereau '09 La Scala Parsifal on dvd or bluray?

Schigolch
January 30th, 2012, 08:05 AM
- There is about 10 minutes cut from some of the most sublime music in Act 2. Why it was necessary to cut 10 minutes from a 4 hour opera I'll never know. It occurs right before the Liebesnacht and for people familiar with the opera the whole duet goes on to feel premature.



I don't know about this production, but one fairly common reason to do this kind of cuts is sometimes not to go beyond a defined time, after which you have to pay extra fares to the orchestra and chorus.

Couchie
January 31st, 2012, 03:57 AM
I don't know about this production, but one fairly common reason to do this kind of cuts is sometimes not to go beyond a defined time, after which you have to pay extra fares to the orchestra and chorus.
Cutting Wagner for financial reasons? I'm sure he just did a violent barrel roll in his grave.

Schigolch
January 31st, 2012, 07:52 AM
In this case, it sounds more like a rolling scissors.

jflatter
February 2nd, 2012, 08:57 PM
http://www.robertdeansmith.com/highslide/images/Large/Die%20Meistersinger%20Janowski%20large.JPG

This is a new and very good addition to the Meistersinger collection of recordings. Marek Janowski and the Berlin Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester provide a fast paced and thrilling account of the score. They are ably assisted by Rundfunk choir who are in great voice. This is a live recording and is available in hybrid SACD and therefore it is great quality sound.

The cast on the whole for a modern Wagner recording are very good. Albert Dohmen is very good as Hans Sachs and Robert Dean Smith is a fine Von Stolzing. Edith Haller is a wonderfully fresh Eva. The possible weak link is Dietrich Henschel as Beckmesser who seems to lack the character of the role.

Other than that I would recommend this to anyone who wants to add to their Meistersinger collection.

Aksel
February 3rd, 2012, 10:42 PM
- Brangäne, Kurwenal, Marke: All exceptional.

Really? Bo Skovhus was the one big drawback to an otherwise very wonderful Tristan. But that might just be because I don't like him.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 4th, 2012, 03:03 AM
Really? Bo Skovhus was the one big drawback to an otherwise very wonderful Tristan. But that might just be because I don't like him.

Who does?

Aksel
February 4th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Who does?

True. Very true. But he was actually very good in the Decca recording of Nielsen's Maskarade. I was surprised myself.

Couchie
February 4th, 2012, 09:26 PM
Really? Bo Skovhus was the one big drawback to an otherwise very wonderful Tristan. But that might just be because I don't like him.
His acting was a bit hammy, but who cares, it's opera. I couldn't really fault him for the vocals.

Aksel
February 4th, 2012, 09:53 PM
His acting was a bit hammy, but who cares, it's opera. I couldn't really fault him for the vocals.

Oh, nevermind the acting, it's his singing I don't like.

jflatter
February 22nd, 2012, 08:22 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51He6dywDfL._SS500_.jpg

I acquired this on download (I don't need another Parsifal libretto). This is the third in the Pentatone series of Wagner recordings. It is a pretty good effort but cannot compare to any of the great recordings. However it does well against some of the more modern recordings like Gergiev. Janowski tempi is pacey and this does lose a little bit of the power in Act 1. Frans-Josef Selig has improved as Gurnemanz since his Thielemann recording. Yvgeny Nikitin has also improved as Amfortas compared to the Gergiev recording. His German has improved (I wonder since he is playing the Dutchman at Bayreuth this year).Things do pick up very well in Act 2. Michelle De Young is a very good Kundry and is a powerful temptress.

Christian Elsner is not a name I recall previously. He is a pretty good Parsifal in todays standards but does not meet the standards of a Windgassen.

So overall a pretty good effort if you want a modern Parsifal and is certainly better than Gergiev's effort.

Aksel
March 4th, 2012, 10:16 PM
Today I rewatched the Munich 2009 Lohengrin with Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros. It's the first time I've seen it since I saw the premiere in Munich, and it was every bit as good now as then.
I don't really have anything to say about it, other than that I agree with Nat's review a little further up, and that you should all see it. Now.

emiellucifuge
March 10th, 2012, 10:28 AM
The Tristan recording Ive got is Furtwangler's legendary one from the 50s which I love, but Ive decided to also invest in a more recent one so I can take advantage of the better sound quality and enjoy the full orchestral textures. Any recommendations?

Schigolch
March 10th, 2012, 10:51 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J1BmT3XsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I do like this one.

Soave_Fanciulla
March 10th, 2012, 10:59 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J1BmT3XsL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I do like this one.

Really? Me too, although I always feel as though I shouldn't.

emiellucifuge
March 10th, 2012, 11:24 AM
Thanks for that recommendation. Can you give any comments about why you like it?
Ive been reading a bunch of reviews and overviews of the recordings available and have order the Bohm/Bayreuth just because...
and for my 'modern' recording im wondering about the Pappano, Barenboim and Thielemann sets. Are you familiar with the latter two?

Schigolch
March 10th, 2012, 12:11 PM
Well, maybe because it's so "un-German". :)

Of course, if you are looking for a "straight" Tristan, Baremboim is a better option.... but for that you already own Furtwängler's, right?.

emiellucifuge
March 10th, 2012, 02:17 PM
I suppose so, but im more interested in getting a good, not so strange recording in good stereo sound rather than anythign out of the box

Thanks for your help

Aramis
March 10th, 2012, 02:28 PM
Kleiber (Kollo, Price) and Karajan (Vickers, Darnesch) are also great recordings when it comes to orchestral part (on Kleiber it's even more luminous and clear as a mountain brook) and are great vocally too.

StLukesGuildOhio
March 25th, 2012, 10:25 PM
Mozart, Wagner, and Richard Strauss are my three great operatic passions, and as such they are among the few operatic composers by whom I am interested in multiple recordings. As such, I could kick myself. I stumbled upon Marek Janowski's Ring Cycle on Amazon selling for $15US. The price was so absurd that I delayed... knowing absolutely nothing of Janowski... and I asked for input from those on one of those "other" music sites... wholly forgetting to post the question here (Hangs Head:cry2:). As a consequence of my failing, the price had jumped to around $40 by the time I decides in favor.:scold:

So what are some member's thoughts on the various Wagner Rings available? Surely such would be of the greatest worth for any number of interested parties. The Ring represents one of the largest investments in any single "essential" work of opera... or classical music as a whole.

I currently have the complete Ring cycles by Karajan, Clemens Krauss, and Joseph Keilberth. I've heard the complete cycle by Solti and have his Rheingold. I continually check in on the going rates for both the Solti sets and the Knappertsbusch... which seems consistently the most expensive. I've never before considered Barenboim... he'd never impressed me one way or another with anything I've heard by him... but just today I stumbled upon his 34-disc box set of the complete operas by Wagner for less than $100 and I am quite itching to jump on this one.

StLukesGuildOhio
March 25th, 2012, 10:27 PM
The Tristan recording Ive got is Furtwangler's legendary one from the 50s which I love, but Ive decided to also invest in a more recent one so I can take advantage of the better sound quality and enjoy the full orchestral textures. Any recommendations?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51j2cyuctCL._SS400_.jpg

Schigolch
March 26th, 2012, 09:14 AM
So what are some member's thoughts on the various Wagner Rings available? Surely such would be of the greatest worth for any number of interested parties. The Ring represents one of the largest investments in any single "essential" work of opera... or classical music as a whole.

I currently have the complete Ring cycles by Karajan, Clemens Krauss, and Joseph Keilberth. I've heard the complete cycle by Solti and have his Rheingold. I continually check in on the going rates for both the Solti sets and the Knappertsbusch... which seems consistently the most expensive. I've never before considered Barenboim... he'd never impressed me one way or another with anything I've heard by him... but just today I stumbled upon his 34-disc box set of the complete operas by Wagner for less than $100 and I am quite itching to jump on this one.

I have only a couple of complete Rings (Keilberth and Solti), as well as some of the operas without the rest (mainly Die Walküre), but then again I'm not a big Ring fan. About Barenboim I've heard him on stage some of those Wagner's operas, and I do think it's good value to get them all for less than $100.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
March 26th, 2012, 05:03 PM
Mozart, Wagner, and Richard Strauss are my three great operatic passions, and as such they are among the few operatic composers by whom I am interested in multiple recordings. As such, I could kick myself. I stumbled upon Marek Janowski's Ring Cycle on Amazon selling for $15US. The price was so absurd that I delayed... knowing absolutely nothing of Janowski... and I asked for input from those on one of those "other" music sites... wholly forgetting to post the question here (Hangs Head:cry2:). As a consequence of my failing, the price had jumped to around $40 by the time I decides in favor.:scold:

So what are some member's thoughts on the various Wagner Rings available? Surely such would be of the greatest worth for any number of interested parties. The Ring represents one of the largest investments in any single "essential" work of opera... or classical music as a whole.

I currently have the complete Ring cycles by Karajan, Clemens Krauss, and Joseph Keilberth. I've heard the complete cycle by Solti and have his Rheingold. I continually check in on the going rates for both the Solti sets and the Knappertsbusch... which seems consistently the most expensive. I've never before considered Barenboim... he'd never impressed me one way or another with anything I've heard by him... but just today I stumbled upon his 34-disc box set of the complete operas by Wagner for less than $100 and I am quite itching to jump on this one.

I'm not a big specialist in Ring CDs (I have 3 DVD versions and the Solti CDs) but I'd say that a 34-disc box set of the complete operas by Wagner for less than $100 is something you just *can't* pass on, and certainly Barenboim is not bad.

jflatter
March 26th, 2012, 06:09 PM
Mozart, Wagner, and Richard Strauss are my three great operatic passions, and as such they are among the few operatic composers by whom I am interested in multiple recordings. As such, I could kick myself. I stumbled upon Marek Janowski's Ring Cycle on Amazon selling for $15US. The price was so absurd that I delayed... knowing absolutely nothing of Janowski... and I asked for input from those on one of those "other" music sites... wholly forgetting to post the question here (Hangs Head:cry2:). As a consequence of my failing, the price had jumped to around $40 by the time I decides in favor.:scold:

So what are some member's thoughts on the various Wagner Rings available? Surely such would be of the greatest worth for any number of interested parties. The Ring represents one of the largest investments in any single "essential" work of opera... or classical music as a whole.

I currently have the complete Ring cycles by Karajan, Clemens Krauss, and Joseph Keilberth. I've heard the complete cycle by Solti and have his Rheingold. I continually check in on the going rates for both the Solti sets and the Knappertsbusch... which seems consistently the most expensive. I've never before considered Barenboim... he'd never impressed me one way or another with anything I've heard by him... but just today I stumbled upon his 34-disc box set of the complete operas by Wagner for less than $100 and I am quite itching to jump on this one.

I think that you have two of the very best Rings in Keilberth and Krauss and IMO Keilberth is probably the best. So you have a very good starting point. With Barenboim's set I would say that they are all pretty good but I wouldn't say that any of them are the very best. So it all depends on how much you want to explore.

myaskovsky2002
April 2nd, 2012, 05:14 PM
I hope I won't have any regrets...I've just bought Rienzi...The stage shows Hitler/Mussolinian partisans...I hope this won't be unpleasant...this is the only version on DVD (I bought Blu Ray).

Martin

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 2nd, 2012, 05:27 PM
I hope I won't have any regrets...I've just bought Rienzi...The stage shows Hitler/Mussolinian partisans...I hope this won't be unpleasant...this is the only version on DVD (I bought Blu Ray).

Martin

It is good. But it is severely abridged (barely half of the original).

Couchie
April 3rd, 2012, 04:53 AM
The Tristan recording Ive got is Furtwangler's legendary one from the 50s which I love, but Ive decided to also invest in a more recent one so I can take advantage of the better sound quality and enjoy the full orchestral textures. Any recommendations?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51j2cyuctCL._SS400_.jpg
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.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 3rd, 2012, 06:11 PM
I have it spliced into my Böhm playlist... sorry Nilsson.

Was it by doing this kind of manipulation with gene splicing that you got to be a green monster?

myaskovsky2002
April 4th, 2012, 10:45 PM
As I read, th eoriginal is 6 hours! 6 Hours! 6 HOURS!

Martin, amazed

myaskovsky2002
April 4th, 2012, 10:52 PM
I really think that Tristan und Isolde by Kirsten Flagstad (Fürtwangler) is THE reference!

The very best.

About my Rings, I have 4 on CD and 3 on DVD: Barenboim, Fürtwangler, Krauss, Solti on CD. I'm missing a good one mentioned here...I don't remember his name...But I don't want to change the page...

Levine, Barenboim and Mehta on DVD. The last one on Blu Ray (a bit Star wars) but not so good indeed...

Martin

Martin

Sacramento Johnson
April 30th, 2012, 01:06 AM
Greetings!

Some how over the years, I've managed to come up with 16 different Tristan recordings on CD (live, studio, commercial and bootleg; hmmm, does one still use that term these days?). Don't know exactly how this happened, as I can't say it's my favorite Wagner opera. Nonetheless, I, too, started with the Furtwangler/Suthaus/Flagstad EMI recording. Nowadays, I find myself picking a specific recording to listen to, depending on what section I plan to listen to. The above suggestions for the Domingo studio recording, the Karajan studio, and the Kleiber studio are all good; I have them also. (I really enjoy Kleiber's conducting; just listen to the way he accents, paces and roils up the end of Act 2, for instance!)

I'd like to add another to the pot, once you get your sonically decent studio recordings. See if you can find a good copy of Bohm's 7/7/73 live Orange Festival performance with Vickers and Nilsson. I have it on the Rodophe label which is sonically fairly decent (it seems that night had a windstorm pass though, and I don't mean the singers!). (Forget the DVD rendition; although the image is vastly cleaner than my LD, the soundtrack is horribly muffled in comparison to the LD.)
I particularly enjoy Vicker's live intensity, (like at the end of Act 2). He was such a creature of the stage, and was willing to take much more chances live than studio, in my opinion; sometimes this worked, sometimes not, when hearing it after the fact.

(Oh, and speaking of good Liebestods, for a very good 'old school' performance, try Eileen Farrell's rendition for Charles Munch and the BSO, circa 1957, on RCA/BMG label (but you can get it from Arkiv who sell an authorized reproduction). What a wonderful and thrilling wall of sound she puts out, like a rolling ocean wave!)

Schigolch
April 30th, 2012, 07:29 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKki2TzH01M

Couchie
May 6th, 2012, 07:36 PM
You wanted a traditional Tristan where the ship is a ship, the torch is a torch, everyone is in proper attire, and both Tristan and Isolde die exactly as they're supposed to?

Here it is.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pvzm4eetL.jpg

If you are at all a Gwyneth Jones fan, this is the only commercial release of her singing Isolde, so buying this is an easy decision. Jones did not tackle Isolde until well into her career, when most dramatic sopranos are gracefully moving into supporting roles like Herodias, Jones takes on the most demanding role in the repertoire. If like me you love Jones, with wobble and all, for the thrill of her voice and stage presence, you will be very satisfied. If you're more critical of her, no doubt you'll find a fair amount to be critical of. Even in this advanced age, with ease she amplifies her voice when she wants to and cuts through the orchestra like no soprano performing today can.

Kollo I really enjoyed in this role. He has a strong but never unpleasantly harsh voice unlike most Tristans. I enjoy this opera far louder than I should, and when Tristan starts singing it usually gets a bit ear-splitting. Kollo keeps a nice tone throughout. The rest of the cast I enjoyed as well.

As I said, this is probably the only completely traditional staging on DVD. It's not some dusty Met production though, the staging is all about sharp contrasts; not only is this stage director not trying to shove any crap onto us, but he's often willing to dim his sets so dark you can barely make them out. This is extremely effective in the 2nd act duet. Most decent stagings here will try to make the set in this duet as beautiful as possible to match the music. This is unnecessary. Here the entire stage becomes an utterly black void as the world dissolves around Tristan and Isolde (" I myself am the world"), with only their highlighted features gazing out at us from the abyss. It's pretty effective and unforgettable.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the audio and video. Some reviews I've seen complain about flaws. I really can not complain. Video is as good as I would expect from DVD. Audio quite rich and no buzzing.

Complaint: They observe the 2nd act cut. Pretty shameful for a major German company.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 6th, 2012, 07:41 PM
Nice. Looks like a pretty worthy one. I'm not in the market for another T&I DVD since I love the one I got (with Nina Stemme) but if I were, I'd look into this one.

Couchie
May 6th, 2012, 08:12 PM
For reference, I would rank the T&Is I have as:

1. 1966 Böhm with Nilsson and Windgassen (CD)
2. 1995 Barenboim with Waltraud Meier and Jerusalem (DVD)
3. 1993 Götz Friedrich with Jones and Kollo (DVD)
4. 1972 Karajan with Vickers and Dernesch (CD)
5. 2006 Belohlavek with Stemme and Gambill (DVD)
6. 1952 Furtwängler with Flagstad and Suthaus (CD)
7. 1983 Barenboim with Johanna Meier and Kollo (DVD)


Alma, a good counterpart for your Stemme would be the 1995 Barenboim. It's uncut, it's Bayreuth, it's Meier, it's milestone Regie, and by far the most exhausting Tristan of the bunch above, from the subdued first act to the emotionally apocalyptic third.

Schigolch
May 9th, 2012, 06:08 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515Cww-jMLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

This is interesting for two reasons, the cast and de Sabata's conducting. And the major drawback is the sound's quality, valid only for the historical recordings aficionado. Also, this is a heavily cut version, which is not appealing to some Wagner's die hard fans.

However, Sven Nilsson is a human and passionate King Marke, and Sigurd Björling a quite interesting Kurwenal, while Elsa Cavelti is close to the ideal Brangäne. Max Lorenz is a legendary singer, and though his vocal situation in 1951 was not the best, it's still a privilege listening to his old-fashioned heldentenor singing, with a fascinating third act. Gertrud Grob-Prandl was one of the best Wagnerian sopranos ever, but she was not recorded often (there is another Tristan from the Vienna Staatsoper with Grob-Prandl, under Cluytens, that is also very rewarding). A beautiful, powerful voice, with glorious top notes, with admittely some less shining results in the low and middle registers. About de Sabata,... well, the man was a genius!.


Overall: B, interesting for Tristan and Isolde's (especially Isolde's) lovers.

[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

Sacramento Johnson
May 9th, 2012, 09:41 PM
Greetings!
Is Kollo's interpretation of Tristan any different in the '93 DVD vs the '83 one? I have the '83 on LD and found his approach to the confrontation scene in Act 1 wrong-headed. I felt he played Tristan as a bit of a weakling; like he didn't want to face up to his possible demise. I'm wondering if that was Ponnelle's doing or his. (I much prefer Vickers' strong warrior approach; honor above all, even if it means death.)

Couchie
May 11th, 2012, 12:13 AM
Greetings!
Is Kollo's interpretation of Tristan any different in the '93 DVD vs the '83 one? I have the '83 on LD and found his approach to the confrontation scene in Act 1 wrong-headed. I felt he played Tristan as a bit of a weakling; like he didn't want to face up to his possible demise. I'm wondering if that was Ponnelle's doing or his. (I much prefer Vickers' strong warrior approach; honor above all, even if it means death.)
I can confirm that he is a more regal, mature, and poised Tristan in '93 than '83. Possibly in weaker voice however (it's been a bit since I've seen the '83 and generally have no desire to watch it again).

emiellucifuge
May 13th, 2012, 08:29 PM
Hi guys,

Ive been listening to Parsifal non-stop, as im going to a pretty cool production in June. Its incredible.

Ive been listening to the first Solti recording, but just ordered the Kubelik - does anyone have an opinion on this one?

Further, I also ordered the Bohm ring as I got quite tired of the Solti. Any opinions there?

jflatter
May 14th, 2012, 08:51 PM
Kubelik is the best studio recording of Parsifal IMO. Kurt Moll is much finer voice than the Karajan set and James King is better than Hoffman.

Kubelik is the most underrated Wagnerian as his Meistersinger is in the top rank of all Wagner recordings.

Couchie
May 15th, 2012, 02:25 AM
Further, I also ordered the Bohm ring as I got quite tired of the Solti. Any opinions there?
I don't understand this "get tired of the Solti" concept.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 15th, 2012, 02:46 AM
Well, I can't speak for Emiel, but I guess it might be the simplest thing: if you listen to one version over and over no matter how good it is, you crave some variation. Emiel didn't say the Solti is not good, just, that he got tired of it.

Couchie
May 15th, 2012, 04:07 AM
Emiel didn't say the Solti is not good, just, that he got tired of it.
One who tires of good soon turns to evil.

emiellucifuge
May 15th, 2012, 07:12 AM
Precisely what Alma said, but I also feel like there must be more 'deeper meaning' to the ring, which im just not getting with Solti's bombast

Amfortas
May 15th, 2012, 05:18 PM
One who tires of good soon turns to evil.

Oh good, something to look forward to!

AmericanGesamtkunstwerk
May 15th, 2012, 08:36 PM
I don't understand this "get tired of the Solti" concept.

I actually can appreciate this. being the ultimate in visceral accuracy, it kind of preceded post-zimmer commercial-composition generica (of sensationalist metronomes and a superficial Wagner influence). What I mean is, the aesthetic of this recording would have the maximum appeal to such an audience at the typical parts, but the tender drama doesn't quite fly importantly.

However, even when I stand in a poor place with Solti at Vienna, Solti at Bayreuth is still very fresh!

Lately, I've been doing Furtwangler (RAI) and Levine (Schenk) for my Rings.

emiellucifuge
May 24th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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.

Couchie
May 26th, 2012, 07:30 AM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VPmVmrIfL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

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-Charbonnet-Fujimura-Orchestre/product-reviews/B000F7BODA/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_one?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar

Soave_Fanciulla
May 26th, 2012, 07:52 AM
Let's add Andy Sommer to the list of video directors we would like to lynch for ruining otherwise wonderful DVDs.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 26th, 2012, 01:40 PM
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.:mad5426:

PS - I added my comment to yours, on Amazon.com. Without the Anna Netrebko small nuclear device part, hehehe.

Schigolch
May 26th, 2012, 01:49 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS0y7vGczLg

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 26th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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?

Amfortas
May 26th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 26th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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.

Amfortas
May 26th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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.

Couchie
May 26th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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.

Couchie
May 26th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
May 26th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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?:mad5426:
Oh wait. Since I used the same excuse for Anna Netrebko in Willy Decker's Traviata.:o

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

Oh, I got it!:lightbulb:

It's that we want our Isoldes with stamina!

:biggrin:

brianwalker
June 4th, 2012, 06:39 AM
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.



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.

emiellucifuge
June 4th, 2012, 12:59 PM
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?

Dark_Angel
June 4th, 2012, 02:32 PM
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

Dark_Angel
June 4th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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.

I will also give the 1954 Furtwangler EMI Walkure a strong mention to supplement any collection, this was to be first installment of Furtwangler studio Ring with VPO cut short by conductors death......an essential purchase

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YZvyOcn-L._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000I2IUPM/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LwBp1JWiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000005GOI/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)

Dark_Angel
June 4th, 2012, 05:14 PM
One more important cheap Walkure supplement is the 1962 Decca Leinsdorf, excellent stereo sound with great cast, tempos a touch on the fast side but this would have been a great complete Ring cycle......

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51q7bt4CoPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00006469P/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)

jflatter
June 13th, 2012, 07:37 PM
One more important cheap Walkure supplement is the 1962 Decca Leinsdorf, excellent stereo sound with great cast, tempos a touch on the fast side but this would have been a great complete Ring cycle......

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51q7bt4CoPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B00006469P/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music)

My one problem with this recording is the poor recording of the singers. Sometimes you think that they are in another building. It is though a great effort.

Itullian
July 31st, 2012, 07:18 PM
no Wagner posts in 6 weeks? outrageous!!!!

how about the new Solti box at least.

gosh.

Aramis
July 31st, 2012, 07:29 PM
no Wagner posts in 6 weeks? outrageous!!!!

Wagner never posted on these boards, not only for last 6 weeks. He's in the better world now, let him be.

Amfortas
July 31st, 2012, 07:33 PM
He's in the better world now.

I dunno. Are we sure about that?

Aramis
July 31st, 2012, 07:38 PM
I dunno. Are we sure about that?
h4htththre

Yes, because whatever worlds he is in, it's obviously better than the world we're in since he is there while not being here

Couchie
September 1st, 2012, 03:40 AM
Was watching this and it is indeed very thought provoking with some keen symbolism and interpetive insights, yet some puzzling major ommissions.......namely we never see the holy grail (chalice) in either act 1 or 3, just constantly referred to but never shown???
I had assumed it was a physical chalice that just glows brilliantly with the blinding light of God seen when they crack the stage. In fact, when they tear a cloth off a cup in other productions it's quite unremarkable by comparison.

Dark_Angel
September 1st, 2012, 01:31 PM
I had assumed it was a physical chalice that just glows brilliantly with the blinding light of God seen when they crack the stage. In fact, when they tear a cloth off a cup in other productions it's quite unremarkable by comparison.

I would have liked Lenhoff to have used a physical Holy Grail chalice for act 1 ceremony but for act 3 when the perfect fool Parsifal brings enlightenment to all the physcal object could be replaced by some more abstract symbolic light effect.....this would also follow the theme Wagner was striving for in my mind.

Amfortas
September 1st, 2012, 04:18 PM
Definitely a thought-provoking production, in any case. I'm glad I've got the DVD . . . but impatient to fill that open spot right next to it with the Herheim Parsifal! :)

Dark_Angel
September 1st, 2012, 06:46 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41O%2B5tyOX1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Also watched the 1993 Kupfer Parsifal, a modern production like the Lenhoff above austere with metallic walls rear stage that are moved around and angled with various lighting effects apllied as needed. There are two main visual elements a large bank vault portal and a low angled wedge again moved around and lighted as needed.

Act 1 goes well with no real contraversy, but then we have act 2.......and a real production disaster. The Klingsor is rather generic comic book characture but the real problem comes when Parsifal enters Klingsor's garden....or should we say pinball arcade since the tempting frolicing maidens are replaced with mutiple TV screens randomly tossed about on a dayglo lit undulating area (like a darkened pinball arcade at the mall 1980s) did I make it clear that this was really silly and I hated it?

Mercifully we get beyond this with entrance of Kundry (Waltraud Meier again) attempted seduction scence on the low angle wedge, this is a brilliant sequence and Waltraud is really great here in a see through mesh top (in real life Parsifal would not hold out 2 minutes with a ravishing Kundry like that, he he) this was just mesmerizing stuff see youtube below.

Act 3 featured some interesting lighting effects on moveable metallic walls especially leading up to final Grail ceremony that gave an impressive effect. One problem with these austere metallic setting is tranquil scences with forest and meadows (like good friday act 3) require some imagination on viewers part as the stage has cold feeling to it. In final Grail ceremony Kundry is allowed to live and uniquely here Kundry Parsifal Gurnemanz step forward and curtain closes behind them giving different emphasis to ending



http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dPILi6znJTE

Couchie
September 1st, 2012, 08:40 PM
^ That one had very powerful grail scenes too. And I prefer that Kundry seduction scene (my favourite scene of the opera) to the fairly strange staging in the Ventris/Meier blu-ray.

HarpsichordConcerto
September 8th, 2012, 04:41 AM
Tristan und Isolde

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41UuPPt57qL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

John Treleaven, Deborah Polaski, Erik Halfvarson, Falk Struckmann, Lioba Braun, Wolfgang Rauch, Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Bertrand de Billy, stage direction by Alfred Kirchner, June 2002; 3 DVD set.

I bought this one very cheap, which was the only motivation to do so, given I already have other versions of this opera, at about US$15 including freight. For that money, it was a happy spend. This was a generally adequate production. Deborah Polaski was a solid Isolde, which was the best part of this production. John Releaven as Tristan was not as strong, and easily outclassed by other Tristans, and he probably looked even less fitting for the part wearing a purple trench coat and a wig that resembled a broom brush. The rest faired adequately. The orchestra under de Billy was likewise adequate. As for the generally modern staging, not but extreme avant-garde, it was more or less not too offensive to me, being quite familiar with this opera, it was relatively easy to guess/presume what symbolised what. But overall, the staging was not what I would consider as ideal. Tristan und Isolde is a lengthy opera and the singers must be of the highest calibre to carry the drama through, as any "irks" can make it a painfully long experience. But as I said above, it was very cheap.

HarpsichordConcerto
September 15th, 2012, 10:21 AM
Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51r201x3-ZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Watched this classic Metropolitan Opera production under James Levine again of a DVD that I have not re-watched for a while. Just want to state that I think traditional staging works best when it comes to Wagner. It is one lengthy musical drama, and the staging is just as important to convey the sense of drama that the music and the singers are doing. Love the staging and singing. Levine's pace was leisurely. As the opera was about the guild of Master Singers in 16th century Germany, and Wagner actually appeared to follow the histoic and cultural aspects of the guild, I cannot see how a non-traditional/modern/avant-garde production would serve the drama any better.

Amfortas
September 15th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Watched this classic Metropolitan Opera production under James Levine again of a DVD that I have not re-watched for a while. Just want to state that I think traditional staging works best when it comes to Wagner. It is one lengthy musical drama, and the staging is just as important to convey the sense of drama that the music and the singers are doing. Love the staging and singing. Levine's pace was leisurely. As the opera was about the guild of Master Singers in 16th century Germany, and Wagner actually appeared to follow the histoic and cultural aspects of the guild, I cannot see how a non-traditional/modern/avant-garde production would serve the drama any better.

I agree that, if you are going to argue for a traditional Wagner, Die Meistersinger gives you the strongest case, since it is so tied to a specific historical and cultural setting.

Even here, though, there have been successful productions that departed from a conventional representation of 16th-century Nuremberg. I certainly enjoy a good traditional production (I own the Wolfgang Wagner Bayreuth staging below), but a fresh perspective every now and then can't hurt either.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61BOk-ownVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

HarpsichordConcerto
September 16th, 2012, 12:01 AM
I agree that, if you are going to argue for a traditional Wagner, Die Meistersinger gives you the strongest case, since it is so tied to a specific historical and cultural setting.

Even here, though, there have been successful productions that departed from a conventional representation of 16th-century Nuremberg. I certainly enjoy a good traditional production (I own the Wolfgang Wagner Bayreuth staging below), but a fresh perspective every now and then can't hurt either.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61BOk-ownVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I might buy the Bayreuth version at some stage.

Amfortas
September 16th, 2012, 10:26 AM
I might buy the Bayreuth version at some stage.

It has the distinct visual advantage that Siegfried Jerusalem's Walther, unlike Ben Heppner's in the Met production, doesn't look like he's already been one of the portly, complacent Meisters for years.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
September 30th, 2012, 02:46 AM
Come on, people. This thread is for Richard Wagner's operas. Siegfried Wagner should be in Miscellaneous, and Humperdinck doesn't belong here either. Let's keep things organized, shall we? I'd move the posts if I were doing this kind of stuff... but I've been purposely staying away from moderation. But I can still complain when things get disorganized!:mad5426:

Signed, Alma, with obsessive-compulsive personality traits (not disorder, though)

PS - OK, one of our nice moderators has moved the posts to the right locations.

Couchie
September 30th, 2012, 04:30 AM
I was just thinking the other day about Wagner. Good music.

Herkku
September 30th, 2012, 06:23 AM
Come on, people. This thread is for Richard Wagner's operas. Siegfried Wagner should be in Miscellaneous, and Humperdinck doesn't belong here either. Let's keep things organized, shall we? I'd move the posts if I were doing this kind of stuff... but I've been purposely staying away from moderation. But I can still complain when things get disorganized!:mad5426:

Signed, Alma, with obsessive-compulsive personality traits (not disorder, though)

I admire your tolerance. If people are given any kind of rules to follow but basically free hands to do whatever they like, there will always be some disorder - intended or not. Call it human entropy, if you like. I'm especially thinking of the database that the iTunes fetches the track information of a recording from. It would be nice to have just one "Strauss, Richard", but you bump into "Richard Strauss", "Richard Strauss (1864-1949)" and so on that are completely different items computerwise.

Signed, Herkku, with some anal-retentive traits (borderline?) :love2:

Dark_Angel
October 3rd, 2012, 09:54 PM
Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen on blu-ray
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LHKB%2B5bHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

OK, folks. I saw the Valencia Ring. I'm mad. Really mad.

For my review, I'll write a fictional piece: it's what I imagine is likely to have happened in real life, under the form of a rant by Video Creator Franc Aleu talking to Stage Director Carlus Padrissa. In Catalan, of course. But for the benefit of our non-Catalan speaking friends (me included) I'll provide the translation of the rant into English.

------

"Carlus, how could this fiasco have happened? Didn't you talk about it with Helga?? [Almaviva's note: Helga Schmidt, Intendant of the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Spain] Wasn't she supposed to hire some good people to work with us? I mean, after all the spectacular work that you and I have done, shouldn't we have expected to deserve some good singers? A decent conductor??? I know, I know, our Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana is good for nothing, but maybe someone competent - unlike that moron Zubin Mehta - could have extracted something resembling Wagnerian sounds from those musicians. Or at least, could have impacted some soul on the performance, instead of that anemic disaster.

And look, I know that music is that idiot Mehta's department, but as a stage director, couldn't you have talked to him about the casting? One knows that one is in trouble when Fricka is more attractive than Brünnhilde. It's supposed to be the other way around, Carlus!!! See, that Brünnhilde is supposed to ride a flying horse, but how would the horse lift from the ground 2 tones of fat tissue? The time of the fat lady with the breast plate is waaaay past, Carlus. A good Brünnhilde should be able to sing unlike that fat cow, and should try and look the part a little bit.

And what in the hell were you thinking when you let Chu [Almaviva's note: Chu Uroz, Costume Designer] completely ruin the outstanding visuals you and I put together, with those ridiculous-looking costumes for the gods, made of plastic stripes? And give me some attractive Rhinemaidens, for Pete's sake! Roland [Almaviva's note - Roland Olbeter, Stage Designer] comes up with that fabulous idea of the three glass tanks for the Rhinemaidens; I provide the fabulous watery video background, and we get those plain looking women who couldn't sing if their lives depended on it, to be inside the tanks??? Then, the gorgeous idea of the golden baby in my videos symbolizing all the potential the Rhinegold gets completely wasted in a scene with an Alberich who doesn't look scary or despicable, and Rhinemaidens who can't convey any of their characteristics - seductiveness, playfulness, sillyness...

This whole thing was miscast from beginning to end! I get the spectacular special effects of Wotan's and Loge's journey underground with the brilliant idea of Earth's image rolling in the background; I get the even more brilliant image of Nothung's tree made of the letters of Sigmund's name; you get the striking effect of real fire from flamethrowers around Brünnhilde in the final scene of Die Walküre, and also the industrial imagery in the Siegfried scene when the sword is being repaired followed by the beautiful crystals floating on the air once the sword is ready, not to forget the very effective rendition of Fafner as a dragon... and it all keeps being ruined over and over by that fat cow Brünnhilde and that stupid conductor?

Look, you and I put together that human pyramid at the end of Rheingold... that suspended ball of naked bodies in the Ride of the Valkyries scene... the clever effect achieved with empty water bottles when Siegfried is traveling by boat on the Rhine... and to top it all, we do the MOST SPECTACULAR final scene of Götterdämmerung ever staged in the history of the Ring - that jaw dropping wall of fire that opens up to those bodies suspended on the air, while this time really attractive Rhinemaidens (since these didn't need to sing, we were able to get some really beautiful models this time) celebrate their recovery of the Ring... to have it all spoiled by an incompetent conductor, a mediocre orchestra, a horrible costume designer, and singers who not only don't look their parts but also can't sing?

WHAT A WASTED OPPORTUNITY! My, oh my, why on Earth two extremely competent guys like you and me, Carlus, couldn't have associated ourselves with some good musicians? We could have had the best Ring ever. Instead, we got a nice visual show, coupled with a musical and acting disaster!

----

End of rant.

Edit, months later: interesting, I saw it again (Rheingold only) and this time didn't find the orchestra to be bad. And actually found the Rheinmadens better as well. Anyways, Rheingold in this version is better than the other three thanks to no fat Brünnhilde.


The main short coming of Valencia Ring is the ridiculous Flash Gordon/spaceman costumes for the gods (Chu Uroz designer) especially Brunnhilde and the absurd Loge look, I also did not like the constant use of mechanical lifts for the gods restricting thier personal interactions....everything worked much better when they dismounted to stage level and could interact like real people. Singers range from average to marginal compared to competing sets, so a mixed bag that should have been better.

Worth owning for me because of spectacular visual production of many scences, very impressive not only visually dazzling but also clever in symbolically supporting action on stage, orchestral and music by Mehta were fine for me and not a negative.

I do think the recent MET Ring is better overall choice if you only can get one modern blu ray version.

HarpsichordConcerto
October 10th, 2012, 08:43 AM
Does anybody have any opinion about these? Why am I asking? It is one deep sale. I would not have considered otherwise. Live recording from The Deutsches Nationaltheater, Weimar 2008. The staging did look dumb to me when I previewed the clips. Not too impressed.

1041


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbQ_UUjFGuA


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_2FTYJ2QXs


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyQcI0I-Eh4&feature=relmfu


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0jB4Qx18DQ&feature=relmfu

brianwalker
October 10th, 2012, 11:09 PM
1045

This is the the singular most indulgent Wagner conducting I've heard on disc. Between Knappertsbusch and Bernstein the latter is the tortoise, not the hare (Knappertsbusch's 1950 Tristan is 35 minutes faster in fact). Bernstein's indulgent sluggishness is compounded by his flexible tempi. Unlike Celibidache he is not uniformly slow. The upshot is that the 4 hr 26 min time is a deceptively fast estimation of the tempi you'll hear during the slowest stretches of the work. Hofmann and Behrens are a serviceable pair at best, even by modern standards. But don't take my word for it! Here's an Amazon review from someone who loves this recording. (http://www.amazon.com/review/R2M63UPE9E4LJZ/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B000025MLF&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=)


The Bernstein set is the best conducted of the five in my opinion. There is a lot of unfair criticism of the "slowness" of the tempos. This is really unfounded as some parts of are actually played much faster than other versions on disc.

The worst part of it all is that this was a live concert early digital recording, which means that many of the prized virtues of an indulgent conducting style like Bernstein's is lost - the sound is boxy, wooden, not beautiful. Among stereo recordings of Tristan - Solti, Bohm, Karajan (the remastered), Kleiber, Barenboim, Pappano, Thielemann - Bernstein's recording has the worst sound, though only marginally. Top flight sound can save a performance and transform the mundane into the sublime, for example, Chailly's Mahler.

But this isn't surprising at all if you're acquainted with the late, 80s Bernstein. The Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, and Mahler recordings on DG are all exemplary showcases of his mannerisms. If you love the Adagio from his Amsterdam Mahler's 9th and his last Pathetique, you might just love this recording. I won't go into detail because I feel no need to break a butterfly upon a wheel. (http://thinkclassical.blogspot.com/2012/01/siegfried-exercice-in-what-not-to-do.html)

Dark_Angel
November 11th, 2012, 04:36 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51i0XdrCsbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
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David McVicar turns his attention to Wagner with this recent Glyndebourne Meistersinger, many positives and well worth buying but not a reference version for me, some comments why follows.

-Time frame for production has been moved to mid 1800s (originally 1600s) to match time when Wagner was actually composing opera

-The small intimate stage at Glyndebourne is more like a courtyard setting (compared to town square) and in final prize song very crowded on stage......some scences work well but large settings seem a bit cramped and don't have the same impact compared to larger MET prize song scence for instance

-An English flavor to production, sometimes felt like Dicken's London as opposed to Wagner's German town square, just an observation

-Finley is a very young looking Hans Sachs, vocally fine but lighter tone than usual compared to Morris, Weikl, fine acting overall.
David had very strong performance by Topi Lehtipuu, elevated the character perhaps best David I have seen.....
Walther by Jentzsch was well acted but vocally short of other strong competing productions using Heppner, Jerusalem......bar is set very high here
Remaining cast was OK but roles like Pogner and Beckmesser better served in competing productions........

-Huge plus for blu ray picture and sound quality, McVicar has very deep production with keen attention to detail, visually attractive you could watch this many times and discover little treasures of minor character scences away from main singer, I love McVicar's work in general......

If only we had cast golden voice of Jonas Kaufmann as Walther........:drink2:

Soave_Fanciulla
November 11th, 2012, 05:15 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51i0XdrCsbL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61BOk-ownVL._SL500_AA300_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51r201x3-ZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

David McVicar turns his attention to Wagner with this recent Glyndebourne Meistersinger, many positives and well worth buying but not a reference version for me, some comments why follows.

-Time frame for production has been moved to mid 1800s (originally 1600s) to match time when Wagner was actually composing opera

-The small intimate stage at Glyndebourne is more like a courtyard setting (compared to town square) and in final prize song very crowded on stage......some scences work well but some seem a bit cramped compared to larger MET prize song scence for instance

-An English flavor to production, sometimes felt like Dicken's London as opposed to Wagner's German town square, just an observation

-Finley is a very young looking Hans Sachs, vocally fine but lighter tone than usual compared to Morris, Weikl, fine acting overall.
David had strong performance by Topi Lehtipuu, elevated the character perhaps best David I have seen.....
Walther by Jentzsch was well acted but vocally short of other strong competing productions using Heppner, Jerusalem
Remaining cast was OK but roles like Pogner and Beckmesser better served in competing productions........

-Huge plus for blu ray picture and sound quality, McVicar has very deep production with keen attention to detail, visually attractive you could watch this many times and discover little treasures of minor character scences away from main singer, I love McVicar's work in general......

If only we had cast golden voice of Jonas Kaufmann as Walther........:drink2:

This is my new reference version - except as you say for Walther's voice. Not quite up to the demands of the role. I love it and don't even notice the updating! And I think the Sachs and and the Beckmesser are brilliant - the latter broke my heart at the end, which makes a change for this character.

Dark_Angel
November 11th, 2012, 05:32 PM
This is my new reference version - except as you say for Walther's voice. Not quite up to the demands of the role. I love it and don't even notice the updating! And I think the Sachs and and the Beckmesser are brilliant - the latter broke my heart at the end, which makes a change for this character.

My favorite Beckmesser is Herman Prey from the older Horst Stein Meistersinger.....
My favorite Pogner is Rene Pape from MET version

I watched the "extra" section and McVicar never fully explained the rationale for using 1800s time frame, discussed the ironic nature of Wagner's ideal Nuremberg where the artist was held in highest esteem/honor in society...no doubt a jab at critics of his work and perceived lack of respect afforded artists in his time

Also notice how silly Wagner makes the panel of experts look when first judging or "marking up score" for Walther's fist song before them, the rigid rules fixed in stone conceptions of what a good song "should be" again a change to skewer current critics of Wagner..... I wonder if the wise voice of reason and open mind set of Hans Sachs represents a real person in Wagners life who helped him get his work performed and pushed back against the critics etc.........

Quick research check.............Hans Sachs was a real historical person who was both a shoemaker and a leading figure of Nuremberg Meistersinger school, also connections to Luther religious reformation movement

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/19/N%C3%BCrnberg_Hans-Sachs-Denkmal.jpg/200px-N%C3%BCrnberg_Hans-Sachs-Denkmal.jpg (http://operalively.com/wiki/File:N%C3%BCrnberg_Hans-Sachs-Denkmal.jpg)

brianwalker
November 12th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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This is interesting for two reasons, the cast and de Sabata's conducting. And the major drawback is the sound's quality, valid only for the historical recordings aficionado. Also, this is a heavily cut version, which is not appealing to some Wagner's die hard fans.

However, Sven Nilsson is a human and passionate King Marke, and Sigurd Björling a quite interesting Kurwenal, while Elsa Cavelti is close to the ideal Brangäne. Max Lorenz is a legendary singer, and though his vocal situation in 1951 was not the best, it's still a privilege listening to his old-fashioned heldentenor singing, with a fascinating third act. Gertrud Grob-Prandl was one of the best Wagnerian sopranos ever, but she was not recorded often (there is another Tristan from the Vienna Staatsoper with Grob-Prandl, under Cluytens, that is also very rewarding). A beautiful, powerful voice, with glorious top notes, with admittely some less shining results in the low and middle registers. About de Sabata,... well, the man was a genius!.


Overall: B, interesting for Tristan and Isolde's (especially Isolde's) lovers.

[Link to video deleted by Admin - video no longer available]

It's rather strange that Grob-Prandl is so sparsely captured on record considering that she is merely one year younger than Birgit Nilsson.

HarpsichordConcerto
December 6th, 2012, 08:30 AM
1364

Plácido Domingo (Lohengrin), Robert Lloyd (König Heinrich), Cheryl Studer (Elsa), Hartmut Welker (Friedrich von Telramund), Dunja Vejzovic (Ortrud), Georg Tichy (Der Heerrufer des Königs), Chorus & Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Claudio Abbado (1990).

Watching this again, I though I shall post a quick blurb on it, considering nobody has commented on it here yet.
A very fine production overall. OK, we all know Domingo isn't the most authentic German sounding voice but his strong voice suits this role to some extent and it might take you some getting used to before warming up. He obviously sounds much more at home singing Italian, but "language-casting" aside, his voice does have a heroic flair to it here. The other voices are worth noting: Robert Lloyd sounding regal with authority, and Cheryl Studer a little on the soft side playing the good one. Orchestral direction under Claudio Abbabdo is pretty much faultless. That leaves the staging. Traditional and often a little dark with chorus numbers appearing a little wooden with minimal movement. But I'm not complaining considering the couple of recent releases of Lohengrin with modern and weird staging. So overall, I think this is a very genuine Wagner musical drama.

Aramis
December 6th, 2012, 10:50 AM
Lohengrin with modern and weird staging

This one is weird to: Lohengrin wears a cloak of Teutonic Knights Order, founded in 1190 (centuries after times of Heinrich der Vogler) and far from being club for maiden-saving knights.

Dark_Angel
December 6th, 2012, 01:15 PM
1364

Plácido Domingo (Lohengrin), Robert Lloyd (König Heinrich), Cheryl Studer (Elsa), Hartmut Welker (Friedrich von Telramund), Dunja Vejzovic (Ortrud), Georg Tichy (Der Heerrufer des Königs), Chorus & Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Claudio Abbado (1990).

Watching this again, I though I shall post a quick blurb on it, considering nobody has commented on it here yet.
A very fine production overall. OK, we all know Domingo isn't the most authentic German sounding voice but his strong voice suits this role to some extent and it might take you some getting used to before warming up. He obviously sounds much more at home singing Italian, but "language-casting" aside, his voice does have a heroic flair to it here. The other voices are worth noting: Robert Lloyd sounding regal with authority, and Cheryl Studer a little on the soft side playing the good one. Orchestral direction under Claudio Abbabdo is pretty much faultless. That leaves the staging. Traditional and often a little dark with chorus numbers appearing a little wooden with minimal movement. But I'm not complaining considering the couple of recent releases of Lohengrin with modern and weird staging. So overall, I think this is a very genuine Wagner musical drama.

There is a new 2012 release of that version shown below on Arthaus label, the format is still 4:3 so not ideal widescreen viewing like a more modern production.

I really think you would like the newer blu ray version shown below with KF Vogt as Lohengrin and Waltraud Meier as Ortrud, tasteful modern Lenhoff production with striking visuals and no reggie excess, excellent modern picture and sound quality......


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Ee9ldnMaL._SL500_AA300_.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51p0EbfIvGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Amfortas
December 6th, 2012, 07:39 PM
I really think you would like the newer blu ray version shown below with KF Vogt as Lohengrin and Waltraud Meier as Ortrud, tasteful modern Lenhoff production with striking visuals and no reggie excess, excellent modern picture and sound quality......

I agree. Actually, I was going to make the same recommendation myself, but HC knows me to be a wild-eyed Regie maniac, so it would have been counterproductive. Coming from you, though, the opinion carries some weight.

By the way, I also own the Domingo/Studer/Abbado Lohengrin, and see its strengths and weaknesses much as HC does.

Soave_Fanciulla
December 6th, 2012, 08:18 PM
Yes that Lenhoff Lohengrin is great.

But don't listen to me. I'm waiting for the rat one to arrive in the post (seen it on YouTube and couldn't get it out of my mind, need to see it again with subtitles). I guess that make me eligible to join the Wild-Eyed Regie Maniac Association (WERMA).

Aksel
December 6th, 2012, 08:21 PM
Yes that Lenhoff Lohengrin is great.

But don't listen to me. I'm waiting for the rat one to arrive in the post (seen it on YouTube and couldn't get it out of my mind, need to see it again with subtitles). I guess that make me eligible to join the Wild-Eyed Regie Maniac Association (WERMA).

WERMA needs to become a thing.

Jephtha
December 6th, 2012, 08:24 PM
...Gertrud Grob-Prandl was one of the best Wagnerian sopranos ever...

I couldn't agree more! A magnificent voice and excellent technique, singing in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner that reminds me of Birgit Nilsson on a good night, though I actually prefer Grob-Prandl to Nilsson. Very few recordings, though she is the Brunnhilde in the third and fourth 'evenings' of the Moralt Ring, and does beautifully. There is also an old studio Idomeneo in which she turns in a vivid, powerful performance of Elettra before finally coming to grief in the crazed coloratura laughter that closes 'D'Oreste, d'Ajace'. However, both Nilsson and Behrens slipped up here as well, so she is in good company! Also, check out her interview in Rasponi's book The Last Prima Donnas.

HarpsichordConcerto
December 6th, 2012, 08:26 PM
[/IMG]http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51p0EbfIvGL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Yes, I have this version on Blu-ray sitting as part of my shamefully large unwatched pile. :disgust:

Aramis
December 6th, 2012, 08:55 PM
For another traditional and fine Lohengrin though, try Warner Herzog production with the same Cheryl Studer as Elsa and Paul Frey in title role (DG is the label).

Amfortas
December 6th, 2012, 09:01 PM
For another traditional and fine Lohengrin though, try Warner Herzog production with the same Cheryl Studer as Elsa and Paul Frey in title role (DG is the label).

An attractive, surprisingly traditional production (given Herzog's film work), with an evocative wintry feel and cool (if a little outdated now) laser light-show effects for the swan knight's entrance. But I recall being a little put off by Frey's stolid acting and somewhat harsh singing.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Djc6FzfRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Dark_Angel
December 6th, 2012, 09:19 PM
Yes that Lenhoff Lohengrin is great.

But don't listen to me. I'm waiting for the rat one to arrive in the post (seen it on YouTube and couldn't get it out of my mind, need to see it again with subtitles). I guess that make me eligible to join the Wild-Eyed Regie Maniac Association (WERMA).

Yeah you should get a free WERMA t-shirt when you buy the ultra reggie "rat pack" Lohengrin :laugh4:


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41xU52daoiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Jephtha
December 7th, 2012, 12:56 AM
An attractive, surprisingly traditional production (given Herzog's film work), with an evocative wintry feel and cool (if a little outdated now) laser light-show effects for the swan knight's entrance. But I recall being a little put off by Frey's stolid acting and somewhat harsh singing.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Djc6FzfRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I saw Frey as Lohengrin in San Francisco several years ago, and he lost his voice in Act I. He mimed the rest of the role while Ben Heppner(then all but unknown) sang from a music desk at the side of the stage. Frey looked marvelous, but Heppner sang like a god.

Dark_Angel
December 16th, 2012, 02:02 PM
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I have been "toying" with the idea of replacing the 1997 remastered Solti Ring (picture 2) with the new 2012 remastered deluxe set. Every professional review including latest Stereophile Mag write up claims it is noticeable improvement in sound quality, even surpassing the recent ultra expensive limited Japanese SACD set.

Besides the extra non ring items you also get the complete Ring in better than CD sound quality (lossless 24 bit vs 16 bit CD) on a single blu ray disc, getting hard to resist with current Amazon USA price of $220. (Presto UK $328)

It is widely rumored that eventually a standard CD boxset will be released with 2012 remasters for lower price, this is perhaps more what I would be looking for selling the 1997 set used to offset new purchase.....

Anyone have the deluxe set???

Jephtha
December 17th, 2012, 05:55 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KsitMf5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B008J1QFLU/ref=dp_image_0?ie=UTF8&n=5174&s=music) http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/ea/7f/f7a3810ae7a07a60b3a43210.L._AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B0000042H4/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0&isremote=0)

I have been "toying" with the idea of replacing the 1997 remastered Solti Ring (picture 2) with the new 2012 remastered deluxe set. Every professional review including latest Stereophile Mag write up claims it is noticeable improvement in sound quality, even surpassing the recent ultra expensive limited Japanese SACD set.

Besides the extra non ring items you also get the complete Ring in better than CD sound quality (lossless 24 bit vs 16 bit CD) on a single blu ray disc, getting hard to resist with current Amazon USA price of $220. (Presto UK $328)

It is widely rumored that eventually a standard CD boxset will be released with 2012 remasters for lower price, this is perhaps more what I would be looking for selling the 1997 set used to offset new purchase.....

Anyone have the deluxe set???

DA, I don't have the deluxe set, but I just got the box of the complete Wagner operas led by Solti that was released this year for the conductor's centenary. I haven't had time to listen to it and didn't notice if it was a 2012 remastering. There are other Solti boxes in this brand-new series containing his recordings of the operas of Mozart, Verdi and Strauss; the Verdi is the only one I don't have yet. I will check the Wagner when I get home tonight and let you know whether it is a new remastering. I paid $145.98 US for it and it does contain the ten mature Wagner operas; the Meistersinger is the 1976 studio version with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Dark_Angel
December 18th, 2012, 01:16 AM
DA, I don't have the deluxe set, but I just got the box of the complete Wagner operas led by Solti that was released this year for the conductor's centenary. I haven't had time to listen to it and didn't notice if it was a 2012 remastering. There are other Solti boxes in this brand-new series containing his recordings of the operas of Mozart, Verdi and Strauss; the Verdi is the only one I don't have yet. I will check the Wagner when I get home tonight and let you know whether it is a new remastering. I paid $145.98 US for it and it does contain the ten mature Wagner operas; the Meistersinger is the 1976 studio version with the Vienna Philharmonic.

I am 99% sure the "complete" Solti Wagner boxset will use the older 1997 remaster Ring......they will wait to sell more of the expensive deluxe Ring sets before releasing a lower priced 2012 remaster Ring set, must maximize profits right? :sarcastic:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516AMifnFxL._AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B008H29YVY/ref=dp_otherviews_z_1?ie=UTF8&img=1&s=music)
We salute your wise purchase, great deal if you don't already have these Solti performances

Jephtha
December 19th, 2012, 06:04 PM
I am 99% sure the "complete" Solti Wagner boxset will use the older 1997 remaster Ring......they will wait to sell more of the expensive deluxe Ring sets before releasing a lower priced 2012 remaster Ring set, must maximize profits right? :sarcastic:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516AMifnFxL._AA300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B008H29YVY/ref=dp_otherviews_z_1?ie=UTF8&img=1&s=music)
We salute your wise purchase, great deal if you don't already have these Solti performances

I checked the set and there is not a word about the remastering date, but your logic is sound: it is likely the 1997 one. It sounds quite good to my aging ear, and you can't beat the price. But I can certainly understand wanting an improved set.

The nice thing about the pictured set of the ten 'canonical' Wagner operas led by Solti is that the booklet contains many 'backstage' photographs I had not seen before, not even in LP incarnations. There is one from the Tannhauser sessions that shows Helga Dernesch gazing at Werner Hollweg in something like adoration. Perhaps she had a thing for tenors; after all, she has been married to Werner Krenn for ages.

Yashin
December 26th, 2012, 08:36 AM
1419

Has anyone else purchased this production of Die Meistersinger from the Nurnberg State Opera company?

It is the first time the opera has been done by an Israeli director.

Here are some comments from one website:

"So this Nuremberg production is staged by David Mouchtar-Samorai, who basically does what I believe was a reasonable thing to do. His Beckmesser is obviously Jewish: he shows up with a yellow flower on his lapel and wears an old-fashioned kippah; later in the show he wears a yellow scarf... Why making it implicit or tacit?!
The stage is organized as to make the action look intemporal (the sets are theatric, "modern") and only in the 3rd act it becomes clear that the action takes place today. The final celebration is organized on a stadium, among the local soccer team (FCN) fans and with dozens of German flags waving all over the stage. In the end of the final Sachs' speech the European flags actually dominate the stage - designing the future.
David's implicit message is "Move on!" and let the art speak the past but pointed toward future.

Apart from that idea, I am not really crazy about the way the whole action was organized, but that must be a question of personal taste, and I'll let you decide how much you actually like it.
In any case the show is certainly better than the tired Glyndebourne production presented last summer (and that in spite of the phenomenal Johannes Martin Kränzle.) The singers in this show are not the international stars but they are really good, especially Albert Pesendorfer."

Here is a clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MtS1fIksEk

I would appreciate anyones opinion on this opera- its one i struggle with and am just getting to know.

Aksel
December 26th, 2012, 11:39 AM
I love Meistersinger, except that one part of Sach's Act 3 monologue. I've not seen this production, although the Glyndebourne production is lovely.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
December 26th, 2012, 11:53 AM
Welcome to Opera Lively, Yashin!
I love Die Meistersinger, and Hans Sachs is one of the greatest opera characters. Except for the racist rant at the end, the opera is beautiful and it is interesting to see Wagner's attempt at comedy (not that funny, hehe). Walther's song is sublime. But I haven't seen this specific DVD.

Yashin
December 26th, 2012, 03:02 PM
Welcome to Opera Lively, Yashin!
I love Die Meistersinger, and Hans Sachs is one of the greatest opera characters. Except for the racist rant at the end, the opera is beautiful and it is interesting to see Wagner's attempt at comedy (not that funny, hehe). Walther's song is sublime. But I haven't seen this specific DVD.

Thanks for the Welcome Almaviva! I am really not sure what to make of this version. The Walter...Michael Putsch looks a little old fashioned for my tastes and a bit out of place with those long side-burns! (see video clip).

I am not a big fan of political messages in opera so will give it a miss.

I will go back to my Barenboim DVD with Peter Sieffert who sings a sublime Prize song.

As a whole...am i missing something with this opera? Is it a comedy? Is it serious? I cannot fathom it...

Jephtha
December 26th, 2012, 05:10 PM
As a whole...am i missing something with this opera? Is it a comedy? Is it serious? I cannot fathom it...

Welcome Yashin!

Meistersinger is something of a mixed bag. I think it was Wagner's attempt at humanistic high comedy, a la Le Nozze di Figaro, and as such it is a rather uneasy mix of sentiment and humor. I have always loved the work, and in my opinion it is most successful where Wagner's hand was lightest, such as the dialogue between Sachs and Eva in Act II, or the scenes with David and the apprentices. When the composer is trying to prove a point, or harangues the audience(as in the final speech of Sachs, mentioned by others here), the result is less attractive. There is also an element of Wagner 'getting his own back': in the original draft of the libretto, Beckmesser was named Hans Lich, an unsubtle dig at the music critic Eduard Hanslick. Still, with all its faults, it is a glorious work, capable of moving one's deepest emotions. Andrew Porter once said that you know you have been at a successful performance of Meistersinger if you have wept six times, four of them being in the third act! :D

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
December 26th, 2012, 05:16 PM
Thanks for the Welcome Almaviva! I am really not sure what to make of this version. The Walter...Michael Putsch looks a little old fashioned for my tastes and a bit out of place with those long side-burns! (see video clip).

I am not a big fan of political messages in opera so will give it a miss.

I will go back to my Barenboim DVD with Peter Sieffert who sings a sublime Prize song.

As a whole...am i missing something with this opera? Is it a comedy? Is it serious? I cannot fathom it...

Well, it's supposed to be a comedy, but one by a man, Richard Wagner, who was definitely not funny, so, like I said, the piece is not very funny. It has a couple of funny bits. Actually I think his earlier opera Das Liebesverbot (The Ban on Love) is much funnier and lighter. But musically speaking, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a great opera, in my opinion. The best parts are the romantic and altruistic parts. Well, the little racist rant is not that bad. It is just a small bit in a very long opera, basically with Sachs saying that German culture can't be soiled by other inferior cultures; this only lasts for a few seconds in a 4-hour opera, so proportionally, it's not horrible. Otherwise there aren't any other political messages so I don't think this should stop you from exploring it.

Regarding versions, I'm not a good person to advise you on this because I only have two versions of this opera. One of them is an old non-commercial DVD recorded directly from a British TV broadcast of the opera, which is actually very good, with great singing and acting (traditional staging, Hermann Prey was part of the cast) but very bad image and sound. The other one, is this one:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JA%2BqmigxL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

This is out of Hamburg and made for TV as well. I actually quite like it too. The sound is mono. I don't think most people would consider this one to be the choice Meistersinger on DVD, but like I said, I like it, maybe out of not knowing others. But this version does have a faithful following, and some people agree with me that it is actually quite good. There are, of course, other versions that are much more popular. One of our members, Couchie, is quite the Wagner specialist and might be able to better direct you to a proper version of the work.

MAuer
December 26th, 2012, 06:48 PM
I can recommend this version of Die Meistersinger from the Bayreuth Festival in the early 1980s. It's a traditional production with a strong cast, especially Bernd Weikl as Sachs and Prey as Beckmesser.

http://i.prs.to/t_200/dg0734160.jpg

Jephtha
December 26th, 2012, 07:18 PM
I can recommend this version of Die Meistersinger from the Bayreuth Festival in the early 1980s. It's a traditional production..

Except for the non-traditional, and beautifully humane, touch of having Beckmesser become so enchanted by Walther's singing of the Prize Song that he is reconciled to the community and welcomed back into the fold. This aspect of reconciliation is enough for me to adore this production. It is also non-traditional in casting a singer with a beautiful voice, Hermann Prey, in the role of Beckmesser. Like Solti's 1975 audio recording, which cast Bernd Weikl in the role, this takes account of the fact that the town clerk is, after all, a Mastersinger, and though his serenade to Eva in Act II and his contest song in Act III are (deliberately) badly scanned and archaic, they should certainly be sung beautifully; a requirement that Prey fulfills admirably.

Yashin
December 27th, 2012, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the information about this. For a few years i have been slowly making my way through Wagner - starting with Tannhauser, Lohengrin and then the Ring Cycle and then Parsifal and the Flying Dutchman. I must admit the last two are still raw to me. So i am left with Meistersinger to have a good look at.


Actually Almaviva, the photo of the DVD cover you posted reminded me i have that version too but forgot as i have shelved it and never watched it. I thought it might be good since i liked Richard Cassilly in the old Met production of Tannhauser that was released on DVD (i know he is not everyones ideal). I will dig it out and have another look. I am waiting to get my hands on the much lauded Glyndebourne DVD.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
December 27th, 2012, 02:56 AM
Thanks for the information about this. For a few years i have been slowly making my way through Wagner - starting with Tannhauser, Lohengrin and then the Ring Cycle and then Parsifal and the Flying Dutchman. I must admit the last two are still raw to me. So i am left with Meistersinger to have a good look at.

Actually Almaviva, the photo of the DVD cover you posted reminded me i have that version too but forgot as i have shelved it and never watched it. I thought it might be good since i liked Richard Cassilly in the old Met production of Tannhauser that was released on DVD (i know he is not everyones ideal). I will dig it out and have another look. I am waiting to get my hands on the much lauded Glyndebourne DVD.

Hey, you have it, good for you! It's quite nice, I think. Give it a watch!
Wagner is my favorite opera composer. I think all 13 operas by him are great, including the obscure ones, Die Feen, and Das Liebesverbot (and to a lesser degree of obscurity, Rienzi). Well, then, the other ten are awe-inspiring masterpieces.

I don't write a lot about Wagner here, so, people who are used to my posts wouldn't get from them that Wagner is my favorite opera composer. It's largely because Wagner somehow crushes me. I am often speechless when I listen to or watch one of his operas, and not inclined to say much about it. It's common occurrence for me to pop a Wagner DVD into the player, watch it, and then turn the TV off, and stay there for one hour, silent, all lights off, just with my jaw dropped. Wagner fragments on CD or radio irritate me. I don't seek them or listen to them. I often change station when I'm listening to Met Opera Radio in my car, and a Wagner fragment comes up. I want the full experience, the full immersion of a complete Wagner opera. These are for me special moments, I treat myself to them here and there, I save them for some need for sublime art, when I want 4-5 hours of complete bliss. Then I tend to be introspective, and I don't want to make comments or say anything.

People who read my posts here will know that I love Rossini and Verdi and Berlioz and Mozart and Handel. But I very rarely speak about my favorite, Wagner. The oceanic feeling, the waves of overwhelming sound, don't call for words to describe them.

PS - While I also love the under-rated Lohengrin and Tannhäuser, and do find like you Der Fliegende Holländer and Parsifal slightly less rewarding (the latter, more due to the libretto than to the outstanding music), I'm surprised that you haven't mentioned the second best of them all (after the Ring), Tristan und Isolde. Haven't you explored it yet? It's out of this world!

Yashin
December 27th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Yes, sorry i forgot to mention Tristan und Isolde. I have never seen it live and have only 1 cd recording (Barenboim/Meier/Jerusalem) and that is pretty fine.

On DVD i have 4

Glyndebourne DVD with Nina Stemme - for some reason i never really got into this. Whilst i like Nina Stemme i don't find her so exciting and her Tristan -Robert Gambill is a let down for me.

The Oliver Pydirected one (think from Zurich) which people seem to hate (with Jean Michelle Charbonnet and a wooly sounding Clifton Forbis as Tristan) - i am a big fan of Oliver Py and i like how the Belair classique label usually includes a long discussion with the director about the concept and helpful notes. I really like this despite the jerky camera and strange angles. I really got the sense of being on a ship in act 1.

The other 2 are the Meier/Frederik West DVD and the much hated DVD from Liceu with Bertrand di Billy conducting Deborah Polaski and John Treleaven. Now i like Deborah in Jenufa and in the Liceu Ring cycle on DVD. Here too i think she has the right voice for Isolde. Its a shame about the director/production - really bad and poor Treleaven is not the best actor!! I just love the ending of this version. Isolde just walks to the window and stares out into the night sky-is beautiful.

Jephtha
December 27th, 2012, 04:32 PM
I don't write a lot about Wagner here, so, people who are used to my posts wouldn't get from them that Wagner is my favorite opera composer. It's largely because Wagner somehow crushes me. I am often speechless when I listen to or watch one of his operas, and not inclined to say much about it. It's common occurrence for me to pop a Wagner DVD into the player, watch it, and then turn the TV off, and stay there for one hour, silent, all lights off, just with my jaw dropped.

It's interesting how different people can have similar reactions to Wagner. The first time I ever heard Tristan was listening to a cassette recording (this was in the 1980's) I had bought some time earlier. It just had never interested me, and I was feeling guilty for not having listened. One night I couldn't sleep, so I went out out to the living room and put it on with the lights off. I sat and listened to the whole thing without a pause, and just like Almaviva described, when it was over I sat in the dark for I don't know how long, stunned and silent. It wasn't even a great recording of the work: Behrens and Hofmann with Bernstein conducting. But the 'old wizard's' spell was cast nonetheless. It was very hard to get up and go to school the next day, not because I was tired, but because the day seemed crass and oppressive to my newly Tristan-ised psyche.

Itullian
December 28th, 2012, 10:20 PM
Got the Sinnopoli Hollander. Comparing it to my favorite Solti.
Will report later. :)

Jephtha
December 28th, 2012, 10:58 PM
Got the Sinnopoli Hollander. Comparing it to my favorite Solti.
Will report later. :)

I have heard good things as well about the live Bayreuth conducted by Nelsson, but I have never heard it. What's the cast on the Sinopoli?

Itullian
December 29th, 2012, 12:05 AM
I have heard good things as well about the live Bayreuth conducted by Nelsson, but I have never heard it. What's the cast on the Sinopoli?

Weikl, Studer, Domingo, Sieffert, Sotin.
the only weak link, if you can call it that, is Weikl. not quite the hefty Dutchman, but ok.
the rest of the production and recorded sound is wonderful.

ps i saw in your profile you love H and G. me too. whats your favorite recording?
thanks :)

Jephtha
December 29th, 2012, 12:38 AM
Weikl, Studer, Domingo, Sieffert, Sotin.
the only weak link, if you can call it that, is Weikl. not quite the hefty Dutchman, but ok.
the rest of the production and recorded sound is wonderful.

ps i saw in your profile you love H and G. me too. whats your favorite recording?
thanks :)

Wow, that is one powerhouse cast. I agree, Weikl is a bit too Kavalierbariton for Vanderdecken, but what the hey, I still like him. Do you know his Beckmesser in the first Solti Meistersinger? Absolutely gorgeous.

There are so many great Hansel and Gretel recordings, and I love them all! For years my favorite was the Eichhorn with Helen Donath and Anna Moffo(too feminine for Hansel), mainly for Christa Ludwig's definitive Witch: she is the only singer to follow the score's indication that she mutter and grumble as she is leaning over into the oven, and she does a great scream as she is pushed in. When I heard the Karajan with Schwarzkopf and Grummer, though, the jig was up. IMO, everything about this recording is perfect, saving the '50's era mono sound. I also adore the Cluytens with Rothenberger and Seefried; Seefried is my favorite soprano of all time, and she does Hansel like nobody's business; she really sounds like a boy. But my overall favorite is the Karajan. If you go on Amazon Deutschland, you should try to get(if you don't have it already)the recording conducted by Heinz Wallberg. It uses real child singers for the two leads and the Sandman and Dew Fairy, and it is just enchanting. The whole thing has a wonderful fairy-tale atmosphere that I have not heard elsewhere, and Edda Moser's Witch is second only to C. Ludwig, with hands down the best oven-scream on records. I will talk about H&G all day if you let me! :D

Itullian
December 29th, 2012, 01:31 AM
Wow, that is one powerhouse cast. I agree, Weikl is a bit too Kavalierbariton for Vanderdecken, but what the hey, I still like him. Do you know his Beckmesser in the first Solti Meistersinger? Absolutely gorgeous.

There are so many great Hansel and Gretel recordings, and I love them all! For years my favorite was the Eichhorn with Helen Donath and Anna Moffo(too feminine for Hansel), mainly for Christa Ludwig's definitive Witch: she is the only singer to follow the score's indication that she mutter and grumble as she is leaning over into the oven, and she does a great scream as she is pushed in. When I heard the Karajan with Schwarzkopf and Grummer, though, the jig was up. IMO, everything about this recording is perfect, saving the '50's era mono sound. I also adore the Cluytens with Rothenberger and Seefried; Seefried is my favorite soprano of all time, and she does Hansel like nobody's business; she really sounds like a boy. But my overall favorite is the Karajan. If you go on Amazon Deutschland, you should try to get(if you don't have it already)the recording conducted by Heinz Wallberg. It uses real child singers for the two leads and the Sandman and Dew Fairy, and it is just enchanting. The whole thing has a wonderful fairy-tale atmosphere that I have not heard elsewhere, and Edda Moser's Witch is second only to C. Ludwig, with hands down the best oven-scream on records. I will talk about H&G all day if you let me! :D

i have the Runnicles which i like a lot. thinking about the Tate. its supposed to be wonderful.

MAuer
December 29th, 2012, 03:19 PM
Weikl, Studer, Domingo, Sieffert, Sotin.
the only weak link, if you can call it that, is Weikl. not quite the hefty Dutchman, but ok.
the rest of the production and recorded sound is wonderful.

I'm assuming that Domingo, not Seiffert, sings Erik. If their roles were reversed, I'd be quite tempted by this recording. I love Placido, but I just can't get past his heavily-accented German. The recording I have is the audio version of this Bayreuth production:

http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/250x500/movie/483/6869483.jpg

Jephtha
December 31st, 2012, 04:38 PM
i have the Runnicles which i like a lot. thinking about the Tate. its supposed to be wonderful.

I like the Runnicles, especially the appendix that has the toy-instrument finale Humperdinck wrote for the Dessau production directed by Cosima Wagner. The Tate is certainly wonderful; the conductor stresses the Wagnerian elements of the score rather more than I like, but the atmosphere is great: very spooky in the forest, grand and radiant for the angels, gemutlich for the Witch (at first!). Barbara Bonney might be my favorite Gretel after Schwarzkopf, but Donath on the Eichhorn set is tough competition for second place. I think overall the great strength of the Tate set is the conducting, with the caveat that he does NOT present the work as a cosy children's tale, but more as a last gasp of classic German Romanticism; Freischuetz II, if you will.

Jephtha
December 31st, 2012, 04:40 PM
I'm assuming that Domingo, not Seiffert, sings Erik. If their roles were reversed, I'd be quite tempted by this recording. I love Placido, but I just can't get past his heavily-accented German. The recording I have is the audio version of this Bayreuth production:

http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/250x500/movie/483/6869483.jpg

MAuer, how do you like the Nelsson recording? Some very picky friends of mine swear by it.

MAuer
December 31st, 2012, 06:41 PM
MAuer, how do you like the Nelsson recording? Some very picky friends of mine swear by it.

I enjoy it. Estes, unlike Weikl, is a bass-baritone and has a more appropriate vocal weight for the Dutchman. It's hard to argue with Matti Salminen in his prime, and Balslev (Senta) and Schunk (Erik) are both quite good. The recording also has the always-reliable Graham Clark as the Steuermann. Do your friends have the video, or just the CD recording, as I do?

Jephtha
December 31st, 2012, 07:21 PM
I enjoy it. Estes, unlike Weikl, is a bass-baritone and has a more appropriate vocal weight for the Dutchman. It's hard to argue with Matti Salminen in his prime, and Balslev (Senta) and Schunk (Erik) are both quite good. The recording also has the always-reliable Graham Clark as the Steuermann. Do your friends have the video, or just the CD recording, as I do?

No, they all have the audio-only recording, but according to them the intensity of the performance is unparalleled. I just have never been able to appreciate this opera much, although I love the music, and the many choruses are excellent. Something about the relationship of Senta and Vanderdecken troubles me, and I have never quite been able to put my finger on it. I have no problem with passionate relationships, but this one seems strange and perfunctory, almost utilitarian: how convenient that the ship just happens to put in at a port where dwells a girl who is obsessed with the legend. Unlike in Tristan, where the passion and intensity are made to seem organic(though of course they are helped along by the drinking of a 'love potion'), here they strike me as having been laid over the surface of the story in order to serve Wagner's idea of redemption through the love of a faithful woman. Even the great Jose van Dam, whom I saw in the Ponnelle production in San Francisco, could not convince me of the greatness of this work. However, I hasten to add that this is my loss only. No doubt I am misreading Wagner's intentions and have not yet come to a proper understanding of the opera. I'll keep trying! :D

Amfortas
January 1st, 2013, 12:03 PM
I just have never been able to appreciate this opera much, although I love the music, and the many choruses are excellent. Something about the relationship of Senta and Vanderdecken troubles me, and I have never quite been able to put my finger on it. I have no problem with passionate relationships, but this one seems strange and perfunctory, almost utilitarian: how convenient that the ship just happens to put in at a port where dwells a girl who is obsessed with the legend. Unlike in Tristan, where the passion and intensity are made to seem organic(though of course they are helped along by the drinking of a 'love potion'), here they strike me as having been laid over the surface of the story in order to serve Wagner's idea of redemption through the love of a faithful woman.

I would recommend the DVD of the Bayreuth production above, since Harry Kupfer's concept addresses many of your concerns. In his version, Senta is a repressed old maid in a stifling society, and the Dutchman her fantasy lover. From this perspective, the "strange," "perfunctory," and "convenient" nature of their relationship makes perfect sense. Kupfer carries out this conceit brilliantly throughout the opera, so that in Act II we have *two* Dutchmen: the shadowy real suitor Senta's father tries to foist upon her, and the vivid fantasy figure she wishes for instead. The final "redemption," then, is Senta's suicidal escape from an oppressive reality.

It may not be Wagner's intention, but it powerfully explores the libretto's underlying dynamics. The story itself, after all, is a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy about a miraculous lover coming to the rescue. Kupfer simply treats that fantasy *as* fantasy, in a very compelling way.

Jephtha
January 2nd, 2013, 05:29 PM
I would recommend the DVD of the Bayreuth production above, since Harry Kupfer's concept addresses many of your concerns. In his version, Senta is a repressed old maid in a stifling society, and the Dutchman her fantasy lover. From this perspective, the "strange," "perfunctory," and "convenient" nature of their relationship makes perfect sense. Kupfer carries out this conceit brilliantly throughout the opera, so that in Act II we have *two* Dutchmen: the shadowy real suitor Senta's father tries to foist upon her, and the vivid fantasy figure she wishes for instead. The final "redemption," then, is Senta's suicidal escape from an oppressive reality.

It may not be Wagner's intention, but it powerfully explores the libretto's underlying dynamics. The story itself, after all, is a kind of wish-fulfillment fantasy about a miraculous lover coming to the rescue. Kupfer simply treats that fantasy *as* fantasy, in a very compelling way.

Thank you, Amfortas. This sounds interesting and well worth a viewing. I was impressed with Kupfer's Bayreuth Ring, so perhaps I am on his 'wavelength'. I will give this Dutchman a try.

Amfortas
January 2nd, 2013, 05:42 PM
Thank you, Amfortas. This sounds interesting and well worth a viewing. I was impressed with Kupfer's Bayreuth Ring, so perhaps I am on his 'wavelength'. I will give this Dutchman a try.

As I recall, it was largely on the basis of this Bayreuth Dutchman that Kupfer was entrusted to direct the Ring there. Actually, I prefer his Dutchman production, with its coherent, brilliantly executed concept, to his Ring, which to me seems more hit-or-miss. But I suppose that's to be expected when you take on such a huge project.

Jephtha
January 2nd, 2013, 06:39 PM
As I recall, it was largely on the basis of this Bayreuth Dutchman that Kupfer was entrusted to direct the Ring there. Actually, I prefer his Dutchman production, with its coherent, brilliantly executed concept, to his Ring, which to me seems more hit-or-miss. But I suppose that's to be expected when you take on such a huge project.

Kupfer is a fascinating artist. He and Gotz Friedrich were the star proteges of the great Walter Felsenstein at the Komische Oper Berlin. The only Kupfer production I have seen is the Ring, but Friedrich is of course the director of the Salome and Elektra films conducted by Bohm. I also saw Friedrich's Bayreuth Lohengrin video with Peter Hofmann and found it incredibly moving. If the Kupfer Dutchman is anything like that, I am impatient to experience it.

Itullian
January 2nd, 2013, 08:30 PM
Is the Nelsson the original version or the redone version with the redemption ending?

Amfortas
January 2nd, 2013, 09:29 PM
Is the Nelsson the original version or the redone version with the redemption ending?

It must be the original, at least on the DVD where there's nothing redemptive--visually or musically--about the ending.

Itullian
January 2nd, 2013, 11:24 PM
It must be the original, at least on the DVD where there's nothing redemptive--visually or musically--about the ending.

darn.

Jephtha
January 3rd, 2013, 12:03 AM
It must be the original, at least on the DVD where there's nothing redemptive--visually or musically--about the ending.

That's too bad. I have always loved that Redemption motive. The original orchestral ending always sounded so abrupt to me. Just like I can't imagine the end of Goetterdaemmerung without the Glorification of Brunnhilde motive, not hearing the Redemption motive at the end of Dutchman is always a disappointment.

Itullian
January 3rd, 2013, 01:51 AM
That's too bad. I have always loved that Redemption motive. The original orchestral ending always sounded so abrupt to me. Just like I can't imagine the end of Goetterdaemmerung without the Glorification of Brunnhilde motive, not hearing the Redemption motive at the end of Dutchman is always a disappointment.

agreed. Sinopoli has the redemption motive at the end. as does Solti's, which is excellent. Klemperer does not.

Yashin
January 4th, 2013, 01:17 AM
I have just 2 recordings of this opera. My only CD version is the Naxos one with Alfred Muff and Peter Seiffert. I think they do a good job. I only got it as it was bargain basement and i recalled some positive reviews.

I was really impressed with the Opus Arte DVD of this opera from the Netherlands Opera company. It stars Catherine Naglestad and Juha Uusitalo as Senta and the Hollander. Really enjoy the production (another great one from Martin Kusej). I have seen the Kupfer one with Simon Estes but i really did not understand it at the time. I only had it on VHS but might try look for it on DVD.

Hoffmann
February 5th, 2013, 03:13 AM
I hate to admit that I don't own a recording of the Ring operas, but am now in the market. The problem is that I buy most of my music off iTunes - despite its limitations, it's just too unbelievably convenient.

The limitations, of course, include a limited selection for some things like the Ring.

The choices (aside from some pretty ancient recordings from the early 50s that do not appear to have been remastered) include:

Levine
Boulez
Thielemann
Barenboim
Böhm

Any thoughts?

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 5th, 2013, 03:56 AM
I hate to admit that I don't own a recording of the Ring operas, but am now in the market. The problem is that I buy most of my music off iTunes - despite its limitations, it's just too unbelievably convenient.

The limitations, of course, include a limited selection for some things like the Ring.

The choices (aside from some pretty ancient recordings from the early 50s that do not appear to have been remastered) include:

Levine
Boulez
Thielemann
Barenboim
Böhm

Any thoughts?

You are not including Solti and Furtwängler?

For me, on CD I favor the Solti, and on DVD the Barenboim.

Some people swear by getting the first two operas from Böhm, and the last two from Solti.

Buying this from iTunes is heresy. You'll get compressed sound instead of the full digital information.

Aksel
February 5th, 2013, 09:46 AM
The Solti is wonderful.

Which of the Furtwänglers are you talking about, Alma?

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 5th, 2013, 12:26 PM
The La Scala 1950 performance, not the EMI Rome broadcast.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61H9ts7KTtL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Available [here (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Ring-Nibelungen-Richard-Classical/dp/B0012IWJ7G/)] for $61.49

Hoffmann
February 5th, 2013, 02:00 PM
I knew that my raising iTunes wouldn't go over very well, but I'm not sure that my ear is refined enough to tell the difference. iTunes' reduced selection tends to be more frustrating to me, but I am nonetheless looking toward upgrading my sound system.

The La Scala Furtwängler you recommend is available on iTunes, but I didn't include it on my list as I was skeptical of its sound quality. I probably was persuaded more by the cover than knowledge of the recording itself.

Aksel
February 5th, 2013, 04:20 PM
I knew that my raising iTunes wouldn't go over very well, but I'm not sure that my ear is refined enough to tell the difference. iTunes' reduced selection tends to be more frustrating to me, but I am nonetheless looking toward upgrading my sound system.

The La Scala Furtwängler you recommend is available on iTunes, but I didn't include it on my list as I was skeptical of its sound quality. I probably was persuaded more by the cover than knowledge of the recording itself.

It's Kirsten Flagstad's last recorded Brünnhilde!

Jephtha
February 5th, 2013, 06:29 PM
I hate to admit that I don't own a recording of the Ring operas, but am now in the market. The problem is that I buy most of my music off iTunes - despite its limitations, it's just too unbelievably convenient.

The limitations, of course, include a limited selection for some things like the Ring.

The choices (aside from some pretty ancient recordings from the early 50s that do not appear to have been remastered) include:

Levine
Boulez
Thielemann
Barenboim
Böhm

Any thoughts?

The Barenboim has perhaps the greatest orchestral playing of any recorded Ring, and I say that as someone who is emphatically NOT a Barenboim fan. His Ring also has lovely lyrical singing, particularly from Anne Evans, and a fine sense of theatre. The Bohm is valuable for the Brunnhilde of Nilsson, which to my ear is more involved and urgent than in her Decca traversal under Solti. Also great in this Ring are the Sieglinde of Leonie Rysanek(love that shriek she emits when Siegmund pulls Nothung out of the tree!)and the heartbreakingly human Wotan of Theo Adam. However, I find Bohm's conducting insensitive and brass-heavy; his Bayreuth Dutchman and Tristan are far superior, to my ear.

May I put in a good word for the Karajan studio Rheingold? I find that this Ring has been terribly under-rated in general, and while it does have its faults, including some over-parted singers and overly refined and lush orchestral playing, Rheingold is a delight from start to finish. Helen Donath is an even finer Woglinde than Lucia Popp, girlish and fresh of tone and manner. The great Queen of Night Edda Moser is Wellgunde, and Fischer-Dieskau's Wotan is authoritative and ear-opening in his usual manner. For me, though, the great performance of this set is Gerhard Stolze as Loge. His voice takes on such a multitude of colors and accents, he has spoiled me for any other interpreter. And I think Zoltan Kelemen gives Neidlinger a good run for his money as Alberich. The voice is not quite as dark and menacing as Neidlinger's, but it is a good deal steadier as regards pitch and legato. The curse is hair-raising.

Itullian
February 5th, 2013, 08:33 PM
of the choices given?
Barenboim-spectacular sound.
Bohm second-very good stereo, classic singers.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 5th, 2013, 09:27 PM
Just a quick look at this thread's posts confirms what always happens in any other venues when this sort of thing is brought up: there is never consensus among Wagner lovers, regarding the best Ring. Obviously, being the Ring so long and complex and requiring so many orchestral acrobatics and huge cast of singers, there's never an ideal Ring. They will all have ups and downs, and people can certainly love the main recordings for some aspects, but not for others. Certainly the best thing is to have them all... which is also too expensive a proposition, so, between these top contenders such as Solti, Böhm, Barenboim, Furtwängler, I guess one can't really go wrong; they all have assets (but like I said, they all have shortcomings as well).

Jephtha
February 5th, 2013, 10:51 PM
Just a quick look at this thread's posts confirms what always happens in any other venues when this sort of thing is brought up: there is never consensus among Wagner lovers, regarding the best Ring. Obviously, being the Ring so long and complex and requiring so many orchestral acrobatics and huge cast of singers, there's never an ideal Ring. They will all have ups and downs, and people can certainly love the main recordings for some aspects, but not for others. Certainly the best thing is to have them all... which is also too expensive a proposition, so, between these top contenders such as Solti, Böhm, Barenboim, Furtwängler, I guess one can't really go wrong; they all have assets (but like I said, they all have shortcomings as well).

I would love to have them all! Even the worst Ring recording(and I won't say which one I think that is)has some gem or treasure tucked away, whether it be an unorthodox tempo or an instrumental color one had never before noticed. And while Almaviva is right that it is a pricey proposition, it is much better than in the old days. I paid almost $300.00 for the Levine Ring when it was first released over twenty years ago, and it can be purchased for a fraction of that cost now, as long as one already has the libretti from some other source. Same with Bohm, Solti, Barenboim, et al. Hmmm...I think I will start making out my Christmas list...

Hoffmann
February 5th, 2013, 11:47 PM
Thanks everyone. The bottom line is the sense that one really can't go wrong. I will likely go with Barenboim, even though I don't know most of the cast, because he will be conducting the Berlin Staatsoper Ring when I am there in April.

I also have to say that I don't have any technical knowledge, so probably all too frequently am unable to identify accurately why I like something and why I do not. I really don't know the nuances of the different opera scores, or conductors idiosyncrasies, but do seem to know when a production or a performance (ideally both) really pop.

I was thrilled by the Bayerische Staatsoper Ring last year, and hope they issue a DVD/CD of the production (but then, what is it they say about the first time...)?

Jephtha
February 6th, 2013, 12:00 AM
The bottom line is the sense that one really can't go wrong.

Absolutely right! I think it is because the Ring is just such a mammoth undertaking, that any company that can get together a decent cast and conductor and just get through the bloody thing will already be at a certain level of excellence, just because of what it takes to perform it.

Amfortas
February 6th, 2013, 02:48 AM
Even the worst Ring recording(and I won't say which one I think that is) . . .

Aw, c'mon. PLEASE?

Jephtha
February 6th, 2013, 04:46 PM
Aw, c'mon. PLEASE?

OK, OK. And keep in mind I haven't heard them all! But the one that I have heard that I just cannot rate any higher than the bottom rung of the Ring ladder is the old ABC LP set conducted by Swarovsky. It is the one that had the really odd cover photos, including three nude Rhinedaughters for the cover of Rheingold. It was my first Ring when I was twelve years old, and I didn't know any better, but it is just not competitive nowadays, considering what else is available. It is the kind of performance that, if you heard it live in the house, you wouldn't exactly scream for your money back, but it is provincial and lacklustre. Individual performances are decent, especially Gerald McKee as Siegfried, but overall it lacks sweep and grandeur. What it does not lack, though, is drama, and to be fair, none of the vocal performances is really horrible. I should add that, as I said in an earlier post, anyone who can get together a Ring company and actually perform the thing is already going to be at a certain level of competence, and this Ring does not offend. I think it has been remastered onto CD by Denon. So: IMO, the worst recorded Ring, but only in the sense of not being better than any of the other available sets.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 6th, 2013, 09:52 PM
OK, OK. And keep in mind I haven't heard them all! But the one that I have heard that I just cannot rate any higher than the bottom rung of the Ring ladder is the old ABC LP set conducted by Swarovsky. It is the one that had the really odd cover photos, including three nude Rhinedaughters for the cover of Rheingold. It was my first Ring when I was twelve years old, and I didn't know any better, but it is just not competitive nowadays, considering what else is available. It is the kind of performance that, if you heard it live in the house, you wouldn't exactly scream for your money back, but it is provincial and lacklustre. Individual performances are decent, especially Gerald McKee as Siegfried, but overall it lacks sweep and grandeur. What it does not lack, though, is drama, and to be fair, none of the vocal performances is really horrible. I should add that, as I said in an earlier post, anyone who can get together a Ring company and actually perform the thing is already going to be at a certain level of competence, and this Ring does not offend. I think it has been remastered onto CD by Denon. So: IMO, the worst recorded Ring, but only in the sense of not being better than any of the other available sets.

Oh, wait a moment, it does have something better than the other Ring sets: three nude Rhinemaidens. Hehehe. Although I haven't seen the cover, so I can't pass judgment on the aestetic qualities of said nude Rhinemaidens, but the concept sounds appealing.:love2:

Jephtha
February 6th, 2013, 10:24 PM
Oh, wait a moment, it does have something better than the other Ring sets: three nude Rhinemaidens. Hehehe. Although I haven't seen the cover, so I can't pass judgment on the aestetic qualities of said nude Rhinemaidens, but the concept sounds appealing.:love2:

All right, you rascal! :)

I do remember that all three girls had long tresses strategically placed, so I guess the cover wouldn't offend Mrs. Grundy. If memory serves, one of them bore a striking resemblance to Sharon Tate, at least facially.

Soave_Fanciulla
February 7th, 2013, 03:03 AM
Here you go Alma. Naked Rhinemaidens, no listening to inferior recordings required. Westminster Gold will always come up with the goods.

http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGS-8130b.jpg

Edit: I found the Swarovsky one too:

http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGSO-8175-3b.jpg

I think you'd appreciate Die Walkure.

http://www.kimbawlion.com/westminstergold/WGSO-8176-3c.jpg

Jephtha
February 7th, 2013, 04:44 PM
Ah, the memories those covers bring back! Staying up all night to study to the accompaniment of Gotterdammerung, getting caught up in Wotan's Farewell...and wondering just what the broken ginger snap amid sundry crumbs on the cover of Gotterdammerung signified. I have since figured out that it was a visual pun about the end of the world, as in 'That's how the cookie crumbles...'

Soave_Fanciulla
February 7th, 2013, 05:40 PM
Ah, the memories those covers bring back! Staying up all night to study to the accompaniment of Gotterdammerung, getting caught up in Wotan's Farewell...and wondering just what the broken ginger snap amid sundry crumbs on the cover of Gotterdammerung signified. I have since figured out that it was a visual pun about the end of the world, as in 'That's how the cookie crumbles...'

Ha! Perfect!

http://webextras.allmusic.com/200905/a2ec07d70ffe8a99.jpg

Itullian
February 8th, 2013, 06:21 PM
Of course Solti's is the one to have if you're choosing only one.
But it was not on the OP list.

Jephtha
February 8th, 2013, 07:04 PM
Of course Solti's is the one to have if you're choosing only one.
But he was not on the OP list.

That has always been the critical consensus, and I suppose if one has to have one Ring with all the operas conducted by the same artist, it still holds up. Some of my friends, though, are happier having hand-picked the individual works from different conductors. One acquaintance of mine swears by his configuration, which is Solti for Rheingold and Gotterdammerung, Bohm for Walkure and Karajan for Siegfried. The last-named is the only selection with which I disagree. Although it has wonderful individual performances, including Stolze's luminous(yes, I said luminous)Mime and an astounding Forest Bird from Catherine Gayer that manages to convey both avian grace and profound spirituality(from the Forest Bird!), it is badly let down by Jess Thomas as Siegfried(both strained of voice and prosaically anonymous of manner)and Thomas Stewart as the Wanderer(too small-scale and jovial for this character, who should be large and quietly threatening, just the opposite of TS' approach). If I hand-picked my own Ring, it would be Karajan for Rheingold, Furtwangler(the RAI set) for Walkure, Kempe for Siegfried(Bayreuth 1960) and Solti for Gotterdammerung. But I would much rather own every available Ring! :)

Itullian
February 8th, 2013, 08:17 PM
That has always been the critical consensus, and I suppose if one has to have one Ring with all the operas conducted by the same artist, it still holds up. Some of my friends, though, are happier having hand-picked the individual works from different conductors. One acquaintance of mine swears by his configuration, which is Solti for Rheingold and Gotterdammerung, Bohm for Walkure and Karajan for Siegfried. The last-named is the only selection with which I disagree. Although it has wonderful individual performances, including Stolze's luminous(yes, I said luminous)Mime and an astounding Forest Bird from Catherine Gayer that manages to convey both avian grace and profound spirituality(from the Forest Bird!), it is badly let down by Jess Thomas as Siegfried(both strained of voice and prosaically anonymous of manner)and Thomas Stewart as the Wanderer(too small-scale and jovial for this character, who should be large and quietly threatening, just the opposite of TS' approach). If I hand-picked my own Ring, it would be Karajan for Rheingold, Furtwangler(the RAI set) for Walkure, Kempe for Siegfried(Bayreuth 1960) and Solti for Gotterdammerung. But I would much rather own every available Ring! :)

if i was compiling it would be Rheingold-Karajan, Walkure-Karajan, Siegfried-Solti, Gotterdammerung-Solti :)

Jephtha
February 8th, 2013, 08:20 PM
if i was compiling it would be Rhinegold-Karajan, Walkure-Karajan, Siegfried-Solti, Gotterdammerung-Solti :)

Itullian, I am happy to see someone else who appreciates the Karajan Ring! There is so much adoration heaped on the Solti set that I am afraid the Karajan sometimes gets short shrift. BTW, have you ever heard the Hunt CDs of the live Salzburg Easter Festival recordings of the Karajan Ring? They are eerily identical to the studio versions. He must have rehearsed his cast to within an inch of their lives.

Itullian
February 8th, 2013, 09:01 PM
Itullian, I am happy to see someone else who appreciates the Karajan Ring! There is so much adoration heaped on the Solti set that I am afraid the Karajan sometimes gets short shrift. BTW, have you ever heard the Hunt CDs of the live Salzburg Easter Festival recordings of the Karajan Ring? They are eerily identical to the studio versions. He must have rehearsed his cast to within an inch of their lives.

yes, i have heard them and you're absolutely right. At first i thought it was a studio recording. only as i listened further did it become evident that it was live.
truly amazing.

i think the Karajan set is a must have Ring along with Solti's for a studio version.
and maybe the most thought through Ring ever recorded. a magnificent achievement.
i enjoy it very much.

Jephtha
February 8th, 2013, 09:32 PM
yes, i have heard them and you're absolutely right. At first i thought it was a studio recording. only as i listened further did it become evident that it was live.
truly amazing.

i think the Karajan set is a must have Ring along with Solti's for a studio version.
and maybe the most thought through Ring ever recorded. a magnificent achievement.
i enjoy it very much.

You have hit on the main reason I admire the Karajan set so greatly. Not only does it reward a close following of the score as one listens, but the meaning of the words is brought out as in few other Rings I have heard. Comparisons are odious, so I will just say that the acting on this set far surpasses, IMO, that on many other sets, including several of the Bayreuth versions. And I respect Karajan for daring to get the Berlin Phil to play so softly! I think if more modern conductors were this sensitive, many passages, such as Wotan's narration in Walkure Act II, would be far less strenuous for the singers. I agree that this is a magnificent Ring.

Itullian
February 8th, 2013, 09:49 PM
You have hit on the main reason I admire the Karajan set so greatly. Not only does it reward a close following of the score as one listens, but the meaning of the words is brought out as in few other Rings I have heard. Comparisons are odious, so I will just say that the acting on this set far surpasses, IMO, that on many other sets, including several of the Bayreuth versions. And I respect Karajan for daring to get the Berlin Phil to play so softly! I think if more modern conductors were this sensitive, many passages, such as Wotan's narration in Walkure Act II, would be far less strenuous for the singers. I agree that this is a magnificent Ring.

yay, totally agree.

Hoffmann
February 9th, 2013, 04:30 PM
Ah. Fantasy Ring - just practicing up for fantasy baseball, perhaps? or, just "One ring to rule them all?"

Itullian
February 13th, 2013, 04:20 PM
hey all,
new Wagner from the Met box coming! :)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wagner-MET-Legendary-Performances-Metropolitan/dp/B00AL6SM0S/ref=pd_rhf_sc_s_cp_33_5859

Dark_Angel
February 18th, 2013, 03:20 PM
Itullian asked about which Meisters do I own:

Karajan 1951 + 1970
Solti CSO
Keilberth 1963
Jochum DG (just purchased)

A possible future purchase is new reissue of Sawallisch

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LCmaKeg5L._SL500_SL135_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Opera-Series-Wagner-Die-Meistersinger/dp/B00AZPXCF0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1EVQ4FBLOKN7J&coliid=I25I8GO74RXC0H)

Itullian
February 18th, 2013, 03:47 PM
Itullian asked about which Meisters do I own:

Karajan 1951 + 1970
Solti CSO
Keilberth 1963
Jochum DG (just purchased)

A possible future purchase is new reissue of Sawallisch

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LCmaKeg5L._SL500_SL135_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Opera-Series-Wagner-Die-Meistersinger/dp/B00AZPXCF0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1EVQ4FBLOKN7J&coliid=I25I8GO74RXC0H)

that ones excellent. Heppner is great and Weikl holds his own.
excellent chorus and orchestra
nice sound.

Itullian
February 18th, 2013, 04:23 PM
Itullian asked about which Meisters do I own:

Karajan 1951 + 1970
Solti CSO
Keilberth 1963
Jochum DG (just purchased)

A possible future purchase is new reissue of Sawallisch

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LCmaKeg5L._SL500_SL135_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Opera-Series-Wagner-Die-Meistersinger/dp/B00AZPXCF0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1EVQ4FBLOKN7J&coliid=I25I8GO74RXC0H)

is the Keilberth the one with Weiner as Sachs?
how is that one?

Dark_Angel
February 18th, 2013, 04:38 PM
is the Keilberth the one with Weiner as Sachs?
how is that one?


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MDZE-FIvL._SX300_.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h4WdD-KoL._SX300_.jpg


Thats it, old cover and newest budget release, it is very good with Jess Thomas as Walther....for sure a buy!

Itullian
February 18th, 2013, 05:56 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MDZE-FIvL._SX300_.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h4WdD-KoL._SX300_.jpg


Thats it, old cover and newest budget release, it is very good with Jess Thomas as Walther....for sure a buy!

love Jess Thomas. i'll have to get it.

Dark_Angel
February 19th, 2013, 02:54 AM
The most insane bargain I have ever seen in Wagner Ring CD sets $13.25 Amazon prime:


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TRUK%2BuN-L._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Ring-Nibelungen-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B009P4LVUK/ref=sr_il_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241615&sr=1-4&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner)


ZYX Classic label Ring uses Keilberth 1952 Rheingold, 1952 Gotterdamerung, 1953 Siegfried and 1954 studio Furtwangler Die Walkure

The 3 Keilberth operas are live but in good sound (much better than 1953 Krauss Ring for instance) and the studio Furtwanger is very good mono sound with WP orchestra. The performances are really great, I already own these individually but could have saved much more with this boxset

There are two other boxsets by ZYX of Wagner and again I already have most of these individually

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H99mrm-bL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-II-Operas-II-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00B8NESHE/ref=sr_il_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-1&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VAcC1SuZL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-Operas-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00AY6L9UA/ref=sr_il_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-3&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner)

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
February 19th, 2013, 06:28 AM
Indeed, this is insane. I wasn't in the market for another Ring on CD, but *had* do buy it, at this price.
A complete Ring with decent recordings, for $13.25? Unheard of! 13 CDs, that's 1 buck per CD. It almost sounds like heresy. Does this mean that Wagner's music is cheap? LOL. Anyway, I've ordered mine.

Link here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009P4LVUK/

Dark_Angel
February 19th, 2013, 01:13 PM
Indeed, this is insane. I wasn't in the market for another Ring on CD, but *had* do buy it, at this price.
A complete Ring with decent recordings, for $13.25? Unheard of! 13 CDs, that's 1 buck per CD. It almost sounds like heresy. Does this mean that Wagner's music is cheap? LOL. Anyway, I've ordered mine.

Link here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009P4LVUK/

The 3 live Keilberth recordings from 1952, 1953 obviously will have sound limitations but I was really surprised how good they sounded, the mono 1954 studio Furtwangler Walkure is one of the very best available period, it was the first recording of a planned EMI studio Ring with Furtwangler and WP orchestra before he died.

The EMI release looked like this:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LwBp1JWiL._SX300_.jpg

Itullian
February 19th, 2013, 05:24 PM
Indeed, this is insane. I wasn't in the market for another Ring on CD, but *had* do buy it, at this price.
A complete Ring with decent recordings, for $13.25? Unheard of! 13 CDs, that's 1 buck per CD. It almost sounds like heresy. Does this mean that Wagner's music is cheap? LOL. Anyway, I've ordered mine.

Link here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009P4LVUK/

There's always room for another Ring cycle. :)

Itullian
February 19th, 2013, 06:20 PM
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51MDZE-FIvL._SX300_.jpg http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51h4WdD-KoL._SX300_.jpg


Thats it, old cover and newest budget release, it is very good with Jess Thomas as Walther....for sure a buy!

just ordered this. excited, more Wagner :)

Itullian
February 19th, 2013, 06:21 PM
The most insane bargain I have ever seen in Wagner Ring CD sets $13.25 Amazon prime:


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TRUK%2BuN-L._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Ring-Nibelungen-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B009P4LVUK/ref=sr_il_1_4?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241615&sr=1-4&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner)


ZYX Classic label Ring uses Keilberth 1952 Rheingold, 1952 Gotterdamerung, 1953 Siegfried and 1954 studio Furtwangler Die Walkure

The 3 Keilberth operas are live but in good sound (much better than 1953 Krauss Ring for instance) and the studio Furtwanger is very good mono sound with WP orchestra. The performances are really great, I already own these individually but could have saved much more with this boxset

There are two other boxsets by ZYX of Wagner and again I already have most of these individually

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H99mrm-bL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-II-Operas-II-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00B8NESHE/ref=sr_il_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-1&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VAcC1SuZL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-Operas-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00AY6L9UA/ref=sr_il_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-3&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner)

just ordered that Ring. the other two later. :)

Amfortas
February 20th, 2013, 07:15 PM
There are two other boxsets by ZYX of Wagner and again I already have most of these individually

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H99mrm-bL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-II-Operas-II-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00B8NESHE/ref=sr_il_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-1&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VAcC1SuZL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Opern-Operas-Gesamt-Complete/dp/B00AY6L9UA/ref=sr_il_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1361241875&sr=1-3&keywords=zyx+classic+wagner)

DA, can you tell us which recordings these are? Amazon is not very clear about it.

Dark_Angel
February 20th, 2013, 11:12 PM
DA, can you tell us which recordings these are? Amazon is not very clear about it.

Search "ZYX wagner" at Amazon to see individual releases, I assume these are ones in boxset.
These are very highly rated historical releases

parsifal - 1951 Knappy
meister - 1951 Karajan
tristan - 1952 Furtwangler
lohengrin - 1954 Jochum

Itullian
February 20th, 2013, 11:31 PM
Search "ZYX wagner" at Amazon to see individual releases, I assume these are ones in boxset.
These are very highly rated historical releases

parsifal - 1951 Knappy
meister - 1951 Karajan
tristan - 1952 Furtwangler
lohengrin - 1954 Jochum

wow, they really are highly regarded.

emiellucifuge
February 20th, 2013, 11:32 PM
Thanks to my college library I have been able to acquire the entire Goodall ring - it is quite an enlightenment to be able to understand the singing as I listen!

Further I've borrowed:
Furtwangler's '54 Walkure
Knappertbusch's 51 Gotterdammerung
Hollreiser's Rienzi

Itullian
February 20th, 2013, 11:58 PM
Search "ZYX wagner" at Amazon to see individual releases, I assume these are ones in boxset.
These are very highly rated historical releases

parsifal - 1951 Knappy
meister - 1951 Karajan
tristan - 1952 Furtwangler
lohengrin - 1954 Jochum

this zyx company really knows what it's doing.

Itullian
February 21st, 2013, 06:54 PM
hi all,
as some folks here know, Meistersinger is one of my all time favorite operas.
i never tire of all its wonders.

i was wondering what your favorite recording/recordings of this wonderful work is/are and why.

thanks :)

Itullian
February 21st, 2013, 07:50 PM
Itullian asked about which Meisters do I own:

Karajan 1951 + 1970
Solti CSO
Keilberth 1963
Jochum DG (just purchased)

A possible future purchase is new reissue of Sawallisch

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51LCmaKeg5L._SL500_SL135_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Opera-Series-Wagner-Die-Meistersinger/dp/B00AZPXCF0/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1EVQ4FBLOKN7J&coliid=I25I8GO74RXC0H)

hey DA,
curious to hear what you think of the Jochum set.
how do you like it?
i like it quite alot.

Dark_Angel
February 23rd, 2013, 01:05 PM
hey DA,
curious to hear what you think of the Jochum set.
how do you like it?
i like it quite alot.

Patience grasshopper.....

Hehe, I did just say sawallisch was a "possible" future purchase but of course I could not wait and purchased the older version used, so now I have both the Jochum and Sawallisch Meisters waiting for future playback.

If I can find a good condition older version complete with booklet and slipcover that is the way to go, but I must carefully screen used adds on Amazon since often they will sometimes ship without large booklet and slipcover......:mad5426:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Dg%2B49pkTL._SY300_.jpg http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/40/c4/fd8ae03ae7a037618dabc110.L._SX300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B000002RUB/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0)

Itullian
February 23rd, 2013, 06:54 PM
Patience grasshopper.....

Hehe, I did just say sawallisch was a "possible" future purchase but of course I could not wait and purchased the older version used, so now I have both the Jochum and Sawallisch Meisters waiting for future playback.

If I can find a good condition older version complete with booklet and slipcover that is the way to go, but I must carefully screen used adds on Amazon since often they will sometimes ship without large booklet and slipcover......:mad5426:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Dg%2B49pkTL._SY300_.jpg http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/40/c4/fd8ae03ae7a037618dabc110.L._SX300_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B000002RUB/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0)

yeah, i prefer the older releases too.
the Sawallisch comes with a beautiful booklet. you'll love it.

and its true Dieskau is somewhat overparted.
but he sings so intelligently and gets so much from the text its still wonderful.
and Domingos voice is heavenly in this one.

DA, you also have to be careful that they are not
cutouts with holes punched in them. :(

Dark_Angel
February 23rd, 2013, 08:57 PM
yeah, i prefer the older releases too.
the Sawallisch comes with a beautiful booklet. you'll love it.

DA, you also have to be careful that they are not
cutouts with holes punched in them. :(

Because I buy so many used Cds I have a large supply of spare CD jewel cases of all sizes, also if case is very scratched up I replace it right away.

HarpsichordConcerto
February 23rd, 2013, 09:42 PM
Because I buy so many used Cds I have a large supply of spare CD jewel cases of all sizes, also if case is very scratched up I replace it right away.

Ha! That's exactly the same as me. I have new spare jewel cases of all sizes, too. I do buy the used CD when the recording is out of print/exorbitant price and replce the cases when they arrive. Sometimes new cases are cracked during freight.

Itullian
February 23rd, 2013, 09:53 PM
Ha! That's exactly the same as me. I have new spare jewel cases of all sizes, too. I do buy the used CD when the recording is out of print/exorbitant price and replce the cases when they arrive. Sometimes new cases are cracked during freight.

i have some of those too.
its hard to find a decent slipcase on alot of those used ones though.

HarpsichordConcerto
March 3rd, 2013, 12:05 AM
Is this production any good? The staging looked dull. The singing was better. Clips are available on youtube. I'm not convinced (eighty-five comments of it on Amazon but twenty-nine gave it two stars or less). Should I buy or not? It's cheap ...

1761

Dark_Angel
March 3rd, 2013, 01:25 AM
Do not buy that Tristan buy one of these three:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419LkUZmQIL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tristan-Isolde-Waltraud-Meier/dp/B0012NO92O/ref=sr_il_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1362273683&sr=1-1&keywords=tristan+und+isolde)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/511SfAmohcL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Isolde-Nina-Stemme/dp/B00118DQXI/ref=sr_il_1_8?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1362273683&sr=1-8&keywords=tristan+und+isolde)




http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KMbwMkXwL._AA260_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Tristan-Isolde-Daniel-Barenboim/dp/B000OONQ1W/ref=sr_il_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1362273683&sr=1-2&keywords=tristan+und+isolde)

BTW the do not get blu ray of 2nd choice with Gambil & Stemme, very poor picture quality - DVD is better picture. The first two versions have modern staging, third choice is the Ponelle film with more traditional staging

Have you seen the "death song" liebestod sung by Waltraud Meier from first version, great visuals


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1CNBIJj1CFM

HarpsichordConcerto
March 3rd, 2013, 03:00 AM
Do not buy that Tristan buy one of these three:


Thanks, DA! I already have the last two versions you posted except the Jerusalem/Meier/Barenhoim version you suggested. The Levine is one sale the moment. I think I shall avoid.

Dark_Angel
March 4th, 2013, 12:29 AM
Pristine Classical XR 32 bit remasters Krauss 1953 and Furtwangler 1953 RAI Wagner Rings

This is French audiophile company that specializes in audiophile remasters of historical music, they sell downloads and CDR discs, I can't believe how much better these sound than the standard EMI and Orfeo releases......you will pay for that upgrade however at purchase time

Itullian check this out they have long 5-10 minute free sound samples, this is amazing! a miracle!
The Krauss Ring especially just crushes any other recording I have heard

Itullian
March 4th, 2013, 06:28 AM
Pristine Classical XR 32 bit remasters Krauss 1953 and Furtwangler 1953 RAI Wagner Rings

This is French audiophile company that specializes in audiophile remasters of historical music, they sell downloads and CDR discs, I can't believe how much better these sound than the standard EMI and Orfeo releases......you will pay for that upgrade however at purchase time

Itullian check this out they have long 5-10 minute free sound samples, this is amazing! a miracle!
The Krauss Ring especially just crushes any other recording I have heard

Do they have cd's as well?
im not familiar with CDR.?

Itullian
March 4th, 2013, 11:34 AM
Pristine Classical XR 32 bit remasters Krauss 1953 and Furtwangler 1953 RAI Wagner Rings


This is French audiophile company that specializes in audiophile remasters of historical music, they sell downloads and CDR discs, I can't believe how much better these sound than the standard EMI and Orfeo releases......you will pay for that upgrade however at purchase time

Itullian check this out they have long 5-10 minute free sound samples, this is amazing! a miracle!
The Krauss Ring especially just crushes any other recording I have heard

I was just there. I couldnt find anything. Very confusing.

Dark_Angel
March 4th, 2013, 01:09 PM
I was just there. I couldnt find anything. Very confusing.

CDR is CD recordable media which uses CD format and can be played in any CD player.

Just go to that link in the blue area search by aritist or composer (option right above blue area) and using slider on right side (grey line) you click on selection a 5-15 minute sample begins to play, you need to have Adobe flash player which most people have.

They also offer "ambient stereo" for mono recordings which gives sense of fullness and depth without degrading sound like previous methods. The price is very high and 3-4 week wait for CDR but the results in samples are so stunning I might try a couple. Even has a few of Callas early 1950s recordings that sound fabulous

Hoffmann
March 4th, 2013, 03:28 PM
Is Pristine Classical kind of the musical equivalent of what Criterion is to movies?

It sounds interesting, but I found the website's instructions very confusing.

Itullian
March 21st, 2013, 05:38 PM
Just got finished listening to Meistersinger, Knappertsbusch, 1960,MYTO.
This is a fantastic recording. It competes with the best for the top spot.
The sound is great. I'd almost think its stereo. Its so full and rich.
Greindl is a rich voiced warm Sachs with plenty of heft.
Grummer is wonderful as Eva. And Windgassen is a strong
powerful sounding Walther. The rest of the cast is just as good and the chorus and orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival is inspired throughout.
If you love Meistersinger you've got to get this recording.
Only about 25d for a little slice of Heaven.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Get it. :)

Dark_Angel
March 22nd, 2013, 12:24 AM
Just got finished listening to Meistersinger, Knappertsbusch, 1960,MYTO.
This is a fantastic recording. It competes with the best for the top spot.
The sound is great. I'd almost think its stereo. Its so full and rich.
Greindl is a rich voiced warm Sachs with plenty of heft.
Grummer is wonderful as Eva. And Windgassen is a strong
powerful sounding Walther. The rest of the cast is just as good and the chorus and orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival is inspired throughout.
If you love Meistersinger you've got to get this recording.
Only about 25d for a little slice of Heaven.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Get it. :)

OK since the live sound is good I will make the purchase................

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411IFxQpTeL._SY300_.jpg

Itullian
March 23rd, 2013, 02:45 PM
OK since the live sound is good I will make the purchase................

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411IFxQpTeL._SY300_.jpg

give us your review when you get it. :)

Dark_Angel
May 9th, 2013, 11:54 AM
Itullian wants to know about Sinopoli's Dutchman with Domingo & Studer, I have this along with Sinopoli's Tannhauser (also with Domingo) and think it is a good alternate version in modern sound. Some question Domingo in any Wagner opera but I adjust to his voice quickly and like to hear some variety, Studer may not be most dramatic Senta but does a solid job, some may also prefer a deeper voiced Dutchman than Bernd Weikl but sounds fine to me......for $12 used at Amazon why not?

Don't overlook the super bargain classic Knappy 1955 from Bayreuth on ZYX label in good live mono sound, a great version for $7 at Amazon USA

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/617-%2Bhj%2BwAL._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-fliegende-Holl%C3%A4nder-Richard/dp/B000009ON2/ref=sr_1_8?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368100452&sr=1-8&keywords=Der+fliegende+Holl%C3%A4nder) http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61abdDHxYhL._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Fliegende-Holl%C3%A4nder-Astrid-Varnay/dp/B008B0WORS/ref=sr_1_9?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368100452&sr=1-9&keywords=Der+fliegende+Holl%C3%A4nder)

Dark_Angel
May 9th, 2013, 12:02 PM
OK since the live sound is good I will make the purchase................

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411IFxQpTeL._SY300_.jpg

I did not order this live Meister, but did order the deluxe Solti Ring for $113 new on Ebay, this is an amazing bargain!

Limited edition with only 7,000 available worldwide, next year you will crying why didn't I listen to DA and buy this, lowest price I have seen previously was $250 (Amazon $281). Completely new remaster for CDs and entire audio Ring on special single blu ray disc in better than CD sound quality


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KsitMf5L._SY300_.jpg

Once this set arrives I will sell 1997 Solti Ring CD set used at Amazon USA. the difference will be very small extra cost to upgrade to deluxe Ring

Itullian
May 9th, 2013, 10:28 PM
I did not order this live Meister, but did order the deluxe Solti Ring for $113 new on Ebay, this is an amazing bargain!

Limited edition with only 7,000 available worldwide, next year you will crying why didn't I listen to DA and buy this, lowest price I have seen previously was $250 (Amazon $281). Completely new remaster for CDs and entire audio Ring on special single blu ray disc in better than CD sound quality

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KsitMf5L._SY300_.jpg

Once this set arrives I will sell 1997 Solti Ring CD set used at Amazon USA. the difference will be very small extra cost to upgrade to deluxe Ring

Makes me wonder how many times they're gonna remaster this Ring.

Jephtha
May 10th, 2013, 12:11 AM
I have a previous mastering and the sound is already finer than mortal man deserves, so I will pass on this new set.

Dark_Angel
May 10th, 2013, 12:56 AM
Makes me wonder how many times they're gonna remaster this Ring.

I am almost sure there will never be another super deluxe package like this for Solti Ring, because of limited production run I am seriously thinking of buying extra set(s) to resell in future for much more than $113......

I was reading that the original master tapes are already in such bad condition this 2012 deluxe remaster had to use the 1997 digital masters, every review I have read says these are best ever sound for Solti Ring

Dark_Angel
May 10th, 2013, 01:04 AM
Makes me wonder how many times they're gonna remaster this Ring.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KsitMf5L._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Ring-Nibelungen-Super-Deluxe/dp/B008J1QFLU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368147656&sr=1-1&keywords=solti+ring) 2012 deluxe limited edition remaster

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZCGL8ZUxL._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Operas-Various-Artists/dp/B008H29YVY/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368147807&sr=1-3&keywords=solti+ring) 1997 remaster

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41Zh09I8cvL._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Wagner-Ring-Nibelungen-Cycle/dp/B0000042H4/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368147749&sr=1-2&keywords=solti+ring) 1997 remaster


http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BTsOE29kL._AA160_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/Ring-Nibelungen-Rheingold-Siegfried-Gotterdammerung/dp/B00000E2X4/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1368147807&sr=1-7&keywords=solti+ring) 1990 remaster

brianwalker
May 11th, 2013, 06:54 PM
Just got finished listening to Meistersinger, Knappertsbusch, 1960,MYTO.
This is a fantastic recording. It competes with the best for the top spot.
The sound is great. I'd almost think its stereo. Its so full and rich.
Greindl is a rich voiced warm Sachs with plenty of heft.
Grummer is wonderful as Eva. And Windgassen is a strong
powerful sounding Walther. The rest of the cast is just as good and the chorus and orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival is inspired throughout.
If you love Meistersinger you've got to get this recording.
Only about 25d for a little slice of Heaven.
It doesn't get much better than this.
Get it. :)

The same recording is also available from Melodram for a much steeper price. Was Melodram a newer, better release?

Dark_Angel
May 16th, 2013, 07:02 PM
I did not order this live Meister, but did order the deluxe Solti Ring for $113 new on Ebay, this is an amazing bargain!

Limited edition with only 7,000 available worldwide, next year you will crying why didn't I listen to DA and buy this, lowest price I have seen previously was $250 (Amazon $281). Completely new remaster for CDs and entire audio Ring on special single blu ray disc in better than CD sound quality

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418KsitMf5L._SY300_.jpg

Once this set arrives I will sell 1997 Solti Ring CD set used at Amazon USA. the difference will be very small extra cost to upgrade to deluxe Ring

WARNING

Ebay vendor is not selling the deluxe Ring set as pictured in his add, instead shipped the complete Solti boxset, I am not happy! :mad-new:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZCGL8ZUxL._SX300_.jpg

Soave_Fanciulla
May 16th, 2013, 08:27 PM
WARNING

Ebay vendor is not selling the deluxe Ring set as pictured in his add, instead shipped the complete Solti boxset, I am not happy! :mad-new:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZCGL8ZUxL._SX300_.jpg

Oh dear! Can you get your money back?

Dark_Angel
May 16th, 2013, 09:19 PM
Oh dear! Can you get your money back?

I have not done an Ebay return before so this is my first try, so far not as easy or as fast as Amazon......

Schigolch
May 16th, 2013, 09:33 PM
This is a fraud, pure and simple.

Jephtha
May 16th, 2013, 10:17 PM
This is a fraud, pure and simple.

It certainly is. It is also a felony. Perhaps Dark Angel should mention that little fact when communicating with the vendor; it might improve the odds of getting the proper item that was purchased.

Soave_Fanciulla
May 16th, 2013, 10:31 PM
I had a look on Ebay and there also seems to be a "report item" button. Maybe DA should use this as well.

Amfortas
May 16th, 2013, 11:51 PM
Maybe DA needs to contact the DA.

Dark_Angel
May 19th, 2013, 11:31 PM
Another Wagner sound restoration miracle thanks to Pristine Classical, 1950 Furtwangler Ring (la scala)

I have heard the existing wretched CD versions of ths Ring and they are awful, I am just shocked how good the remaster from Pristine sounds, it is an unbelievable transformation, Itullian you must hear this!

There is a free 22 minute mp3 Gotterdammerung act 2 sample near bottom of this page, click on link and select open to play on your computers mp3 player:

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs142/1104014358705/archive/1113436538537.html

http://www.pristineclassical.com/media/Pictures/new/PACO093.jpg (http://operalively.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=furtwangler+wagner+pristine+classical&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=8B2tFObu3hJk9M&tbnid=iqQJCjegQIL1jM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pristineclassical.com%2F&ei=nGGZUdGiNKraygGeoIDwAQ&psig=AFQjCNEEDd6jI0tyedEc7mMNZvgvegvfJA&ust=1369092887158408)

Itullian
May 21st, 2013, 09:34 PM
Another Wagner sound restoration miracle thanks to Pristine Classical, 1950 Furtwangler Ring (la scala)

I have heard the existing wretched CD versions of ths Ring and they are awful, I am just shocked how good the remaster from Pristine sounds, it is an unbelievable transformation, Itullian you must hear this!

There is a free 22 minute mp3 Gotterdammerung act 2 sample near bottom of this page, click on link and select open to play on your computers mp3 player:

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs142/1104014358705/archive/1113436538537.html

http://www.pristineclassical.com/media/Pictures/new/PACO093.jpg (http://operalively.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=furtwangler+wagner+pristine+classical&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=8B2tFObu3hJk9M&tbnid=iqQJCjegQIL1jM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pristineclassical.com%2F&ei=nGGZUdGiNKraygGeoIDwAQ&psig=AFQjCNEEDd6jI0tyedEc7mMNZvgvegvfJA&ust=1369092887158408)

Thanks DA,
So its better than the newest Archipel issues , which I have?

Dark_Angel
May 21st, 2013, 09:43 PM
Thanks DA,
So its better than the newest Archipel issues , which I have?

Did you listen to that mp3 sample......nothing comes close to that sound quality, a new reference by Andrew Rose of Pristine Audio

Yashin
July 26th, 2013, 06:55 PM
Anyone seen or bought the new Ring Cycle DVDs from either Frankfurt or Teatro Colon?
I quite fancy the Frankfurter Ring conducted by Weigle and concept by Nemirova.

The Teatro Colon Ring is the shortened 7hr version.

Any views on the Frankfurt Ring?

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 27th, 2013, 01:49 AM
Anyone seen or bought the new Ring Cycle DVDs from either Frankfurt or Teatro Colon?
I quite fancy the Frankfurter Ring conducted by Weigle and concept by Nemirova.

The Teatro Colon Ring is the shortened 7hr version.

Any views on the Frankfurt Ring?

Is the Colon 7-hour version out on DVD?
I have profound doubts about this project.
I may be just prejudiced, since I haven't seen it (it's the sheer definition of pre-judice) but somehow it feels very... hm... almost offensive to me.

Because, see, I profoundly love the Ring.

One wouldn't notice it, because out of my 6,263 posts to date (and 8,100 elsewhere before I founded Opera Lively), how many times have I addressed the Ring? Not many. Very few.

Still, it's my very favorite opera, and by far, very far.

So, why don't I post about it more often? Because it overwhelms me. I'm in awe of it, I get speechless. I don't feel qualified to say anything about it. It hits me like a brick and I just can't think right. It's visceral, it's wordless. My enjoyment of the Ring is a silent one. I go back to it from time to time, and just experience this solitary bliss, this ocean of sounds that roll over me, that can't be put in words. So, as much as I've spent the bulk of my free time (meaning, whatever time I can spare from my day job and from my family obligations) talking about and writing about opera, the one I like the most to the point of complete adoration, is the one I talk the least about.

For me, its 15-16 hours go by in a second, and time flies. At the end, I want more, not less. I can't imagine how a spectacular piece of art like this (what I deem as the most beautiful art work ever created by a human being throughout the entire history of the arts) could be improved by mutilating it to less than half its original duration. Are some parts of Siegfried a bit overlong? Sure. Still, I don't mind listening to them, and while I do think that Wagner should have reduced Siegfried a bit, I can't see in any of the other three operas any part that I wouldn't want to have there.

And then, I see a rather disturbing danger there. Yes, the Ring is expensive and hard to stage, especially given the need for so many singers capable of fighting off a Wagnerian orchestra. So, if we get into this trend of abridged Ring, won't this be a temptation for cash-strapped companies? Will we start seeing most Rings abridged, and will it become rare for a company to put up the whole thing? Where will it end? Next, we'll have the Disneyland or the Hollywood sanitized version of the Ring.

No, give me the full Ring, please. I definitely don't like this abridged thingy, even without seeing it, prejudice or not.

I'm aware of the argument for it: "It will make the Ring more accessible, after all it is hard for the public to commit to 16 hours of music over four evenings, so, they'll be able to enjoy these 7 hours of highlights, and we'll be doing a service to Wagner's music because later they'll develop an appetite for the whole thing.'

No, I say. The Ring is one, long, coherent piece. It evolves in a very well established pattern. It has a sequence of leitmotifs, and children leitmotifs, and grandchildren leitmotifs. Disrupt it, and it's not the same.

And the Ring is powerful enough to conquer anybody with a minimum of artistic inclination. I'm quite sure that anybody who DESERVES to listen to the Ring and is able to appreciate its exquisite beauty, will not mind its duration.

Someone who needs to cut it to less than half to tolerate it, doesn't deserve it.

Is this an elitist thought? Well, if it is, I don't mind. Lately I have embraced the elitist label a lot more. I do think opera is elitist. So what?

But it's not that. It's a question of capacity to be touched by it. If you have it, you don't need an abridged version, you can perfectly take on the whole thing.

If you don't have it, then go see some Beyoncé show. She is good, and sexy. I actually think she is talented.

But if you do have the kind of sensibility that allows you to be touched by the Ring, by all means, treat yourself to the whole thing, don't curtail the pleasure, don't abridge the enjoyment.

PS - I'm sorry, Yashin. This rant is not addressed to you, not at all. You just asked a fair question about whether anybody has purchased this. It just triggered my thoughts. My rant is addressed to the Teatro Colon people who made the 7-hour Ring, not to you. Besides, you obviously do have the capacity to enjoy the full Ring, so you're definitely not the target here. It's just me, ranting about a pet peeve.

Yashin
July 27th, 2013, 07:59 AM
Well said Almaviva. My only thought about the Teatro Colon Ring is that it is do-able in an evening or a long afternoon! Often we listen to "bleeding chunks" of opera rather than the whole thing. What worries me about this new Ring cycle is that it has been cut too far...Das Rheingold is really just an Entre.

Here Are some reviews i have seen of the live performance:
http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2012/12/06/controversial-colon-ring/

http://www.operanews.com/Opera_News_Magazine/2013/3/Reviews/BUENOS_AIRES__ColonRing.html

This week I was lucky to be at the Albert Hall in London to watch Barenboim conduct Die Walkure with Nina Stemme, Bryn Terfel and Anja Kampe. Wonderful performance, raving reviews around the net. It was steaming hot in there however. Anyway, it reignited my love for the Ring, but Die Walkure is not my favourite. Give me Rheingold or Siegfried anyway.

Have about 7 or 8 Ring Cycles on DVD so will have to think about the Nemirova Frankfurt Ring. I have seen good and not so good reviews of the Cd and DVD recordings of this production.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 27th, 2013, 11:20 AM
Oh wow, reading the first review you've quoted, I'm even less eager to approach this aberration. This line says it all: "it goes against the grain of artistic integrity."

And doing away with Erda??? What were they thinking???

So, when the stage director, conductor, and musical adapter all quit before the opening night, it kind of hints at the fact that this is a colossal failure.

PS - The Opera News review confirms the above.

tyroneslothrop
July 27th, 2013, 12:38 PM
Is the Colon 7-hour version out on DVD?
I have profound doubts about this project.
I may be just prejudiced, since I haven't seen it (it's the sheer definition of pre-judice) but somehow it feels very... hm... almost offensive to me.

Because, see, I profoundly love the Ring.

One wouldn't notice it, because out of my 6,263 posts to date (and 8,100 elsewhere before I founded Opera Lively), how many times have I addressed the Ring? Not many. Very few.

Still, it's my very favorite opera, and by far, very far.

So, why don't I post about it more often? Because it overwhelms me. I'm in awe of it, I get speechless. I don't feel qualified to say anything about it. It hits me like a brick and I just can't think right. It's visceral, it's wordless. My enjoyment of the Ring is a silent one. I go back to it from time to time, and just experience this solitary bliss, this ocean of sounds that roll over me, that can't be put in words. So, as much as I've spent the bulk of my free time (meaning, whatever time I can spare from my day job and from my family obligations) talking about and writing about opera, the one I like the most to the point of complete adoration, is the one I talk the least about.

For me, its 15-16 hours go by in a second, and time flies. At the end, I want more, not less. I can't imagine how a spectacular piece of art like this (what I deem as the most beautiful art work ever created by a human being throughout the entire history of the arts) could be improved by mutilating it to less than half its original duration. Are some parts of Siegfried a bit overlong? Sure. Still, I don't mind listening to them, and while I do think that Wagner should have reduced Siegfried a bit, I can't see in any of the other three operas any part that I wouldn't want to have there.

And then, I see a rather disturbing danger there. Yes, the Ring is expensive and hard to stage, especially given the need for so many singers capable of fighting off a Wagnerian orchestra. So, if we get into this trend of abridged Ring, won't this be a temptation for cash-strapped companies? Will we start seeing most Rings abridged, and will it become rare for a company to put up the whole thing? Where will it end? Next, we'll have the Disneyland or the Hollywood sanitized version of the Ring.

No, give me the full Ring, please. I definitely don't like this abridged thingy, even without seeing it, prejudice or not.

I'm aware of the argument for it: "It will make the Ring more accessible, after all it is hard for the public to commit to 16 hours of music over four evenings, so, they'll be able to enjoy these 7 hours of highlights, and we'll be doing a service to Wagner's music because later they'll develop an appetite for the whole thing.'

No, I say. The Ring is one, long, coherent piece. It evolves in a very well established pattern. It has a sequence of leitmotifs, and children leitmotifs, and grandchildren leitmotifs. Disrupt it, and it's not the same.

And the Ring is powerful enough to conquer anybody with a minimum of artistic inclination. I'm quite sure that anybody who DESERVES to listen to the Ring and is able to appreciate its exquisite beauty, will not mind its duration.

Someone who needs to cut it to less than half to tolerate it, doesn't deserve it.

Is this an elitist thought? Well, if it is, I don't mind. Lately I have embraced the elitist label a lot more. I do think opera is elitist. So what?

But it's not that. It's a question of capacity to be touched by it. If you have it, you don't need an abridged version, you can perfectly take on the whole thing.

If you don't have it, then go see some Beyoncé show. She is good, and sexy. I actually think she is talented.

But if you do have the kind of sensibility that allows you to be touched by the Ring, by all means, treat yourself to the whole thing, don't curtail the pleasure, don't abridge the enjoyment.

PS - I'm sorry, Yashin. This rant is not addressed to you, not at all. You just asked a fair question about whether anybody has purchased this. It just triggered my thoughts. My rant is addressed to the Teatro Colon people who made the 7-hour Ring, not to you. Besides, you obviously do have the capacity to enjoy the full Ring, so you're definitely not the target here. It's just me, ranting about a pet peeve.

I can't stand abridged editions. I even get upset when directors do that because of musician union regulations (seriously--for example at Wolf Trap Opera). I only make the slightest except for works like Einstein on the Beach or Rienzi where the entirety of the work can be adequately represented by a subset, but even there, I feel queasy. In general, I am horribly conservative about wanting the music and libretto to be untouched (even untranslated), and for there to be no transpositions, even the half step kind which get written into tenor and soprano contracts which certain people we know agree with opera houses. But after that, give me any kind of staging. I'm quite liberal with that, and certainly departing from composer's stage directions is ok. I may or may not like the result, but that will just be a judgement call of the personal sort. I know this may seem inconsistent, but c'est la vie.

Dark_Angel
July 27th, 2013, 12:42 PM
Anyone seen or bought the new Ring Cycle DVDs from either Frankfurt or Teatro Colon?
I quite fancy the Frankfurter Ring conducted by Weigle and concept by Nemirova.

The Teatro Colon Ring is the shortened 7hr version.

Any views on the Frankfurt Ring?

Seems to be a deluge of recent Rings being issued on DVD/blu ray, I have checked samples of both of these on youtube and neither one appeals enough to me to consider purchase.

The Frankfurt Ring uses a severe "ring inside the ring" production concept which forces all action to bend to its physical limitations of concentric rings, although like a broken clock there is one scence where all seems to work, the end of Walkure and the descending fire ring has a dramatic and effective visual effect.......


http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=exZMuk41BJI

Only two modern blu ray Rings I have purchased are the Valencia Ring and "the machine" from MET

MAuer
July 27th, 2013, 05:21 PM
One of the more amusing incidents surrounding the Colón Ring was the reaction by the arranger, Cord Garben, when the folks in Buenos Aires did some tinkering of their own and restored some of the cuts he'd made. He howled like a banshee and made sure that the next opera company to stage "his" Ring wouldn't tamper with it. And as far as I could tell from reading the article in one of my German magazines (I think it may have been Opernwelt), the guy saw absolutely no irony in his attitude. He could take Wagner's entire cycle apart, eliminate characters, and rearrange the sequence of events, but how dare anyone have the temerity to touch something of his!

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 27th, 2013, 05:56 PM
One of the more amusing incidents surrounding the Colón Ring was the reaction by the arranger, Cord Garben, when the folks in Buenos Aires did some tinkering of their own and restored some of the cuts he'd made. He howled like a banshee and made sure that the next opera company to stage "his" Ring wouldn't tamper with it. And as far as I could tell from reading the article in one of my German magazines (I think it may have been Opernwelt), the guy saw absolutely no irony in his attitude. He could take Wagner's entire cycle apart, eliminate characters, and rearrange the sequence of events, but how dare anyone have the temerity to touch something of his!

Amazing. I hope no company revives this aberration.

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 28th, 2013, 06:15 AM
Oh wow, brace for this: Minnesota Concert Opera is presenting "The Mini-Ring" in September, 4 hours!!!!

Amfortas
July 28th, 2013, 08:35 AM
Oh wow, brace for this: Minnesota Concert Opera is presenting "The Mini-Ring" in September, 4 hours!!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkmi_UTsjtE

MAuer
July 28th, 2013, 06:19 PM
Oh wow, brace for this: Minnesota Concert Opera is presenting "The Mini-Ring" in September, 4 hours!!!!


Sounds to me like a concert of "bleeding chunks." I don't know how else that entire cycle could be condensed into four hours.

And unfortunately, one of the opera companies in Asia will be presenting Garben's slice-and-dice version.

Yashin
July 28th, 2013, 08:07 PM
Sounds to me like a concert of "bleeding chunks." I don't know how else that entire cycle could be condensed into four hours.

And unfortunately, one of the opera companies in Asia will be presenting Garben's slice-and-dice version.

Do we know which/where is Asia? To be honest we get so little opera here in Asia any Wagner performance seems like Christmas has come early!!!

Yashin
July 28th, 2013, 08:18 PM
Any recommendations for Ring cycle books? I have just bought Donnington's book about the Ring and its symbols. Very interesting. Any others you are fond of? I have the Shaw, Millington, Owen Lee books.

Amfortas
July 28th, 2013, 09:02 PM
Dercyk Cooke's I Saw the World End (http://www.amazon.com/Saw-World-End-Clarendon-Paperbacks/dp/0193153181/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375045395&sr=1-1&keywords=deryck+cooke+i+saw+the+world) skillfully lays out some of the interpretive problems the Ring presents, then goes on to examine Wagner's brilliant synthesis of his varied source material. Sadly, Cooke died with his great project less than half completed (he discusses the text only through Die Walküre, and never got to his volume of musical analysis at all). Still, it's essential Ring reading. Be warned, though: he doesn't think much of Donington.

Dark_Angel
July 29th, 2013, 02:37 AM
Dercyk Cooke's I Saw the World End (http://www.amazon.com/Saw-World-End-Clarendon-Paperbacks/dp/0193153181/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375045395&sr=1-1&keywords=deryck+cooke+i+saw+the+world) skillfully lays out some of interpretive problems the Ring presents, then goes on to examine Wagner's brilliant synthesis of his varied source material. Sadly, Cooke died with his great project less than half completed (he discusses the text only through Die Walküre, and never got to his volume of musical analysis at all). Still, it's essential Ring reading. Be warned, though: he doesn't think much of Donington.

Speaking of Cooke, there is a useful 2CD set where he comments on various music elements of Wagners Ring (Solti recording) and then plays the music segment that demonstrates his point, gives a direct learning guide.

Another worthy acquisition very cheap used is "Rackhams Illustrations"
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51slgFov3qL._SL500_AA280_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/B000VHKIGS/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=163856011&s=dmusic)http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AFK50400L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

tyroneslothrop
July 29th, 2013, 03:52 AM
Any recommendations for Ring cycle books? I have just bought Donnington's book about the Ring and its symbols. Very interesting. Any others you are fond of? I have the Shaw, Millington, Owen Lee books.

This is not a recommendation of a single book, but one of a consumate Wagnerian expert: John Louis Digaetani (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Louis_DiGaetani). He has many books out on the Ring and other works by Wagner (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_st?qid=1375069352&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AJohn+Louis+Digaetani&sort=daterank). I highly recommend anything by him. I have about half of his books and already have his next (see last image below) on pre-order.

Below is just his Wagner-related output:
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51414YN9CGL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WGl3Eg6eL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51w0ByPkGYL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AQQNX94YL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517FGuiemNL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71V5gpNQRQL._SL1197_.jpg

Amfortas
July 29th, 2013, 08:59 AM
Speaking of Cooke, there is a useful 2CD set where he comments on various music elements of Wagners Ring (Solti recording) and then plays the music segment that demonstrates his point, gives a direct learning guide.

I first listened to Cooke's musical guide more than thirty years ago, pretty much simultaneous with my initial exposure to the Ring itself. It's still the best introduction I know to Wagner's leitmotifs, allowing for appreciation of the work on a whole new level.

Had Cooke lived to finish his book, he would have provided an unparalleled, detailed analysis of the Ring's musical development moment by moment. As it is, the musical guide he left us remains indispensible

Yashin
July 29th, 2013, 02:56 PM
Wonderful thank you guys!

Actually a book I really enjoyed it Peter Basset's book on the Ring. It is pretty hard to get now and I think he did one on Tristan and Parsifal. Like I say seems hard to find these...would love the Parsifal one

Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
July 29th, 2013, 03:22 PM
There's also, among many others and the ones quoted above, two more that I like: John Culshaw's "Ring Resounding" - an account of the first Solti recording, and a more general book that addresses all of Wagner's mature operas in a briefer, useful guide-like format, Ernest Newman's "The Wagner Operas."

Yashin
July 29th, 2013, 03:42 PM
I see Naxos have a Ring cycle app for $9 with exerpts and information about each Leitmotif , might have a look

Yashin
July 29th, 2013, 03:59 PM
On I see that in Europe the Barenboim Ring from Milan, think it said 2010 will be released starting with Das Rheingold. Rene Pape is Wotan.
I did see this series in Japanese shops but it was ridiculously expensive like $300 or more.

After the storming success of Barenboims Ring cycle at the Royal Albert Hall ( listen to it for a few more days in the BBC radio website) I think people are kind of hoping it gets released on cd