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Schubert - Fierrabras (2007)

Jonas Kaufmann , Juliane Banse , Claus Guth  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

Schubert - Fierrabras + Paisiello - Nina / Bartoli, Kaufmann, Polgar, Galstian, Veccia, Fischer, Zurich Opera + Mozart - La Clemenza di Tito (Opernhaus Zurich 2005)
Price for all three: $73.45

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jonas Kaufmann, Juliane Banse, Christoph Strehl, Laszlo Polgar, Guido Gotzen
  • Directors: Claus Guth
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Digital Sound, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: Spanish, German, French, Italian, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Classics
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 171 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UINP1S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,106 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Jonas Kaufmann, Juliane Banse, Twyla Robinson, and Michael Volle star in this Zurich Opera production of the Schubert singspiel conducted by Franz Welser-Moest.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(13)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glorious Schubert December 14, 2007
By Richard
Verified Purchase
The greatest mystery surrounding Fierrabras is why it is so named. Fierrabras is present for maybe half of Act 1, not at all in act 2 and only sings in ensembles in Act 3. It is as though Verdi called Otello Rodgrido. Fierrabras neither gets the girl nor dies. What gives? This production from Munich places the whole opera in Schubert's study complete with a huge grand piano, giant chair and Schubert himself furthering the action by supplying music, cues etc. In the finale the mystery is brought home as Schubert gives everyone except Fierrabras music to sing. Well, you weren't expecting Wagner let alone Weber were you? The plot is pretty undramatic and having the composer as musica ex machina doesn't hurt and may even give a little umph to the work. The plot concerns Charlemagne's fight against the Moors. Roland is one of the main characters. Fierrabras is the son of the Morrish king. But don't worry about the plot - listen to the music. This is Schubert and the melody flows in abundance. There are hints of Weber and the prison scene comes close to plagiarising Fidelio but Schubert pours forth glorious song without end. As I said above the action has been moved into Schubert's study. For some reason all the leading men wear spectacles like Schubert. And there is a lot of business with blindfolds. But at least there are no trench coats in sight. I am unfamiliar with any of the singers but they are all excellent. And Welser-Most has an obvious love for the score. Any lover of Schubert should savor this attempt at opera even though it is not a success.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Schubert's Brain... June 16, 2008
Verified Purchase
...is the setting for this rare production by the often innovative Zurich Opera House. The stage is Schubert's own music room, with Schubert himself in the throes of composing an opera, Fierrabras to be, on a story he has hardly begun to resolve himself. Schubert speaks occasionally but never sings, jots notes to himself, escorts his characters on and off stage through the innumerable doors of his imagination, and hovers anxiously as they sing his impassioned music. The story concerns a Frankish king, a Moorish prince, and a triangle of lovers from both camps. In many ways, the libretto is leftover Baroque, not quite coherent but open-ended enough to allow poetic outbursts of sentiment to be rendered as Lieder. The music is pure German romanticism, equipoised between Beethoven and Wagner. The juxtaposition is sketchy at best, although if one saw enough productions one might begin to suspend disbelief. After all, the story is no more absurd than most of Handel's. The clever folk at the Zurich Opera House have done well to stage Fierrabras 'psychologically' and symbolically, rather than as a gaudy chivalric pageant. The tentative presence of poor love-stricken Schubert - literally stricken, soon to die of syphilis - aptly corresponds to the tentative nature of the opera, the composer's effort to invent a genre to satisfy his romantic inklings. The same opera company, with conductor Franz Welser-Möst, has produced one of the most intelligent and satisfying DVDs of Mozart's Magic Flute - the only production I've seen that realizes Mozart's philosophical intent.

Of course it's the music that justifies producing Fierrabras at all. Commissioned in 1823, it was never staged and Schubert was never paid for it. The first production ever was in Vienna in 1988.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Staged in Schubert's Imagination!!! April 2, 2008
This is an opera with glorious music (on par with Mozart)and wonderful singing with very clever staging. I don't know if Schubert is actually a part of the opera or if this was director Gudrun Hartmann's idea. But, the entire opera takes place in Schubert's music room with a gigantic piano and chair, which are probably the only "real" things in the room; the rest is Schubert's imagination. He is present through the entire production taking part in every scene. He is composing and directing as the thing moves along, handing music to the players, bringing them onto the stage, positioning their hands, etc. All the romantic heroes, Fierrabras, Eginhard and Roland, are his alter egos. How do I know this? Schubert pictures them as himself: the four are all dressed alike, wearing identical glasses. The actor who plays Schubert, Wolfgang Beuschel, has a speaking part only though he hardly says a word. His main job is to reflect emotions as the action proceeds. You see that he is feeling all this as his imagination produces the opera. And he does an excellent job!

The principal singers, Laszlo Polgar, the king; Juliane Banse, his daughter, Emma; Michael Volle, Roland; Jonas Kaufmann, Fierrabras; Christoph Strehl, Eginhard; Twyla Robinson, Florinda; and Gunther Groissbock, Boland; were each excellent as solos and together as ensembles.

If you view this opera as a creation being produced while you watch it, the bizarre aspects of the staging make sense and you can focus on and just enjoy the rich music and fine acting.

This whole thing is very Zurich, a very innovative opera house. Franz Welser-Most conducts masterfully.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The music I'd like to hear in heaven. December 13, 2007
I think this is not strictly an opera. I don't like they put in stage Schubert himself as a character. But music and vocal score are great, kissed by heaven.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars I love Schubert, but...
This was probably the most weirdly staged piece of Eurotrash I have ever seen. The singing was good, but I really wanted to get some idea of what the opera is about. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S. Meals
3.0 out of 5 stars A friendly suggestion: read the libretto [from Wikipedia] before...
This is a not very professionally staged performance, so without knowing the war-story of Charlemgne and the Knight Roland, the opera [or Singspiel] makes no sense. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. Denes
3.0 out of 5 stars All's Well That Ends Well.
At long last an opera without blood, gore, and tragedy. I liked the idea of having an actor impersonate Franz Schubert who is watching the opera as it unfolds, making notes, and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by jutta joines
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a surprise!
Before listening to this opera, I had no idea Schubert even wrote operas. This is very nice, and I must say I prefer it to most of Schubert's songs. Read more
Published 13 months ago by perdjc
4.0 out of 5 stars Schubert's unknown side
I'm writing a review because if others hadn't done so and turned me on to this fine work, I would have missed out. Read more
Published 21 months ago by hh
3.0 out of 5 stars Who staged this?!!!!!
I am a great fan of Jonas Kaufmann and adore Schubert, which is why I purchased this "unknown" opera DVD. Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Beth Pierce
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless Beauty!
Don't be put off by difficulties with the libretto. Confusion over it is understandable. "Fierabras" is pure Rosicrucian-inspired genius, light years beyond even "The Magic Flute",... Read more
Published on March 2, 2010 by M. Frank Ruppert
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent production with an excellent male cast.
So this is the last opera of Franz Schubert. Not having heard nor seen this opera before, I congratulate the producer for the success in presenting this long and musically... Read more
Published on July 14, 2008 by Abert
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting as a rarely heard opera
Although this opera contains some nice music, It isn't a great opera. It was well performed and I found it interesting to hear an opera by Schubert. Read more
Published on December 6, 2007 by A. BOSS
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