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Arnold Schoenberg - Moses und Aron

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Franz Grundheber and Thomas Moser star in this 2006 Vienna State Opera production of the Schoenberg opera with Daniele Gatti conducting.


Stark staging builds on a dissonant score built around a single 12-tone row. -- Toronto Star,John Terauds,May 29th, 2007

While a number of fine recordings of Moses und Aron exist, this unique DVD of the opera makes a staging of the work accessible, with a variety of camera angle, including a judicious mixture of close-ups and longer shots of the stage. The recording is all the more remarkable for its origins in a live performance, since audience sounds are almost negligible in the DVD. It is an exemplary presentation that merits attention for conveying the opera well. With the stage details intact, and the wide-angle shots planned to make the best use of the stagecraft, the Nickler production, prepared for television by Claus Viller, is a fine example of filmed opera. The sound is quite fine and brings across the nuanced direction of Daniele Gatti, whose efforts join the ranks of other fine interpreters of this work, including Pierre Boulez and Georg Solti. -- Opera Today, James L. Zychowicz, June 2008

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Franz Grundheber, Thomas Moser, Ildiko Raimondi, Daniele Gatti, Peter Jelosits
  • Directors: Reto Nickler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound, Dolby, Subtitled
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, Spanish, Italian, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2007
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000OCZ7Z2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,362 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Y.P. on March 6, 2008
On the music performance: This is a sweeping performance. The conductor Daniele Gatti is well versed in verismo, and it shows. The orchestra of Wiener Staatsoper is most responsive to the demanding score. Both Grundheber as Moses and Moser as Aron seize every possibility for lyrical expression. The double choruses carry out the mission impossible by singing almost all notes in pitch. (If you have ever sung a 12-tone music, then you'd understand what I mean.) Overall, it is quite satisfying.

There are only minor reservations I have on the musical performance. The orchestral playing emphasizes the emotional sweep rather than the clarity of the polyphony linear structure. It's therefore not as easy to hear every note as in Pierre Boulez's CD set, a much cooler (and leaner) performance with razor-sharp precision. Thomas Moser's Aron is quite good, but there are more than one passage where his voice shows strain.

On the stage production: If you are reading this, you probably already know that Schoenberg's stage directions are absurdly unrealizable. (And the late composer admitted as such!) For example, the biblical miracles are to be performed on stage, so are the Four Naked Virgins copulating with the Golden Calf. The stage director Nickler takes a practical approach. TV monitors show the miracles in the first act, while presenting a backdrop for the Orgy Scene from the second act. The Golden Calf is presented as 3 Golden Words "ICH BIN GOTT" (I am God.)

Personally, I like the production of the first act, but find the second act not as satisfactory. The "consumer materialism" presentation did not capture my imagination too well, and it seems to depart from Schoenberg's stage direction a little too far for my taste.
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Osvaldo Colarusso on June 17, 2007
Arnold Schoenberg composed Moses und Aron when he was at the most high compositional maturity . He began a new compositional technique more than ten years before . And really I think that this opera is one of the principal works he composed and the most fascinating dodecaphonic music. Moses und Aron is in the top of the operas of the twentieth century, with Pelleas et Melisande by Debussy, the last operas of Janácek ,Salomé and Elektra by Strauss and Woozeck and Lulu by Berg. I believe that the time of Moses und Aron arrived, and the first DVD of this magnificent score must be commemorate .Fortunately the performance recorded here is very good. I hoped that the versions of the Metropolitan opera from New York and the production of the Amsterdam opera could be the first DVD of this opera . But the surprise is that this version is by far superior: like Georg Solti, the conductor here is not one specialist of Schoenberg, and this gave more impact in the dramatic sense .I believe that Boulez , in his two recordings , made one mistake conducting this opera without drama. Gatti make this opera sound with all we can expect from one dramatic music.
Grundheber ,that was a fantastic Wozzeck with Abbado , is superb here. Thomas Moser sings Aron like a beautiful music. Thomas Moser is comparable with Langridge ,one interpreter fantastic in the famous recording conducted by Solti . The orchestra, the two chorus and all the soloists play this music with the same fluidity of Mozart , Brahms and Mahler. The mise en scene is too very good . The costumes , the sets and the scenic idea work very well. I'm very happy with this DVD. Finally we can see this opera and hear the music played with a masterful performance .
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 3, 2007
This was an amazing production of Schönberg's masterpiece Moses und Aron. During the first act the color scheme of the stage is black with the word "ich" written all over in white chalk. During the second act gold dominates the stage. Everyone is wearing gold and a huge television screen shows pictures of bullfighting and surgery to go along with the ballets. The second act was really strange but cool! I do wish though that they would show more of the orchestra and the conductor. Great production of the best opera ever!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on December 3, 2008
Verified Purchase
... at least by analogy, extrapolation, or allegory. Witness the conviction held by both the Hanoverians and the Jacobites in England, when Handel was writing "Saul" and "Esther," that they were the new Chosen People, each righteously entitled to exterminate the other. I take Arnold Schönberg's single opera "Moses and Aron" to be more an allegory of Humanity, in its folly unready to surrender the old securities of revealed religion or to accept the unsensuous consolations of modern relativism. One of the rewards of relativism, of course, is that YOU can formulate your own interpretation of this most philosophical of all operas.

It's widely maintained that Aron and Moses was never finished, that Schönberg intended a third act but couldn't wrap it up. Personally, I find the ending as staged here by the Vienna State Opera very satisfactory. Moses sitting alone in desolation on the stage, murmuring about his failure to express the inexpressible, to wring finite meaning out of infinity.

My friend from Utah!, Y.P., has scooped me in his modest objections to the staging. The music has to be strong to pin my eyes and ears to a TV screen for 110 minutes, with all the clumsy shuffling! So much shoving and lurching, and yet so static! The Slovak Philharmonic Chorus needs a serious workshop in body awareness. And I was really looking forward to the four naked hussies copulating with the Golden Calf! Luckily the music is strong - very strong, even if the orchestra lacked transparency - and unique. The pairing of a speaking actor, Moses, and a singing actor, Aron, orating simultaneously is electrifying. Thomas Moser sings his role of Aron with just enough diffident insecurity and strain to sound like Yahweh's second fiddle.
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Arnold Schoenberg - Moses und Aron
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