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The Golden Ring (2007)

 NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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The Golden Ring + Introduction to Der Ring Des Nibelungen + Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle)
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, German
  • Dubbed: English, German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: August 14, 2007
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,467 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This DVD includes a documentary of the first-ever studio recording of Wagner's 4-opera cycle. Sir Georg Solti conducts.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 60 people found the following review helpful
By Nick
After reading John Culshaw's memoir of the Ring recording, Ring Resounding, I have looked for the BBC documentary. I first found it on LaserDisc and truly enjoyed the experience of watching Gotterdammerung being recorded. After moving beyond that obsolete format, I looked for the DVD version. While it showed up as being made, it was no longer availalbe. Following the death of Birgit Nilsson, Decca (London) reissued the DVD. Thank you!

The technical aspects of the DVD are superb--the sound is clean and thrilling (even though it is in Dolby Digital Mono for the documentary portion). The Culshaw decision to require the BBC to use the sound as recorded by Decca, instead of their own sound, has stood the test of time very well. The Dolby Digital 5.1 remastering of key segments from the entire Ring recording was a great addition to the DVD that was not on the older LaserDisc format. As noted by others, it would be a joy to have a re-issued Ring on DVD in a new digital remastering. It should be noted that the remastering does not product a "movie-like" sound stage.

The real treasure is seeing talent at work. The singers were the best of their generation, and some without peer even today. The production staff's dedication to achieving what some have called 'the greatest achievement in recording history' is palpable. It reminds one how much great recorded music the world has lost due to the premature death of John Culshaw. To see the Vienna Philharmonic and Georg Solti at work is a very rare treat.

In short, this DVD is very highly recommended. It works for Wagnerites, music lovers, those interested in recording, and opera producers and directors (imagine if Wagner's, or any other composer's intentions were so closely followed in the theater).
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The film that made me an operaphile April 12, 2009
When PBS aired this documentary in the 1960's, I was not only fascinated by the studio recording mechanics but AWED BY THAT MUSIC! I listened to both rock n' roll and classical music in that order; but this program marked a hinge moment in my life. To answer those criticisms that one must know the foreign language to appreciate the text of a particular opera, I knew just a handful of German words and nothing about the Niebelung myth. Yet, those grand, lush, motif-laden, and passionate sounds gave my teenage hormones a transcendent experience. Translation: I was blown away.

As corny as it may sound, I was hooked on Wagner from that presentation. I have a polite personality, but I remember persistently annoying my mother for a month's advance of my $3.00 per week allowance ($12.00) to purchase the monaural recording of Gotterdammerung. (Oh, my goodness, was I becoming Wagnerian in temperament?) That opera exposed me to the entire Ring, then to the opera canon, lieder, oratorios, instrumentalists, and other classical formats. Most fans ease into classical music, and especially opera, with Carmen or Don Giovanni. I charged into opera through one of its most complex works. Happily, this wonderful session is preserved on DVD.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding classical "making of" special August 2, 2009
This black-and-white BBC television documentary captures scenes and interviews from the making of Decca's "Götterdämmerung" by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna in 1965 -- the final recording in Solti's Ring Cycle. The documentary does not cover any of the other operas in the Cycle, just Götterdämmerung. In addition to the original television recording, clocking in at 88 minutes, there are also 69 minutes of remastered audio highlights from the entire cycle.

I really enjoyed the documentary and its look behind the scenes at what many regard as the greatest recording ever of the complete Ring Cycle. The tremendous time and expense of making the recording are apparent. It made me wonder whether any record companies would be willing or able to put this kind of care and investment into productions today.

Solti says in an interview that the schedule called for a minimum of 15 minutes of completed recording every day. The documentary shows examples of the process of takes and retakes, honing the sound of each passage until perfect. The producers also took costly steps such as the manufacturing of new Stierhorns, which are used briefly in Acts 2 and 3 of the opera. (Presumably the same horns had already been used in Die Walküre.)

It is also wonderful to see some of the opera greats of the day, including Birgit Nilsson and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, performing in the studio setting and speaking about the recording process -- not to mention doing things that are unthinkable today, like smoking! In fact, it seems the whole cast, crew and orchestra was smoking most of the time -- very strange to see today. The film gives a nice picture of the personalities and processes involved in these great recordings. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back in time.... March 12, 2010
Verified Purchase
I am so glad that I bought this 1964 documentary! My audio recording of Gotterdammerung is the Solti, so to see the performers is just fantastic. Nilsson, Solti, Windgassen, Fisher-Dieskau and Culshaw and that wonderful VPO - this is such a gift. I was sorry to miss the exceptional Christa Ludwig who sang Waltrude, but most likely that portion was recorded in the first session.
The intensity, dedication, & respect demonstrated by these artists is from a bygone era, I feel. Great vignette of Solti and Culshaw discussing the tempo of Seigfried's Funeral March - Culshaw had tons of confidence and charm and smarts.
A few things from that era that we are better off without: the smoking - my goodness, how did those singers smoke and keep their voices? And only one lone woman in the orchestra, a harp player.
If you love Wagner, you will love this. If you don't know Wagner, this might be a place to start.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!!!!!!!
Excellent documentary about an eight year recording event with some of the world's best Wagnerian singers, orchestra, and conductor. Bravo
Published 12 months ago by G. Punto
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It is unusual to be part of a rehearsel of this fantastic music and these wonderful artists. All the "gang" from the sixties and at their
prime. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Anders Wernersson
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any true fan.
I was going to order the new boxed set of Wagner's Ring to celebrate the centenary of Sir George Solti's birth, but I already have the full set, plus the Deryk Cooke recording of... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Fr. George O'mara
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wagner lover's MUST see DVD
This absolutely impeccably produced DVD has preserved some of the best vocal sequences from perhaps the finest produced Ring cycle (for CD) ever captured. Read more
Published on March 4, 2012 by Jim Berg
5.0 out of 5 stars Solti's narrow excape
Of course it's a great dvd...seeing the legends at work etc.
But did anyone else notice that Solti arrived in Vienna on a Comet jet? Read more
Published on October 25, 2010 by D. L. Lawrence
5.0 out of 5 stars For the Wagner Historian
If you never heard Birgit Nilsson perform live, experience her power and perfection on DVD. In this 88-minute BBC documentary from 1965, Sir Georg Solti takes on the herculean... Read more
Published on June 9, 2010 by opera maven
5.0 out of 5 stars For all Wagnarians and the people just getting to know Wagner, THIS...
A recording of such a scale is revealed in this DVD. Only down side is that the Decca people didn't record the first session but what you'll experiance in the last is worth every... Read more
Published on January 13, 2008 by John Bennett
4.0 out of 5 stars What Exactly Is This?
I have a DVD of "The Golden Ring", which is a BBC documentary on the production of a portion (Acts II and III of Goetterdaemmerung) of the first complete recorded Ring cycle. Read more
Published on August 3, 2007 by David Liguori
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