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Richard Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten


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Product Details

  • Actors: Wolfgang Sawallisch, Luana DeVol, Peter Seiffert, Janis Martin, Marjana Lipovsek
  • Directors: Ennosuke Ichikawa
  • Format: NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Dolby, Subtitled
  • Language: Castilian
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: March 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 183 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRP1YQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,348 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
73%
4 star
18%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
9%
See all 11 customer reviews
The sparse kabuki-style staging is very effective here.
A Reader
Bara k, his wife and brothers, representing humanity, looking more like Afghan nomads, seem rather smaller than life.
S. Lachterman
Run and secure a copy.....quick!, before they're all gone.
operaluver59

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Richard on April 9, 2007
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This production from the Bavaian opera on tour in Japan was created to celebrate Sawallish's 25 year association with the NHK orchestra and his farewell to the Bavarian. It is his favorite opera and it shows. What we have is my nomination for opera DVD of 2007 - productions like are alas seldom seen today.

The production side was given to Japanese artists, Westerners provided the music. Hofmanstall envisioned Frau taking place in the South Pacific but there is nothing particularly Asian about the music. Indeed most productions ignore the Eastern locale. Not here. The celestials come from Kabuki theater. The earthlings wear generic peasant. And when you see it you realize, yes, this is it.

Ichikawa honors the libretto insuring a production that would have delighted its authors. This is a work of magic and it is available for our delectation - magic falcon, flying fish, a sword. The earthquake at the Act 2 finale will knock your socks off only to be outdone by the finale itself. He even manages to make the shodow visible.

The performane itself is better than we might hope for today. The sopranos are overtaxed at times and for once the men lead the day. But no one is less than fine. And Sawallish's conducting sings his love for this beautiful score although he makes some cuts which bring it in at 2:52 rather than Solti's 3:15. I think he is also faster than the Solti which is also excellent but only very good visually. It does not take your breath away. It does not make you a child again.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By S. Lachterman on April 18, 2007
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Now there are two: Solti and Sawallisch. In most aspects, this wonderful Sawallisch production clearly trumps Sir Georg Solti's recorded just two months earlier. First, Sawallisch's cast sings expressively, accurately, and musically without the heavy sweating and harsh vocalism that pervades Solti's. Secondly, Sawallisch claims Die Frau his favorite opera, and his enthusiasm is everywhere evident. Solti's reading seems dispassionate, workmanlike, and oddly colorless in spite of the ravishing sound of the Vienna Philharmonic. Sawallisch and the Bavarians aim at lightness, clarity, nuance, and color; while the pace can be a bit too fast (e.g. the final bars of Act III), Sawallisch's expressiveness is welcome alternative to Solti's flatland reading. Finally, and most importantly, the soloists here are stronger, more balanced, and in greater control of the opera's extreme demands. In particular, Janis Martin's Dyer's Wife sings this tortuous role with élan aural pleasantness in spite of her shrewish character's persona. By not sounding like a harridan (as Eva Marten does in Solti's), we are more likely to believe her redeeming qualities. As the Empress, Luana DeVol's transparent voice is immediately perceived in her opening moments: those athletic arabesques, set in an uncomfortably high tessitura, indicating the Empress's ethereal fragility, are sung pitch perfect - a rather unique accomplishment as this role goes. Alan Titus's Barak, while relaxed, is beautifully sonorous. Peter Seiffert's Emperor may be the best interpretation since Rene Kollo who practically owned the role a couple of decades ago.Read more ›
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Guntram on April 23, 2007
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Like a "Frau ohne Schatten" huge admirer(addicted,just to be honest)as I am,I can't refrain myself to say;this production is nothing less than remarkable!I loved to hear gorgeous Peter Seiffert performing the Emperor in his whole regal,strong tenor voice,Luana De Vol is just perfect both singing and acting this very,very difficult part(she's amazing and in fresh voice on act 3),Janis Martin can sing her part just like it's in the score contrary to shout terribly that all time(such a rare event;to hear Strauss vocal lines just like he put it on paper!),the whole cast is so well prepared that one can surely believes Sawallisch is the legitimate authority on this magnificent Strauss score.The huge orchestra and chorus are both great as well.Besides,in these bizarre production times and directors' emotional disorders absolutism,this dvd is just a heavenly,refreshing sight.Splendid costumes and stage setting catches properly that Hoffmansthal's fairy tale spirit.The final scene(the emperor and his wife over the bridge)is just to die for.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By adorian on November 23, 2007
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This is what a good "Frau" should look like. The Asian costumes and make-up (by a Japanese team) are brilliant. The stage effects are diverting. But the opera is heavily cut (the standard Karl Boehm edition). If you want uncut, go with the Solti-Studer-Marton version. All three ladies here have trouble with their high notes. but those costumes are just so interesting that you often don't care. You can usually tell how far-out things will be from the costume worn early on by the Spirit Messenger, and he does not disappoint with his bizarre outfit.

This performance ends the way too many opera DVDs end: group bows but no solo bows for the singers. The conductor (Sawallisch) gets a solo bow, and then the director gets a solo bow, and the audience gives him a huge ovation for this gorgeous opulent production. I wish I could have been there with them to cheer him.

"Frau" is my favorite German opera, so I want it uncut. And I want a soprano with a glorious soaring life-of-its-own top (I saw Rysanek do this live... with Nilsson). Luana DeVol is not in the Rysanek Big Leagues, but then who is? I want the Dyer's Wife to make loud Elektra noises, and Janis Martin does it here. Strauss was never kind to his tenors, but Peter Seiffert survives the arduous task of his two solo scenes. Alan Titus is Barak, and he does justice to those soft slow gorgeous melodies. Marjana Lipovsek is the Nurse, but she's much better on the Solti DVD, where she gets to sing all of her extra music that is cut here.
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