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Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten

5 customer reviews

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(May 29, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

Already brimming with symbols and transformations, the epic fairytale recounted by Strauss and his librettist Hofmannsthal in Die Frau ohne Schatten acquires a further allegorical dimension in Christoph Loy's inventive production for the Salzburg Festival. The central character, the Empress - half-spirit, half-human, and unable to bear children until she finds a shadow - here becomes a young soprano who makes a voyage of personal and professional discovery as she records the opera. A superb cast fulfils the complex vocal and dramatic demands of the piece while Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic rise gloriously to the challenges of Strauss's most ambitious and splendid operatic score.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Evelyn Herlitzius
  • Directors: Christian Thielemann, Christof Loy
  • Writers: Richard Strauss, Hugo von Hofmannsthal
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM2 .0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
  • Run Time: 220 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007DCHZY2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,188 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard Chilson on June 7, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I approached this DVD with trepidation. It had received a couple good reviews. But I didn't like the idea of recreating its first audio recording. A Frau with no stage magic? Sounded like a cop out with all the stage magic just ignored.
But just a few minutes into the opera I was hooked. Not by the stage picture but by the sound. Thielemann draws forth the most glorious sound from the Vienna Phil I have ever heard. It is a beauteous burnished gold. Thielemann takes a leisurely approach to the score, and he also gives us the complete Frau unlike most performances. He is over ten minutes longer than Solti (also complete), and the slow pace allows the piece to blossom. This is fantastically beautiful writing with not a hint of the bombast that is usually made of much of the score.
Once the shock of the stage picture was over I was drawn in by the acting. This is a Frau with feeling. These characters may start out recording an opera but they quickly morph into their characters and, thanks to the direction from Loy, interact with great intensity, making this the pre-eminent Frau on DVD.
But should it be your first exposure to Frau? Frau along with the Magic Flute is the ultimate fairy tale opera. It is full of special effects whose difficulty helped keep it off the stage for so long. Just how do you portray flying fish, an emperor turned to stone before your eyes, and golden fountains springing up on stage?
Fortunately the other two recordings of Frau do take on the scenic challenge, and for a first time view you would do best with them. The Sawallish, from Japan, is filled with eye catching epiphanies. The Solti also cleaves to the original stage directions. It is not so fantastic as the Sawallish but it is complete, which the Sawallish is not.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DDD VINE VOICE on June 12, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Christof Loy's Salzburg production of Die Frau Ohne Schatten has aroused considerable comment both negative positive and has been documented on Amazon's pages .Accordingly I am not going to dwell on the production to any degree. If you are not aware of the production I refer you to YouTube; the clips provided should give you a chance to arrive at your own conclusion.

Suffice it to say that since I already had the Solti and Swallisch DVD's I welcomed a regie interpretation. Loy would not have been my first choice as a director in view of his Entfurung from the Liceo which left a great deal to be desired. Not I hasten to add from the performance which I found exciting, but the production which took Minimalism to a new high (or low?). Loy's Frosch , however, has converted me to his aesthetic in large part due to the musical aspects of the performance and Thielemann's conducting and the playing of the Vienna Philharmonic, and in particular to the singing of Schwanenwilms, Herlitzius, and Schuster. Solti's performance also from Salzburg has a wonderful Empress in Cheryl Studer; the decline in her career is truly a sad one. Perhaps we will know the reasons one day. Marton's Dyer's wife is at the point in her vocal arc where she vacillates between a steady emission of tone and a wobble which has moved beyond incipient. The Sawallisch performance benefits from the conductor's love of the score but is underminied by the casting of the Empress and the Dyer's wife. Neither are singers of distinction; surely the conductor could have made other choices but since this taping is in Japan and documents the Munich opera on tour one doesn't have to look far for the reasons. Lipovsek repeats her nurse here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By operaexprt01 on August 9, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Honestly! I am not a purest in any way, and I often enjoy modern productions very much. However; this reaches a new level of insanity. If you are going to stage it like this, just do it in connect and call it a day. The money that went into this production must have been so expensive (along with Loy's fee) and to have this result is really meaningless. There is a small documentary that helps to explain his concept. Even after watching that it's still difficult to believe what mess he made of this incredible opera.

Musically we have a performance that's just about as good as you could get these days. One minor disappointment is Anne Schwanewilms. It goes without saying that a section of her voice (range) is radiant and beautiful, but the very top notes just don't spin or flow as they should. One viewer mentioned her getting over a respiratory infection, but this is the third time I have heard her and its always the same. She is musical and very at ease in this production. But this is a soprano that's working all over Europe and she will sing this role at The MET in November. How can you be a world's leading Kaiserin and not have a glorious top? Of course no one is perfect (Rysanek certainly had her issues with the hole in her middle voice), but Strauss wrote this for a singer with a glorious top voice. Up to an A she's excellent, but most Bb's and above it's as if she goes off her support, etc. And the high Db ( in the Wehe, mein Mann) is a scream and hardly approximated. No amount of acting can cover that up! It saddens me because she IS talented and I so wanted to like her better. We need great Strauss sopranos! On the plus side; she's a beautiful woman and the timbre of her voice (save the very top) is haunting. Maybe I am being too hard on her?
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