Der Ring Des Nibelungen
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you want to buy this item, ignore the $500 to $1500 price tag Amazon sellers are dementedly charging for this only-briefly-in-print DVD set and heigh thee to Arkiv Music, where... Read morePublished on October 21, 2010 by Thomas Plotkin
This was one of the best acted and sung Ring's I've seen and heard. Tomlinson as Wotan is fantastic. Read morePublished on May 15, 2010 by historryfann
Let's face it. If you're going to spend 15+ hours planted in front of your television set watching Wagner's epic Ring cycle you're going to want some visual pleasures to rest your... Read morePublished on November 19, 2009 by pekinman
The costume's and sets are a little disapointing at times but I think this Ring has one of the best cast's I have ever seen or heard.Published on September 8, 2009 by N L Moore
This is IMHO the best sounding Ring since Solti. Barenboim's conducting is wonderfully engaging throughout and the cast, especially Tomlinson as Wotan, equals or bests any... Read morePublished on May 7, 2009 by Redrick
I have seen over 24 live productions of "Der Ring" and this is certainly one that stands out over several lesser attempts to put the 15 plus hours of music on the stage. Read morePublished on April 14, 2009 by Harry Philips
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