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Berg - Wozzeck / Vienna State Opera (2010)

Hildegard Behrens , Franz Grundheber , Peter Mussbach  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hildegard Behrens, Franz Grundheber, Claudio Abbado
  • Directors: Peter Mussbach
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 29, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003G0E3HW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,252 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Berg - Wozzeck / Vienna State Opera" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Claudio Abbado conducts the chorus and orchestra of the Vienna State Opera in a powerful recording of Alban Berg's influential opera, Wozzeck, a terrifyingly great portrayal of a soldier who is tormented and mocked by his superiors until he loses reason. Peter Mussbach's highly stylized production heightens the emotional intensity of this searing work and becomes an agonizing lament over lost innocence.

Cast:
Franz Grundheber
Hildegard Behrens
Walter Raffeiner
Philip Langridge
Heinz Zednik,
Aage Haugland

Conductor: Claudio Abbado
Director: Adolf Dresen
Chorus and Orchestra Of The Vienna State Opera
Chorus Master: Helmuth Froschauer
Costume Design: Herbert Kappelmüller
Executive Producer: Franz Kabelka
Video Director: Brian Large


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing, Gutwrenching Wozzeck January 18, 2005
Format:DVD
Wozzeck is among my most beloved operas and I find this performance to be one of the very best. On a purely vocal level, no singer since Matt Harrell (to these ears) under Mitropoulos has sung the role quite as beautifully as Dale Duesing, (perhaps Dieskau I'd put here too).

The production feels like a nightmare - and the nightmare is Wozzeck's (and ours). The dramatic situations arise out of (and become part of) the symbolism here. If the symbolism seems particularly abstract or doesn't make sense to you the first (or last) go 'round, don't make too much of it: we already know (or should know!) what the story is about.

We here see Wozzeck throughout, primarily barefoot and in pyjamas (or less), which further enhances the idea of his wandering/dreamlike state.

Then there's the Captain, in an almost naked pink piggy costume - revolting, yet somehow matches his music. I believe this is how Wozzeck sees him and thus, so do we.

Duesing inhabits Wozzeck in his entirety. You route for him and it becomes not only frightening, but ultimately heartbreaking to watch his horrific, inhuman demise. Duesing turns the scene following Marie's murder ("Tanzt Alle; tanzt nur zu, springt, schwitzt und stinkt, es holt Euch doch noch einmal der Teufel!" into a true classic operatic mad scene. Watching this man have a complete emotional meltdown my blood runs cold. Duesing also does some remarkably physical stunts, hanging from one arm, climbing, crawling, jumping all over the stage like a gymnast - and clearly relishing/identifying the directors "concept."

This is a masterful, once-in-a- lifetime performance.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
I have very mixed feelings about this staging of Berg's masterpiece, Wozzeck. Some elements are inspired while others are in remarkably poor taste. Fortunately, the instrumental performance is one of the strengths. It's quite solid - not the best, but not the worst that I've heard. I realize that the vocalists are probably a matter of taste, but I thought they were a real weakness. Wozzeck passable, but the rest were, in my opinion, not up to the usual standard.

The staging was intriguing. The set is a cube shape rather than the traditional wide stage. This seems like a small matter, but it really creates a feeling of unrest. Subliminally, we know something isn't right. It also serves to shrink the performance space reinforcing the deeply interior nature of the work. The sets were minimalist, but they worked well evoking an almost "Cabinet of Doctor Caligary" look. Some sets worked better than others, but overall, it remained interesting.

The costumes were a very weak point. The captain wears a distractingly bizarre costume consisting of hot pink pants that look as though they've been inflated with an air compressor. The doctor is a Dr. Strangelove lookalike minus the wheelchair. While you can chalk these wardrobe choices to Wozzeck's distorted mental state, I think they could have been better without seeming so ridiculous.

The sound quality posed some big problems. The loud parts are audibly compressed meaning that right as the orchestra reaches the peak of its cresendo, the volume gets lopped off, thus ruining the dramatic impact. I'm rather surprised that no one has commented on this in the other reviews, as it is a major flaw. This occurs frequently, whenever a certain dynamic threshold is reached. It's not infrequent and it WILL distract you.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
For once, here is a film of a live performance (in the Wiener Staatsoper - Vienna State Opera) where the stage-director has truly submitted himself to Berg's demands and needs. Herr Dreser manages it all without needing in the least to change time-periods (or costumes) or impose his ideas upon Berg's grisly yet appropriate (at times even beautiful! - try the lullaby section of Act I Scene 3, or Scenes 1 and 2 of Act 3 for proof thereof!!) score for this awful tale. This production truly brings out the whole truth in each one of the characters (truly, the Captain, "Doctor" and Drum-Major richly come across as the slime they are!!!) such that one can't but sympathise with the poor loser of an anti-hero that Franz Wozzeck is (all his circumstances are so totally against him and Marie even as they try to be good! - those inescapable realities combined with their intrinsic weaknesses as characters - Marie's lust, Wozzeck's insanity - finally overwhelm them both). It only could be improved upon (aside from some stage-movements and sequences related thereto) by an actual studio Hollywood-style film (under the directorship of a Franco Zeffirelli or Cecil B. DeMilne, perhaps Mel Gibson {not knowing this last-mentioned's work at this time} in terms of cine-video/photography); otherwise it's excellently done - and those of us interested in the orchestral workings get to benefit seeing this beautiful ensemble (the parent-ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic!) and Abbado's work in the critical interludes.

In an era where directors are encouraged to trample all over composers' directions (even in the most ludicrous ways imaginable!), this film is a salutary shot in the arm and a joy to see for those more traditionally minded like myself!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wozzeck...
Berg, so deep and dramatic, Behrens is wonderful. It's strong music and the story is tragic, you have to know your music and need to know something about Berg.
I love it.
Published 21 months ago by diane Vasica
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This strikes me as as fine a version as there is available at this time. I also have the Frankfurter Oper more surrealistic version under Sylvain Cambreling. Read more
Published on February 27, 2012 by Donald B. Anthony
5.0 out of 5 stars Wozzeck as Berg intended for it to be
Regardless of which production of Wozzeck is your favorite, I think it would be dishonest for anyone to not have this in their library. Read more
Published on December 12, 2011 by Just a student
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Production, but not the last word
This DVD contains an excellent production of Berg's famous opera, but it's perhaps not the definitive one, nor does there seem to be such a version since both the orchestral and... Read more
Published on May 11, 2011 by Paul S. Rottenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful performances, oddly staged
Beautifully sung, played, and acted with strikingly inventive characterizations. The overall effect is undermined by the video-conscious, audience-free, lost-in-space staging. Read more
Published on July 16, 2009 by Oliver VIII
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't overlook the character actors ...
I own a VHS of this.

Yes Hildegard Behrens is wonderful, and Grundheber is more than adequate in the title role, but the ones to watch closely are "Hauptmann" Heinz... Read more
Published on May 3, 2009 by Theodore Shulman
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem in ALL respects!!!
For once, here is a film of a live performance (in the Wiener Staatsoper - Vienna State Opera) where the stage-director has truly submitted himself to Berg's demands and needs. Read more
Published on December 15, 2008 by Alexander Z. Damyanovich
3.0 out of 5 stars Good work on the stage, but not so great in the musical part.
Wozzeck is one of my favourites operas, a work which I know in some of the most important performances: Bohm (DG), Boulez (CBS/Sony), Dohnanyi (Decca), Barenboim (Teldec), Abbado... Read more
Published on November 28, 2005 by Paco Yáñez
4.0 out of 5 stars Abstract Production
Good production of the opera, especially if you are familiar with the score and story and are open to an abstract production.
The Captain is not shown being shaved. Read more
Published on May 27, 2004 by Michael Garcia
3.0 out of 5 stars A stop-gap Wozzeck
The best word to decribe our reaction to this most likely made for TV production was "interresting". Read more
Published on May 17, 2004
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