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Wagner: Das Rheingold

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In the words of the prestigious German weekly 'Die Zeit,' the stage production of Wagner's 'Rheingold' and 'Walkure' by La Fura dels Baus 'quite possibly shows us the path that musical theater will be taking in the future.' There's no doubt about it: the Catalan city of Valencia is setting new accents in 21st-century opera not only with its spectacular new theater designed by Santiago Calatrava, but also with its visually transfixing production of Wagner's 'Ring' staged by Carlos Padrissa and his theater group La Fura dels Baus. The Barcelona-based Fura blends music, dance, acrobatics and technology into unforgettable stage events of sometimes raw but always captivating power. The Fura made its breakthrough in the classical establishment with its production of Berlioz's 'La damnation de Faust' at the 1999 Salzburg Festival. The Fura's fertile visual fantasy and endless combinations of savvy video technology, lighting and props (often formed of human beings) are predestined for Wagner's visionary expressive world. Wagner's dream of a Gesamtkunstwerk becomes reality as this shape-shifting sequence of tableaux unfolds before our eyes: 3D computer projections that evoke computer games, organic structures built of athletic performers that recall the 'Cirque du soleil,' and much more. In this production, 'the visual codes of the digital era become elemental and dazzlingly employed means of narration' (Opernwelt). Musically, the first two parts of Wagner's tetralogy 'Das Rheingold' and 'Die Walkure' are on a par with productions from historically more prestigious opera houses. Part Three, 'Siegfried,' is scheduled for June 2008, and Part Four, 'Götterdammerung,' for June 2009. Legendary conductor Zubin Mehta leads world-class Wagner singers such as Peter Seiffert, Petra-Maria Schnitzer and Matti Salminen, and promising young talents that include Jennifer Wilson (Brunnhilde), John Daszak (Loge) and Juha Uusitalo (Wotan), whom the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung hailed as a new 'Number One among the opera gods.' Equally outstanding is the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, an ensemble of top musicians hand-picked by Music Director Lorin Maazel.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Zubin Mehta, Matti Salminen, Anna Larsson, Juha Uusitalo, Gerhard Siegel
  • Directors: Carlus Padrissa
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: C Major Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 167 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002S8ON64
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,636 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By I. Martinez-Ybor VINE VOICE on February 3, 2010
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It is difficult not to sound hyperbolic about this Rheingold. So let us try to remain in terra firma. This performance from Sergio Calatrava's stunning new Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía in Valencia, Spain is first and foremost solidly grounded on Wagner's music and text. Zubin Mehta excels. The music propels the story, comments on it and builds to a monumental Entrance into Valhalla. The orchestra, like in Bayreuth, was handpicked for the tetralogy, mostly in Spain but throughout the world (Mehta says in an interview that Lorin Maazel did the recruiting.... and recruiting for a "Wagner" orchestra, on the theory that an orchestra musican that excels in Wagner can play anything else). The singers are mostly young but excellent Wagnerians with a sprinkling of prized veterans like Matti Salminen as Fasolt. The Wotan is new to me, Juha Uusitalo, powerful and eloquent, a real find. If there is another "star" part in this most ensemble of ensemble operas is Loge, here the subtle, ironic, wily, John Daszak, almost always weaving his way around the stage in his standing moto, a lyrical, musical, dramatic presence with a voice the timbre of which reminded me of the late great Gerhard Stolze without the mannerisms. Ana Larsson whom we've heard in much Mahler is a witty, self-serving Fricka; Alberich and Mime are properly nasty and well sung by Franz Joseph Kappelman and Gerhard Siegel respectively. Christa Mayer warns effectively as Erda, and the great, beautiful singing which comes as the clouds break and the rainbow bridge appears is by Illya Bannik and Germán Villar as Donner and Froh. Not only are they all excellent musicians and vocalists, but they are superb actors so one is always engrossed in the interactions between the characters.Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ivor E. Zetler on February 28, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
It is around 50 years since the release of the Decca/Solti Rheingold recording. At the time any Wagner Ring issue was a major event; now there are a multitude of performances available in sound and video formats. Although I cannot claim to have sampled them all, I have seen and heard most of the well regarded versions. I would like to make the bold claim that this Valencia issue is the finest of those that I have encountered. Given the visual importance of opera, DVDs would now reign supreme.

On paper the portents are not encouraging. The vocal cast, apart from Anna Larsson and Matti Salminen, are little known in the general operatic firmament. The orchestra and opera company are new to the scene and Zubin Mehta has only a slight profile as a Wagner conductor. I had previously never heard of La Fura dels Baus, the producer. Fear not, the singing is uniformly of a very high standard and the orchestra from the stunningly designed opera house in Valencia (by Calatrava)is top notch. My greatest surprize and joy was Mehta's orchestral direction; he expertly maintains the flow of the music and brings out the varying dramatic and lyrical aspects of Wagner's music. I have not heard better conducting in this work.

I thought the stage production terrific, although it's business (particularly with the often changing back projections) might distract and annoy some viewers. I found it highly imaginative, interesting, colourful and engaging. The journey into the earth is particularly well handled as is the factory like scene with Mime, Alberich, Loge and Wotan. The final scene is also amazing. Finally the sound is warm, clear and detailed and the filming is faultless. I have a similar enthusiasm for the Valencia "Die Walkure"; if Siegfried and Gotterdammerung are on the same level of excellence, this will certainly be a Ring cycle to savour. Bravo.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Turnau on February 11, 2010
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I had read reviews on this production and viewed several previews before purchasing. I am new to Wagner which may discredit my opinion, or make my opinion more valid being that I come with no expectations. All I know is that Wagner's music is unworldly and the story of the ring is enchanting. I was wanting a depiction that could match the glorious story without forcing bizzare "artistic" elements on the viewer, but yet was modern and entertaining. Let's face it...when it comes down to it, when you watch opera it should be about three things...the music, acting and staging. The online previews are a bit misleading. They of course show all of the most incredible visual scenes of the production in a compact 2 min. and if you are like me, you watched these on a computer screen and thought...WOW!!! how much more amazing will this be in Blu-Ray on my new HD TV??? In truth, those scenes translate very well and the picture quality is beautiful, but this comes with a price. The blu-ray definition is very crisp as would be expected. The high-def screen behind the actors portrays some beautiful imagery. But is the blu-ray too crisp for opera? Do I really want to see every bit of crusted-on makeup and endless beads of sweat pouring from the actors brow?

Wagner is sometimes very drawn out in my opinion, so the opera needs great drama and outstanding acting abilities from the cast to continually draw the viewer in. The singing needs to match the drama and the text needs to be brought out by the actor through facial expression, movement, inflection, etc. Everyone loves a great background set and intricate costumes, but all of this means nothing without the singing and acting.
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