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Wagner - Lohengrin / Peter Hofmann, Karan Armstrong, Bernd Weikl, Elizabeth Connell, Leif Roar, Woldemar Nelsson, Bayreuth Opera

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Wagner's opera is presented in this Bayreuth Festival production of 1982, directed by Brian Large. Soloists include Siegfried Vogel, Peter Hofmann, Karan Armsrong, Leif Roar; Woldemar Nelsson conducts the choir and orchestra.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Gotz Friedrich, Siegfried Vogel, Richard Wagner, Roar, Connell
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: July 25, 2006
  • Run Time: 182 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FVQUNA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,426 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is the best Lohengrin available. The Bayreuth forces under the direction of Woldemar Nelsson are excellent. The Bayreuth chorus is splendid throughout, and Lohengrin is an opera where the chorus performance is vital. The orchestra plays superbly except, perhaps, in the Prelude of Act I, which sounds less opulent than oither performances because of the fast tempo adopted by Nelsson. Peter Hoffmann is much better here than he was in the Metropolitan production. Karan Armstrong may have some vocal problems, mainly in the most dramatic moments of the opera, but her weaknesses convey the frailty of the character. In this aspect, she is a much more believable Elsa than Eva Marton, whose weighty voice does not suit the role. Leif Roar is a very good Telramund and so is Siegfried Vogel as the King. Elizabeth Connell is a surprise as Ortrud, both as a singer and as an actress. I did not expect so much from her in this role, but she is excellent. Of course, she cannot match the best Ortrud I have ever heard: Christa Ludwig in Rudolph Kempe's Lohengrin, available in CD (nor can Roar match the Telramund of Fischer-Dieskau for Kempe). But who can equal these two singers in these parts? Bernd Weikl is excellent in the small role of the Herald. Good image quality and superb sound. Highly recommended.
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I recommend this DVD. I've heard and liked the music from Lohengrin for decades. I knew the story etc, but didn't understand how specific songs fit in the opera's action. I finally decided to get the opera on DVD so that I could understand how it all fit together, and so I could sit back and enjoy the entire show. I purchased this specific version of Lohengrin because reviews on Amazon recommended it - those reviews were correct, this DVD is great. One surprising break for me, there are sub-titles in English, German, French, and Spanish so that I could easily follow what was going on and associate specific songs and music with action in the opera - there's no need to understand sung German, or even German, to sort out what's going on. Now, finally, I can tie specific music and songs to the action in the opera, and I've got a great opera in my DVD collection that I can watch and listen to again and again.

Wagner's music is fantastic, of course, but the staging, acting, and singing were great as well. There's nothing second class about this DVD, it's the real deal. You'll watch it again and again. The music and imagery will echo in your memory the rest of your days, seriously.

I did have a few surprises. There is no explicit swan in the production - for those of you who haven't seen Lohengrin it turns out the swan is of some interest. Lohengrin arrives and departs from shadows and in darkness - too bad, both seemed like an opportunity for a grand entrance and departure. His entrance, as I recall, was at high-noon, when you'd expect a lighted entry. King Heinrich's apparel could have been more regal- perhaps a few self awarded medals. All of the above are zits, don't worry about them; the singing, acting, music, and staging are absolutely world class.
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When one of my friends suggested me to introduce into the Wagner world (during the VHS good old times)through Lohengrin, he knew what he was advising a newcomer and he did it right! I just loved the music, nothing was better than that for me in that time (10 years ago or maybe more) and I loved Wagner's music, then was Tannhauser, Fliegende Hollander, The Ring (exciting Walkyrie), Tristan und Isolde, Meistersinger, Parsifal...and every discovery was a trip to excitement.

So this Baeyrouth version was my first Lohengrin, and it has remained unsurpassed. I've tried to follow other versions (now in DVD and CD), and I yet I have not been able to find another Elsa as MS Armstrong's and another Ortrud as MS Connell. They are credible, they are fabulous, their voice match their character and their wonderful lines. So I have to say to Mr Roar's Telramund and Mr Hoffman's Lohengrin, and of course, the chorus, masterful, brilliant, overwhelming. So, for someone who is hesitating which version to get, I would advise this one. A must in your collection.
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This may not be the most overwhelming performance but I like it. It's overall a straight forward production -- no "what does that mean" ideas. Hofmann is much better here than in the Met DVD with Eva Marton. I'm curious though if anyone else thought that disc 2 (with Act 3) seemed VERY slightly out of sync -- picture and audio. I just didn't feel right and after watching it very closely, I think that is the problem. This would definitely be my 1st choice of the 3 currently available. However, I will be interested in seeing the version from Baden-Baden that is due to be released by Opus Arte with Kent Nagano conducting.
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Goetz Friedrich's production of "Lohengrin" was first seen at the Bayreuth Festival in 1979, and was filmed in 1982. The cast is headed by Peter Hofmann, Karan Armstrong (now Friedrich's widow), Elizabeth Connell, Leif Roar, Siegfried Vogel, and Bernd Weikl.

The late Hofmann certainly looks the part of the knight of the title, and he was at his considerable best in 1982. Armstrong is one of the greatest singing-actresses, and is extraordinarily moving as Elsa. Far from the usual simpering heroine, Armstrong's portrayal is far more nuanced--even negative--than most, her tortured soul made plain before us. Her voice is not conventionally pretty, to be certain, but is completely expressive. This is a great portrayal.

Connell sings well as Ortrud, but what we miss is the demonic aspect that the great Dunja Vejzovic gives us so memorably in Herbert von Karajan's recording (1976-81) and the DVD conducted by Claudio Abbado (1990). Hers is a towering characterisation.

The remainder of this Bayreuth cast is excellent, with Weikl the greatest imaginable Herald. This is perhaps the finest Friedrich production on DVD, exposing the nerves of Richard Wagner's romantic opera, with beautiful costuming (by Frieda Parmeggiani) revealing the physical beauty of the hero and heroine.
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