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Offenbach - Orpheus in der Unterwelt


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Product Details

  • Actors: William Workman, Franz Grundheber, Elisabeth Steiner, Toni Blankenheim, Regina Marheineke
  • Directors: Rolf Liebermann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000L42J40
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,384 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Liselotte Pulver, Inge Meysel, Franz Grundheber, Theo Lingen, Elisabeth Steiner, and Kurt Marschner star in this Hamburg State Opera production of the Offenbach opera conducted by Marek Janowski.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2007
Format: DVD
Offenbach's 'Orpheus in the Underworld' is by some considered to be his best operetta. Certainly it marked an advance in his oeuvre from the little one-acters he had done before. It retells the story of Orpheus and Eurydice with rather broad references to then-current 1858 Paris society. And it was a smash success, enough so that Offenbach was able to build a grandiose house -- Villa Orpheus -- on its proceeds. The music from this sparkling operetta is probably best known by most from the adaptation of many of its tunes by Manuel Rosenthal for the ballet 'Gaîté Parisienne' from which a popular suite has been excerpted.

This DVD is a 1971 color film made by the redoubtable Rolf Liebermann when he was the head honcho at the Hamburg Opera and is one of the first full-length color presentations of opera for television. It is taken from a stage presentation but was filmed in a TV studio, lavishly kitted out with sets and costumes from the stage presentation. The lip-synching singers are expertly dubbed. Sound is mono. The costumes are very late 60s, with attractive ladies in hot pants and knee-length fake-leather high-heeled boots, men in garish colors, wildly exaggerated mustaches, exuberant hats and cloaks, with an occasional feint in the direction of Greek costuming. The net result is a very dated-looking presentation (think 'Austin Powers').

Musically the presentation is fine, although it does at times seem a bit earthbound. The conductor is the workmanlike Marek Janowski, leading the Hamburg Philharmonic. Singers are attractive. Acting is broad and often tiresomely so. William Workman, then a young man at the beginning of his career, makes a fine Pluto.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Y.P. on January 15, 2011
Format: DVD
... After all, I almost never liked an opera "adapted" and translated, not even if the composer has authorized it.(*) This is especially true when I had previously watched the more "authentic" version, in this case the superb Lyon production DVD Offenbach - Orphée aux Enfers.

How wrong I was. This is thoroughly enjoyable production by the redoubtable Rolf Liebermann. Although adapted and sung in German, it was expertly done and the dialogues and songs are meshed into a tight structure. (For example, the dialogues are made to rhyme well, as far as my poor German can tell.) It was presented not as a theatric (stage) format, but really for the medium of the cinema. These are things to keep in mind.

As far as the film direction and acting go, I got a different impression from the other (well respected) reviewer. I thought the acting is juicy and delicious.... It's well directed by Joachim Hess, with Offenbachian sarcasm coated in the style of Hollywood musicals of the sixties. Hess collaborated with Fleckenstein to adapt the libretto to the German setting.

However, it's an operetta, and music is mostly what it counts. The Hamburg Philharmonic, led by Marek Janowski, performs this Orpheus more in line with the German operetta tradition.(**) Since it's sung in German, there is no incongruence often happening in the production of translated operas. It can be considered as a thoroughly enjoyable German operetta, for example. Singers are very good, and they also look their parts. All 5 "principals" are finely acted and sung.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By aussiger on January 22, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have seen this operetta a few times, on the stage in Europe and on DVD. The reason I liked this one best is because of the old German actors in the cast, especially Theo Lingen.
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The disc is still plagued by a periodic technical glitch. Part way into the DVD, the picture becomes a pattern of very large pixels and the sound is garbled. I discovered that all I have to do is to stop the opera, wait for 15 seconds and restart. That seems to solve the problem for another 22 minutes. To try to solve this, I bought a Blu-Ray player cleaner with some technical adjustments. No effect. It seems that the disc gets out of sync with something after about 22 minutes of play. Be nice if someone would be able to provide a real fix.

I'll keep it because I like German and it will aid in my learning more.
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