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Wagner: Rienzi (2013)

Marika Schonberg , Jorge Lavelli , __  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Marika Schonberg, Jorge Lavelli, Choeur de l'Accademia Teatro alla Scala de Milan, Marc Heller, Torsten Kerl
  • Directors: __
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Opus Arte
  • DVD Release Date: September 24, 2013
  • Run Time: 231 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DEROR32
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,859 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Opus Arte celebrates Wagner's bicentenary with his third opera Rienzi. Within the timeless and elegant minimalism of Jorge Lavelli's production, Torsten Kerl brings ringing authority to the title role, supported by the experienced Wagnerian Pinchas Steinberg conducting the Capitole Orchestra. Extra features include 'Thoughts on Rienzi' and a cast gallery.


For the foreseeable future, the stupendous title role belongs to German heldentenor Torsten Kerl, the only Rienzi to date to have made his way to video...Kerl is in full command, unfazed by the fiendishly high tessitura, grandiloquent of phrase, purposeful and trenchant with text. As an actor, he simply eats up the stage. --Matthew Gurewitsch, Critic's Choice

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making a good case for Rienzi August 23, 2013
Amidst the abundance of Ring cycles being wheeled out this year, the Wagner bicentenary has also provided a good opportunity to revisit and reconsider many of the composer's earliest works. If any of them is likely to be reevaluated as a misunderstood and neglected masterpiece, it's possibly Rienzi with the promise of that wonderful Overture that asserts itself on occasion like a leitmotif throughout the work. If it never quite manages to live up to what we expect of a Wagner opera though, there are nonetheless fascinating hints of the style that would develop in the composer's later music-dramas and this is something that is brought out very skillfully in this 2012 production from the Théâtre du Capitole in Toulouse.

The production here opens with some images during the Overture of the fall of the Berlin Wall as well as other popular uprisings around the world, but there are no other modern references to be found in this production, which settles thereafter for a more generalised non-specific period, but one that has echoes to Wagner's own time. The Overture is all about setting the tone, and this one succeeds in bringing it back closer to the sentiments and intentions of the original work. As fascinating as Philipp Stöltzl's Deutsche Oper production was in relating the work to its historical legacy (most notoriously as Hitler's favourite opera), this production takes it back to Wagner's left-wing leanings and the revolutionary activities on the streets of Dresden that would see him forced into exile for a significant part of his life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grosser Querschnitt May 4, 2014
Before someone reports me to Amazon, let me point out that "Grosser querschnitt" is German for "highlights" (literally "greater cross-section").

Wagner conceived Rienzi for the Paris Opera, with lots of choruses and ballet music, which the French insisted on.
The actual premiere was in Dresden in 1842.
Rienzi lasted about six hours.

Subsequent performances shortened it considerably.
The original score was lost in a World War II bombing raid.
A roughly two-and-a-half hour version was thought to be all that survived - until the 1970s when musicologists pieced together an additional two hours from surviving fragments.
This was the basis for the BBC's pioneering 4 hour, 40 minute broadcast in 1976, the single most important performance of the opera since 1842.

There are two competing performances on Blu-Ray, both featuring Torsten Kerl in the title role:

2010: 2 hours, 36 minutes = Berlin Opera conducted by Sebastian Lang-Lessing: Wagner: Rienzi [Blu-ray]

2013: 2 hours, 56 minutes = Milan La Scala conducted by Pinchas Steinberg: The Blu-Ray under review.

(actual timings are less due to curtain calls and production credits)

Rienzi was Wagner's most popular opera during his lifetime.
Adolf Hitler may have inadvertently killed Rienzi when word got out that it was his favorite opera.
This seems unfair:
After the war, his valet reported that Hitler's favorite movie was "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"
yet Snow White seems to have survived unscathed.

Though he lived in Italy in the Fourteenth Century, poor Rienzi has suffered for his supposed Nazi connection.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good step in the right direction October 21, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
For years I've been fascinated by this earlier "grand" opera by Wagner, collecting CD and LP recordings of it. None of them are, of course, complete. The closest to complete, I venture, is the 1976 EMI under Heinrich Hollreiser (with Rene Kollo), but even that one is cut. Other Rienzis of interest include those featuring Max Lorenz (1941, on Preiser), Gunther Treptow (1950, on Urania), the incredible Wolfgang Windgassen (1957, Stuttgart, on Living Stage), Set Svanholm (1960, Vienna, Melodram), and a later Kollo essay under Sawallisch (Orfeo,1983). Of course, the great Lauritz Melchior sang Rienzi's prayer, "Almacht'ger Gott" on various occasions. This present DVD and BD release ( Capitole de Toulouse) certainly has many things going for it, most notably the clarion vocalism of Torsten Kerl, who impresses me with his clean and lyrical approach to the demanding role. I could certainly see Kerl doing other Wagner works; he seems to combine the silvery fresh tone of Windgassen with the stamina of, say, Hans Hopf (on a good day!). The rest of the cast sings commendably.

The staging is a curious mix of modern and traditional elements. There is enough in the mise en scene to relate to what is actually going on in the text. At least, we don't have to put up with the extremes of "Eurotrash." Still, it would be interesting to see a well-done production fitted exactly to the period.

I was disappointed not to have more than a brief synopsis of the opera in the enclosed booklet. Indeed, there is no listing of cueing points (one can go to the two DVDs to see the listing, but it is important to have them in the booklet, as well). While one can find a libretto, not having the cueing points in the booklets is a serious disadvantage.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars First time hearing.
This is a good modern production. The voices are good, the music is typically Wagnerian (recitative, with the occasional melody thrown in for excitement.
Published 5 months ago by C. Lains
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised Me!
I wasn't sure how I would respond to the staging of this opera. I was afraid it would be Euro-trash. I decided to keep an open mind. It worked for me. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Super Sailer
2.0 out of 5 stars Has the production team lost its mind?
Last May I had the opportunity to see Rienzi on the stage of the Opera in Rome. It was thrilling and the music glorious. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Louis
4.0 out of 5 stars A rare Wagner experience
Rienzi is the "last" of Wagner's early works and outside the 10 opera "cannon"...This production is "untraditional" which for us not familiar with the full... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Fred T. Isquith
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Wagner well sung
This early piece is very Italianate with long, flowing melodies and stirring arias. It is very well sung. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ilmusico
5.0 out of 5 stars ausgezeichnet
This performance, which has few cuts, is far superior to the Berlin version. In spite of the opera's origin in French grand opera, this French production is tastefully and simply... Read more
Published 10 months ago by burnedoutprof
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest, stirring performance
This is a very enjoyable and stirring performance of this problematic work. The tenor is excellent and the rest of the case does a very fine job. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dr. Fernando Cordova
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