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  • The Golden Ring  - The Making of Solti's "Ring" (Wagner Ring Cycle)
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The Golden Ring - The Making of Solti's "Ring" (Wagner Ring Cycle)


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Editorial Reviews

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Watching the Vienna Philharmonic, Georg Solti, and a stellar cast record Wagner's immense Götterdämmerung for Decca in the fall of 1964 provides a thousand lessons in the art of working under pressure. For this classic documentary, The Golden Ring, a BBC camera crew eavesdropped as producer John Culshaw guided his engineering team through tricky technical maneuvers far removed from the relative ease of modern digital editing. What utter concentration and focus Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Gottlob Frick, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau bring to their collective and individual singing! Solti, for his part, oozes energy and exactitude as he pleads for greater precision and frets over details in the car en route to the sessions. There's a generous selection of bonus audio tracks culled from the Solti Ring cycle, awesomely remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (the main program is in AC3 Digital mono). Director Humphrey Burton's annotations offer fascinating anecdotes. A gripping release, in sum, and not just for opera fans. --Jed Distler

Special Features

  • Includes bonus audio tracks from the Solti Ring cycle (69 min.)

Product Details

  • Actors: Birgit Nilsson, Wolfgang Windgassen, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Gottlob Frick, Claire Watson
  • Directors: Georg Solti, Humphrey Burton
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: German (Mono), English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: German, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: May 14, 2002
  • Run Time: 159 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000631A8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,097 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 2003
Format: DVD
This DVD consists of two separate contents.
The first is the video documentary on the Goetterdaemmerung recordings as reported by the BBC in "The Golden Ring" production. The video is in black-and-white, and the sound is in (enhanced) pro logic. I found the sound of this feature to be quite forward, lacking detail, but of good quality (i.e., low noise). The subwoofer in my home theatre system is not active during this portion of the DVD.
But then again, the real value of the documentary is in providing a snapshot of the great achievement of the Decca Ring cycle under Solti's direction and the masterful playing of the Vienna Philharmonic. Like other reviewers of this DVD, I also have the Solti ring in CD. The documentary contains sufficient detail to entertain and inform. It allowed me to get a different perspective of the true effort required to produce this magnificent work, and the vision of John Culshaw's production relative to the application of state-of-the-art technology in enhancing the listening experience.
The second content of the DVD is a set of selections from some of the Ring operas in 5.1 surround-sound. The selections span all of the operas, with the orchestral standards (from the entrance of the Gods to Valhalla to the Immollation scene) extracted from the original Solti set. It is approximately another 70 minutes of material.
The 5.1 version of these selections is nothing short of miraculous. The sound stage is full and airy. The quality is outstanding, beating my CD set hands down. It also captures the Vienna Philharmonic's sound with sufficient detail to reinforce Solti's observation of that orchestra's unique Wagnerian style.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan Sherman VINE VOICE on March 3, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a BBC TV documentary that takes us behind the scenes for the recording of the final opera of Wagner's Ring -- Götterdämmerung -- for Decca Records in the early 60s. The very engaging story behind the recording of the Decca Ring is presented in record producer John Culshaw's book "Ring Resounding," and this documentary is a nice complement to the book (which briefly discusses filming of the documentary). Culshaw's book made recording the Ring seem like commanding an army -- huge amounts of logistics and all manner of problems (not the least of which were tempermental singers). The documentary is hugely enjoyable as we see how several scenes in a great recording was made (and all the tension that ensued in making it). An added bonus of this DVD is that it includes a very generous (70-80 minutes) of audio highlights from the full Ring recording in Dolby Digital Surround Sound -- a bonus that really adds to the value of the DVD.
Buy it an enjoy it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hudson Fair on September 25, 2002
Format: DVD
A real documentary with planned and spontaneous interviews with the principals of this great landmark project. Solti called the Decca recording engineers, "high priests of perfection" and viewing John Culshaw and the other engineers as they put the project together is quite a good peek into the magic. Not only that, but good behind the scenes talks with the singers and Solti himself which enables the viewer to re-live the experience. The film is great at evoking the tension, drama and finally the achievement of making a landmark recording.
In comparison to the vhs version, this new dvd release has extra film footage and a lot of music besides. High quality sound rounds out this fantastic documentary.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 15, 2002
Format: DVD
This is actual black and white footage of the recording and interviews with the principles. Many argue that these recordings were and are the greatest ever of this cycle.
This is the equivilant of footage of The Beatles working on Sgt Peppers or Elvis in the Sun Studios laying down his first sessions...How often are we allowed to see the process of the creation of a masterpiece?
I feel very lucky that this is available...what are you waiting for?
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