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Der Ring Des Nibelungen

4.3 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Dec 04, 2007)
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$207.74 $539.99

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Editorial Reviews

The four operas from 'The Ring' by Richard Wagner, 'Das Rheingold', 'Die Walkure', 'Siegfried' and 'Gotterdammerung', recorded live at the Bayreuther Festspiele, with Daniel Barenboim conducting.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Format: Box set, Classical, PAL
  • Language: German (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Rhino
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2007
  • Run Time: 917 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QFBW6K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,816 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
Creating a filmed version of a work that was intended to be experienced in the theatre is never an easy task, and even the best recordings often disappoint on at least some (even if nonessential) levels. This recording of the 1991 and 1992 Kupfer and Barenboim Ring Cycle is, without a doubt, among the best recorded versions of an opera I have ever seen, and one of the undisputed highlights of my dvd collection. Whether because of the wonderful cast, superb orchestra and conducting, or (largely, if not always) enlightening design and direction, this production simply works. Despite being rather a traditionalist myself, I found the design of this production to be mostly remarkable, visually arresting and intellectually stimulating more often than not. The costumes and staging have a distinctly modern, largely minimalist feel, yet they nevertheless manage by and large to do justice to the sense of timelessness that keeps Wagner's masterpiece relevant almost 150 years after it was first performed. There is enough of tradition here to retain the sense of historicity that should be a fundamental part of any good Ring Cycle, respecting its foundation in ancient myth as well as looking simultaneously to the future. Having said that, there are moments when the production looks to the future in ways that I don't find particularly enlightening. The whole post-nuclear destruction premise jars in my opinion with what the focus of the Ring ought to be, and the interjection in the final minute of what is purely the director's fancy is in my view completely wrongheaded and distracting.Read more ›
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John deWald has given an excellent review, but I think a couple of additions could be made. I would suggest you read this in conjunction with his review.

By the time he had reached the Ring, Wagner had passed the bounds of opera. The Ring is more correctly described as music-drama, for in this work (and Parsifal) the dramatic element is as important as the musical element, an aspect that is hard to recognize from CDs. After years of listening to the work on CD, I finally saw this work via this performance (I was lucky enough to see it on a 100" screen and hear it through an excellent surround system; all of which helps give an impression of "you are there"). And it was at that point I realized I was experiencing something greater than what we normally class as opera.

Although this production had four different directors, they revealed a similar conception in understanding the work. And the performers and conductor tied it all together so that you are not really aware different directors were involved.

The presentation is abstract, and once you become aware of the nature of the work, you realize that is the only legitimate treatment for it. I have seen advice that for your first DVD Ring, the Met production might be easier as it is a more traditional staging. This statement suggests the director was apparently trying to treat the Ring as a traditional opera and did not properly understand what he was directing. Let me add, I normally dislike abstract settings, but in this case it is the only option and really works.

This production is justifiably famous. It has a cast of outstanding singers, with no weak link (and Wagner is very demanding on his cast). But they are all outstanding actors as well - essential for a production true to Wagner's intentions.
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Sorry for such a long review, but Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen is bigger than life.

Das Rheingold

Don't let the Rheinmaidens' 1980s punk-rock look put you off. Their costume style works well with the yellow-green laser lights that set the stage for the Rhein scenes. To handle the difficult staging of Wotan's and Loge's travel to and from Nibelheim, there are endless industrial-stlye stairways. Likewise, in the closing scene of Rheingold, where Wotan and the other gods enter Valhalla, instead of a rainbow bridge, they use a well-lighted, pyramidal elevator.

So with all these unconventional staging surprises, why is this such a great DVD set? The widescreen format and surround sound help us focus on the great singing and acting in this performance.

John Tomlinson is a convincing, energetic Wotan. Alberich is sung (and acted!) at his very best by Gunter von Kannen. Fasolt and Fafner are, as you would expect them, bigger than life. Eva Johansson is a younger than the usual, and very appealing Freia.

Perhaps conductor Daniel Barenboim and director Harry Kupfer chose such a "modernistic" way of staging the opera in order to direct our attention to the exceptional singing and acting of the cast, which I should add is matched by the superb quality of the sound that Barenboim gets from the Bayreuth Festspiele Orchestra.

If I could have only one DVD set of Rheingold, this would be my choice.

Die Walkure

Paul Elming and Nadine Secunde are the best Siegfried/Sieglinde couple I have seen. They bring youth, vitality and joy to their discovery of love scene that Ring viewers have come to love.
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