Wagner - Lohengrin / Peter Hofmann, Karan Armstrong, Bernd Weikl, Elizabeth Connell, Leif Roar, Woldemar Nelsson, Bayreuth Opera
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am now the proud owner of two Bayreuth Lohengrins. My enthusiasm for this production parallels my enthusiasm for the other, which I believe you can read on this site. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert Avant
I prefer the Met performance. Peter Hofmann is wonderful in both performances. But Eva Marton is a better Elsa. She is wonderful. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Boz
We live in a cinematic age and often viewers are mollified by the appearance of young and sexy singers even if they aren't very good singers. Read morePublished 21 months ago by pekinman
The best all round performance of Lohengrin that I have personally heard. Though performed & recorded in 1982, the sound is spectactular and again, brilliantly conducted by... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Miles A Lybeck
In terms of performance, I don't think this can be beat. Hofmann, Armstrong and Roar are all close to ideal. Read morePublished on May 13, 2013 by P. Baum
This video features the lead singer who actually resembles the title character, which is a blessing. The others are less convincing, with the exception of Ortrud: she's fine. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Rimmozia
Overall performance is excellent, the set is simplistic yet effective. But I am surprised that nobody mentioned about the poor video quality. Read morePublished on January 31, 2012 by Goldberg
What a sensational production. It can never get any better. Peter Hofmann (RIP) the best Lohengrin ever. A voice directly from heaven! Read morePublished on April 13, 2011 by Cat-Mom
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