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Weber - Der Freischutz (1968)

Gottlob Frick , Arlene Saunders , Rolf Liebermann  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Gottlob Frick, Arlene Saunders, Edith Mathis, Franz Grundheber, Tom Krause
  • Directors: Rolf Liebermann
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German (Mono)
  • Subtitles: German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: January 30, 2007
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000L42J4K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,585 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Bernard Minetti, Arlene Saunders, Ernst Kozub, Edith Mathis, Gottlob Frick, Hans Sotin, Tom Krause, and Franz Grundheber star in this Hamburg State Opera production of the Weber opera conducted by Leopold Ludwig.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Than Acceptable For Its Time February 15, 2007
In the previous reviewer's one-line dismissal of this DVD I have to believe that he was more interested in getting off a wisecrack than giving a considered review of the DVD. This 1968 production of Der Freischütz was filmed under the aegis of the legendary director of the Hamburg Opera, Rolf Liebermann, and was among the first operas filmed in color specifically for broadcast on TV. For this reason, it consists almost entirely of closeups and it appears that the singers -- a marvelous cast, by the way -- are lip-synching; this is not distracting but is noticeable from time to time. The sets and costumes are traditional, and for that one can be glad, considering the awful Eurotrash productions of this opera that are currently available. Freischütz is, after all, a folk opera and thus dressing the cast in peasant costumes is appropriate. The action takes place in realistic sets. The Wolf's Glen scene is appropriately spooky without being avant garde.

I couldn't be happier about the musical aspects of this production. We get a marvelous Kaspar by the beloved basso, Gottlob Frick, who was, believe it or not, sixty-two when this film was made. There may be a slight wobble now and then, but mostly his resounding bass is in fine shape; he makes Kaspar both evil and just a bit hammy. The young Edith Mathis brings her pert personality and perfectly regulated light soprano to the part of Ännchen. The American soprano Arlene Saunders is excellent as Agathe and 'Leise, leise' is beautifully done. The tenor Heinz Kozub, although a little old for the part of Max, has a good heroic tenor and his acting is actually quite good.
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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a Fabulous Freischutz! February 25, 2007
Here is another marvelous Rolf Liebermann production. It is one of a newly available stream of performances by the Hamburg State Opera, featuring the excellent American soprano, Arlene Saunders, who outdoes herself here in the role of Agathe. What makes this DVD of Der Freischutz stand out is the presence of several of the more illustrious artists of a previous era, including the delicious Edith Mathis and the great bass Gottlob Frick, making a rare - and lively - appearance as the corrupted Kaspar. Hans Sotin as the Hermit and Tom Krause's Ottokar round out a cast of superb artists in this warm and delightful Freischutz.

The filmed production is excellent. It's wonderful to finally have a beautifully sung and staged version of this important opera. Now we can clearly see what inspired Wagner to produce the greatest German music dramas of the 19th century. The chorus sings and acts admirably - everyone is spot on dramatically; costumes are good, the directing is effective, and most of all, the singing is glorious, especially (and surprisingly) Arlene Saunders, and not surprisingly, the spectacular Edith Mathis. The mournful tenor, Ernst Kozub, the delightfully demonic Frick and the rest of the cast are all moved along at a brisk and lively pace by the conductor Leopold Ludwig in this quintessentially Teutonic, mythological romance.

It's an interesting point that Ernst Kozub, whose voice is really gorgeous and powerful, is rumoured to be "Our Siegfried", the first choice for the Solti Ring. Unnamed in Culshaw's account of the monumental production of the first studio Ring in his "Ring Resounding", Kozub is described as the next great heldentenor - an impossibly difficult position to fill in the shadow of such legends as Melchior and Windgassen.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!--finally a Freischutz as it was meant to be June 22, 2007
Verified Purchase
I had already purchased two other performances of Der Freischutz (The Marksman), by the Zurich and the Hamburg State Opera. Both were well-done musically, but the stage sets and costumes were minimalist--like something the singers might have worn if they had just gotten together for a rehearal. Stages were stark and also could have been used for almost any other opera: "one size fits all."

I feared that perhaps this opera, (with guns, shooting contests, satanic rituals, dances, and dozens of hunters running around on stage) was just too difficult to stage.

This production demonstrates that it CAN be done, and WELL-DONE! I was afraid that, as it was filmed years ago, the picture quality might be lacking, but it was excellent.

The costumes take you back to a Germany of a couple of centuries ago, and the staging and scenery are far better that I could have imagined. The Wolf's Lair is truly a dark and scary place--you almost think you're going to see blood on the cobwebs, as the libretto tells of. The bridal procession for Agathe even wends its way through the dark forest. The bullet-casting of the "magic bullets" is authentic and spooky. A wild boar and wind with cracking branches and trees falling adds to the realism of the macabre scene.

I can't say enough in praise of this production. Edith Mathis is sweet, beautiful, and fantastic in her singing and acting as Annchen. Arlene Saunders is now my favorite Agathe. Gottlob Frick is the definitive Kaspar: evil and a bit demonic. The others sing and act equally brilliantly in this production. By the way, this opera is not just about a shooting contest and a bunch of hunters.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful if low key production
The quality of picture and sound were both acceptable. The production was straightforward and honest in its approach. . Read more
Published 11 months ago by Yvonne Brereton
5.0 out of 5 stars Very memorable production!
I am so happy that I found this production of the Freischuetz from the 1960es. What a great performance bringing back memories about how my "first love for opera" was... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dieter Parczany
4.0 out of 5 stars Early video taping
didn't realize this was an historic EARLY recording, in Mono !, but it is OK seeing as my Hi-Fi is superior
Published 18 months ago by william dehart
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice version
I like this romantic opera... I already had a bad version, it makes a big difference. The singers are great and the orchestra sounds delightful.

Martin
Published 22 months ago by Martin Pitchon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Performance
This performance and casting of "Der Freschutz" is excellent. The singing of the chorus and the solos are great. The cardboard animation for the introduction is somewhat limp. Read more
Published 24 months ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT PRODUCTION WITH A HOKEY INTRODUCTION
Der freischutz is not an easy opera to stage or sing. This 1968 made for TV film respects the composer's intentions, unlike more recent DVDs. Read more
Published on May 24, 2012 by Jesse Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars A fine traditional production
"Der Freischütz" is the first great German opera of the Romantic era, and Weber's first mature theatrical work. Read more
Published on February 23, 2011 by Alex Craig
5.0 out of 5 stars Old, corny, weird and wonderful
I love this film of Rolf Liebermann's 'Der Freischütz' from Hamburg in 1968. Admittedly I have to look away more often than I'd like in order to listen to the great singing... Read more
Published on December 21, 2009 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible performance
This must be the worst performance of any opera I have seen. Costumes of the fifties, actors crawling on the floor. Read more
Published on December 27, 2007 by Emil J. Schauer
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS ONE GOT IT RIGHT
After viewing two other DVDs of this wonderful opera, I wondered just how much insanity and EURO THRASH would the buyer have to put up with just to get a chance to see this great... Read more
Published on May 30, 2007 by R. Olsavicky
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