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Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde / Charbonnet, Forbis, Fujimura, Dohmen, Reiter, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Jordan, Py (Grand Theatre de Geneve 2005) (2006)

Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet , Clifton Forbis , Andy Sommer , Olivier Py  |  NR |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jeanne-Michele Charbonnet, Clifton Forbis, Mihoko Fujimura, Albert Dohmen, Armin Jordan
  • Directors: Andy Sommer, Olivier Py
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Digital Sound, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: German, French, English, Spanish
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French, English, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bel Air Classiques
  • DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
  • Run Time: 274 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F7BODA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,092 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
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Take six competent singers, a not overly-conceptual concept production, an established conductor and world-class orchestra, a young stage director cutting his chops, and you have a challenging evening of musical theater. But record a large part of each act in startling, unflattering close-ups with hand-held, jolting cameras jumping between natural color and the nuclear green glow of night vision and you have a VERY annoying and disappointing viewing experience. Wagner's most intimate and intense love story was evidently not dumped on heavily enough by stage director Olivier Py for the label's taste; the cretinous video director Andy Sommer was engaged to pull the performance down to the sad level of eurotrash productions currently sweeping the continent.

What frustrates in the videography most of all is that one never has a clear concept of the stage space. It wasn't until watching the documentary on the production that I found out there was actually a model ship sailing from one side of the stage to the other in Act I. The bizarre angles are particularly puerile in the first act; Act II is almost steady by comparison, and much is lost from upstage in Act III. After viewing this DVD one could actually go to a live revival of the production and see it for the first time.

Musically, the revelation of the performance is the handsome American tenor Clifton Forbis, whose Baritone-like timbre and even production in all registers make him an admirable and heroic Tristan. Showing no signs of vocal fatigue in the grueling marathon that is Act III, his voice only squeaks once in the frenzied last scene of Act II. His total fearlessness in singing the role allows him to devote more energy to character refinement, which is rare among today's Tristans.
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26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly original Tristan a wonderful experience October 2, 2006
I can't say how much I disagree with the two previous American 'critics' who enjoy pooh-poohing this very fine DVD production. Probably they like the others better. Do they prefer the Bayerishe Staatsoper's effort with the cocktails in the first act and the couch-flipping Tristan in the 2nd act or perhaps the literally unwatchable Met production ? The famous Barenboim from Bayreuth videotape dating from 80'-s is, of course, discontinued but that was was my favorite up to now.This new one with its totally up to date sound and picture quality must take precedence.

It might help if these 'critics' would concentrate on the positive aspects that do not seem to matter to them. This is a truly creative and original concept of stage design and lighting making this production unique.French director Olivier Py's total commitment is manifest everywhere down to the last detail. The colour change from realistic to infrared photography at the love potion scene, with emphasis on hands touching each other, is magical. In the Love Duet, the concept of interconnecting rooms (achieved by a revolving stage) with abrupt lighting changes gives new meaning to the text. The 3rd act set is incredible with its flooded stage, a `watery world' representing a continuum of life and death. Isolde's rise to `heaven' is a finale unlikely to be forgotten.

But I do agree about some aspects of the videography with too many changes and unnecessary tilting angles. It's unfortunate that everyone wants to be noticed and be a 'star'.

To knock Armin Jordan, an accomplished Wagnerian, who controls the score masterfully and never lets the tension sag is simply unforgiveable. Conducting with minimal movements his is a passionate performance of great insight with almost Furtwanglerian intuition.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I rate it higher for the singing but................ August 29, 2006
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I agree with almost everything the other SF reviewer said but I am giving the singers far more credit in the rating. The production seem interesting from what you could tell, in particular Act 3 (I wonder if all that water was room temperature <G>). BUT, I can't think of enough 4 letter words to describe how the video director absolutely ruined the experience. Act 1 was the worst and Act 2 was only slightly better. Act 3 was calm for a while at least. What was someone thinking when they allowed this man to make the video. PLEASE, never again!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Couchie
A lot of things have to come together to for a compelling opera DVD: The orchestra's playing, the conductor's interpretation, the singer's performance in terms of both vocals and acting, the set design, stage direction, costume design, as well as capturing and producing the audio and visuals.

Orchestra and conducting: world class. Singers: about as good as you can expect for Wagner in this day and age. Set design/costumes and direction: interesting and inspired at times and slightly stupid at others (fairly standard 21st century Regietheater fare here). Audio: Rich and well balanced.

So we're doing pretty well. And then you get some idiot who can't work a camera.

Really, for all the countless hours the orchestra players spent learning their instruments, the singers to learn the most demanding roles in the repertoire, and the director to create a vision and work for years to bring it to life, all we ask of the video director is that he point a camera at the stage and allow us to witness it. This proves too much a task for our video director who films the thing like a drunk highschool film student on a cellphone, and subsequently lays waste to the talent around him God unfortunately did not also bestow on him.

Watching this to get swept up in the overwhelming beauty of Wagner's music? You won't be able to. The camera jumps cuts approximately every 5 seconds or so at random, alternating between extreme closeups, to bizarre angles at a distance, to backstage, to THE ORCHESTRA (???), at complete disjunct with Wagner's gorgeously drawn out melodic lines, dicing them up so and obliterating their emotional impact. It appears to all be filmed by hand, the shakiness varying by cameraman. It's amateurish. It's garbage.
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