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Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nrnberg [DVD Video] (2008)

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

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Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nrnberg [DVD Video] + Wagner: Tristan und Isolde + Tannhauser
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Dutch, English, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
  • Run Time: 274 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012K53TK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #68,972 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Robert Holl, Peter Seiffert, Emily Magee, and Andreas Schmidtstar in this 1999 Bayreuth production of the Wagner opera conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent Meistersinger for the collection February 29, 2008
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There are two statues of Hans Sachs in Nürnberg.

The more familiar one, in Hans-Sachs-Platz, emphasises his poetic side. He sits there, paper and pen in hand, gazing pensively at the passers by, with a slightly magisterial air. Many of his operatic portrayals seem to be based on this image.

On the other side of the old town, is a very different statue. Near the White Tower is the 'Ehekarussell', a fountain depicting the various stages of a marriage, as described in his poem 'Das bittersüße eheliche Leben'. Atop this fountain is a very different Sachs - hands on hips, one knee raised in dance, head thrown back in a laugh, Hans Sachs rejoices in the folly of humanity. That's how Robert Holl has portrayed him.

This is, without a doubt, an excellent production. With Barenboim at the helm, in the georgeous acoustics of Bayreuth, it's hard to see how it could be otherwise (Yes, it can be done: I saw Katharina's version - let no more be said about it). Wolfgang Wagner's direction is traditional, and the sets reflect this (although they are much less elaborate than, say, the 1984 Bayreuth production, or the Met).

Robert Holl's Sachs was refreshingly different - less avuncular, more mischievous. His voice was superb, as was the dramatic heldentenor of Peter Seiffert; he brought a presence to Walter that I haven't seen before. The interchanges between him and Sachs showed two wonderfully balanced voices. Magical!

The other principals were good, if not excellent.

As for the Meisters, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen's Fritz Kothner stole the show. Apart from having a beautiful voice, he positively radiated stage presence, and his almost balletic movements with his quill pen were a joy to behold.

Technicalities?
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sublime Bayreuth Meistersinger February 29, 2008
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Some of the sadness and anger that had attended Wagner's composition of Tristan had not yet dissipated in the 1860s. Wagner had suffered greatly from isolation due to his forced wanderings throughout Europe, and from constant financial worries because of the difficulties involved in staging his complex operas. Tristan proved especially difficult to stage given its many innovations and its radical departure from the music of the era. Wagner was also ill at the time. Yet Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg is a radiant and endlessly life affirming opera, proving once again that the relationship between life and art is especially ambiguous in the case of genius. It premiered in Munich at the Nationaltheater on 21 June 1868. Appropriately enough it was Mid-Summer's day.

Often described as Wagner's only comedy, it is his sunniest opera, the one most redolent of daylight. It is certainly different than that quintessential nacht-oper, Tristan. Wagner wrote that he had composed Meistersinger as a means of dissipating some of his suffering, seeing it as a source of consolation and healing for the pain and sorrows of the past. One of the key words in Meistersinger is 'illusion'. Wagner had decided that all of human activity was underpinned by illusion. And that art was especially 'a noble illusion.' Thus, we have in Meistersinger, with its song contest and its contestants, a whole world of illusion. And Hans Sachs tells Walther that 'man's truest illusions are revealed to him in dreams'. Since reading Schopenhauer, Wagner had become convinced that creativity originated in the dream-world. Meistersinger is an opera about dreams. This production lovingly recreates that magic world with superb performances aided by Bayreuth's unique and beautiful sound.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! January 9, 2011
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This is one of the two best Meistersingers I've ever seen! Here's why I think so:

I never thought any production could approach the 1984 Bayreuth production, starring Bernd Weikl as Sachs, Hermann Prey, as Beckmesser, and Siegfried Jerusalem as Walter. This one may just be up there in the top two. Here, in a 2008 production by Daniel Barenboim, Robert Holl is Sachs, Andreas Schmidt is Beckmesser, and Peter Seiffert is Walter.
All three sing and act in a way that keeps you riveted to the story. The big bonus here is Eva--the prize in the singing contest. In all previous productions, Eva has been too fat, too old, or can't sing. In this one, Eva is sung and acted by the very attractive Emily Magee, who is certainly a prize worth winning.

For those who are new to this opera--Wagner's happiest opera--the story centers on a young man who comes to Nurenberg to study the art of music. He falls in love with the beautiful Eva, who is to be promised as the prize in a singing contest. All sorts of complications develop, and Wagner takes advantage of the opportunity to comment, through his characters, on the purposes of good music and how the creative artist goes about writing music.

Imagine being one of the critics of Wagner's day, who had viciously and repeatedly attacked him in the media, and then found yourself as a laughable, ridiculous character in Wagner's next opera! Such is the case here, where strikes back at his critics by inventing the character Sixtus Beckmesser, a pedantic, sycophantic, officious and tedious bore. Richard Wagner was commenting on the rigidity and close-mindedness of the music critics of his day.
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