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Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2

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Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2 + Wagner - Gotterdammerung / Jones, Mazura, Jung, Hubner, Becht, Altmeyer, Killebrew, Boulez, Bayreuth Opera (Boulez Ring Cycle Part 4)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The second part of Patrice Chreau's epoch-making Bayreuth Ring is a radical re-imagining of Die Walkre, unprecedented in its psychological penetration. "This Wagnerian drama," says Chreau, "which is at once classical theatre and domestic comedy, enables us to interpret the myths in terms that are both anecdotal and sublime...With Wagner one is dealing with a drama turned virtually white-hot by the music." "Nothing ever seen before on television has given better insight into Wagner's genius" (The New York Times).

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Wagner's ideas of "racial purity" reach a logical conclusion in Act I of Die Walküre, powerfully performed in this Bayreuth production. Siegfried, the tragic hero of the cycle, is begotten in an adulterous, incestuous mating of Siegmund (Peter Hoffmann) and Sieglinde (Jeanne Altmeyer), a twin brother and sister. No miscegenation here.

Siegfried will not be seen until the next opera in the cycle. For now, the Valkyries (after their famous, musically spectacular ride) are asked to protect Sieglinde, his pregnant mother-to-be, until he can be born. His father is killed in a fight with Hunding, Sieglinde's brutish husband, with Wotan intervening against his will to help the wronged spouse. Wotan has been forced by his wife Fricka, who is the goddess of marriage, elegantly played by Hanna Schwartz. Her victory is a striking display of Wotan's diminishing powers. Brunnhilde, Wotan's daughter and leader of the Valkyries (Gwyneth Jones), disobeys a paternal prohibition, rescues Sieglinde and hides her in safety to wait out her pregnancy. For this, she is punished by losing her divine status and being left asleep for years, surrounded by a circle of magic fire, until a hero (Siegfried, who has not yet been born) will come to rescue her.

This episode is extremely well-sung, with particularly notable work by Hoffmann, Altmeyer, Schwartz, Jones and Donald McIntyre as Wotan, while conductor Pierre Boulez and director Patrice Chéreau work smoothly together to define the opera's overall form and continuity. --Joe McLellan


Special Features

  • Sung in German with subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Hofmann, Jeannine Altmeyer, Katie Clarke, Elisabeth Glauser, Ilse Gramatzki
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Richard Wagner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo), English (DTS 5.1), English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: August 9, 2005
  • Run Time: 216 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00092ZAOA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,415 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joan Sutton on September 26, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I first saw this Bayreuth production on TV many years ago and was overwhelmed by its beauty. Fortunately, it is available on DVD. Altmeyer and Hofmann are an unforgettable Siegmund and Sieglinde, absolutely convincing and lovely to behold. Then Gwyneth Jones is an equally beautiful Brunnhilde. If you love the Ring, this is a must for your collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MikelMask on January 8, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wow! What a great performance. I have listened to and watched numerous productions of Wagner's Ring. This performance is easily the best that I have ever seen. The sensuality of the first act, drama of the second, and finally the heartbreak and catharsis of the third provided an emotional roller coaster ride. Chereau's and Boulez's vision to place the scene outside of its normal medieval-fantasy setting made the characters all the more involving and believable. Wotan's final parting with his favorite daughter, Brunhilde, gave my goose bumps. This is an unforgettable performance that I cannot recommend any more highly.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. D. R. Pootjes on June 13, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is by far the best Ring on DVD. It is not only a timeless production but also the choice of soloists is excellent. Die Walküre is simply my favorite opera of the Ring, Götterdämmerung being a sturdy second.
It is good to have several 'Rings' but this one is a must.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Abert on January 30, 2007
Format: DVD
This is part of a centenniary production of Bayreuth of Wagner's masterpiece, the Ring Cycle.

Many say it is the best part, and rightly so. The first Act is simply immaculate - the casting is so fine, the performance so great, that it is really unsurpassable.

The young Salminen, the nearly forgotten Hofmann, and the almost retired Altmeyer together formed a formidable trio as Hunding, and the Walsung twins Siegmund and Sieglinde. All sang and acted in the best imaginable pedigree, plus the fact that Altmeyer and Hofmann really 'looked' like twins! This casting is stunning by itself.

In Act 2 we have the rather deranged-looking Donald McIntyre portrayal as Wotan, the great king of the gods. By this time McIntyre was no longer in his prime, both in terms of looks and vocal strength. Otherwise he would have made a superb Wotan. He acted well, though. His monologue as well taken, singing in front of a bronze mirror.

Ms. Jones was also well-past her prime as Brunnhilde. As a heroic figure, Jones is perhaps a bit on the fragile side. Especially that she is supposed to be a valkyrie and not a human, as Sieglinde.

If Boulez lined up Hofmann and Altmeyer as the Walsungs, at least the valkyries should measure up in terms of physical looks!

Act 3 between Brunnhilde and Siegmund is also highly effective. The direction is superb, and acting could not be bettered, and the singing pure and beautiful. It was reported that the stripping scene before Siegmund's death caused a riot at Bayreuth in 1976. I am not surprised that it did. It still had tremendous dramatic effect even if viewed today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. Rothfork on March 31, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The reviews written here say "WONDERFUL!" "A solid performance!" "Superb Production!" Forget 'bout it. All you need to know is that you will be viewing Jeannine Altmeyer as "Sieglinde" in Full Screen, Surround Sound..really now..that's all you need to know...whew!!
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Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2
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