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Wagner: Lohengrin

3.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Wagner's Lohengrin is the mythical tale of the mysterious Knight of the Grail, who appears to defend the princess Elsa - wrongly accused of the murder of her brother. Highlights of Wagner's most lyrical score include the famous Wedding March, which accompanies the marriage of Lohengrin and Elsa.

Superstar tenor Jonas Kaufmann ("currently the hottest tenor in opera" - The New York Times) makes his role debut in this performance from 2009 and filmed in Munich. He is joined by German soprano Anja Harteros - a former winner of the prestigious Cardiff Singer Of The World competition.

"With all of this in mind, why was the performance unforgettable? Quite simply because tenor Jonas Kaufmann sang a Lohengrin for the ages. Not one minute of his performance was less than extraordinary." - Opera News


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Wolfgang Koch, Michaela Schuster, Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Writers: Richard Wagner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: June 21, 2010
  • Run Time: 207.00 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003AMAOW4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The visual part of this DVD is sore; the production is awful; the vocal is glorious. Have Europeans worn out their sense of beauty and aesthetics? An imaginative production need not be banal or misconstrue the text. Wagner's Lohengrin does not require this kind of reinterpretation which is a diservice to the composer's vision and to a masterpiece.
The soloists are vocally spectacular. Jonas Kaufmann is the best Lohengrin of this generation and possibly of the past half century. Anja Harteros and Michaela Schuster are authoritative interpreeters of Elsa and Ortrud in this most beautiful score. The remainder of the cast, the chorus and the orchestra under Kent Nagano are simply wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the recording. I highly recommend, turning the visual screen off so you don't have to experience the disjunction that exists between the text and music, and what you are seeing on the screen. Whoever saw Lohengrin, instead of riding a swan, walk in carrying a stuffed dead swan in his arms? What are Lohengrin and Elsa doing laying bricks in the middle of the day? The performance goes on and on like this for the 200 minutes that the opera lasts. Since so far a CD version is not available, I recommend you buy the DVD, turn off the visual, just sit back, close your eyes and enjoy a most memorable Lohengrin. We don't need to see this travesty. The CD would have been just fine and a lot less expensive.
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Format: DVD
It appears that this 2009 Munich Festival production is the 'product' of Richard Jones.
I don't know what is Mr. Jones's conception of this beautiful work apart from what's being stated in the liner leaflet of this DVD. If that outline is how Mr. Jones conceived this work, am much afraid that he missed out the most important human aspect of this opera - FAITH. And this is not to say that I was bitterly disappointed that the Lohengrin, no less than the highly expected Jonas Kaufmann, appeared on stage in track suit and sport tee, and the Princess Elsa appeared in workman trousers.
My own benchmark of this most romantic of Wagner's works is the Bayreuth 1982 production, with Peter Hofmann in the title role and Karen Armstrong as Elsa. Since the time of Peter Hofmann, there has not been any tenor who could muster the same degree of conviction on stage portraying the Knight of the Holy Grail. Jonas Kaufmann is the FIRST hopeful. But alas, I would only say that this 'matter-of-fact' styled production robbed in entirety the opera of its romanticism and lyrical drama.
Musically, the bridal chorus sounds grossly inadequate. And I have a feeling that Kent Nagano allowed the music to drag, resulting in some vocal wobbling in most singers, especially the low male voices, and affected members of the chorus.
The only saving aspect of this production is of course without doubt the two lead singers. I would say that both Kaufmann and Anja Hertaros rank among the BEST in their respective roles since the last decade. Hertaros is in both the visual and vocal aspects reminiscent of Astrid Varnay, while Kaufmann, though not necessarily a heldentenor (especially in larger houses), owns an instrument that, if he guards it properly with due care, would be capable of interpreting a number (but not all) of Wagnerian roles to great acclaim. The fact that this production presents him as a 'man in the street' is the greatest shame.
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Format: DVD
Even reviewers who dismissed the direction of this production as "eurotrash" tended to admire Kent Nagano and the musical values; and the power of the acting and singing of Jonas Kaufmann, Anja Harteros, Wolfgang Koch and Michaela Schuster. I think that they are all marvellous.

Where I have trouble is with the realisation of the director's concept. Instead of a dreamy passive Elsa waiting for a protector, we have a strong woman who knows what she wants: basically a family of her own and stability. Lohengrin too is after much the same thing -- presumably the sterility of Montsalvat was getting to him. That is understandable. But this is symbolised by the building of a house which progresses until the roof is put on at the beginning of Act III. It is a huge house and requires many workers toiling away in the background (and sometimes the foreground with with wheelbarrows and bundles of bricks) -- and it is all too too busy and distracting as the drama of the opera and its conflicts unfolds stage front.

That is unfortunate because the conflicts are so stark and the performers are so good.

On the other hand, all this building, and obvious need of Elsa and Lohengrin for each other within their home, leads inevitably to its loss and the tragedy of Act III. I have never seen it done so powerfully and with such pathos. Kaufmann's despair and interpretation of the music is a marvel -- as is that of Harteros.

The other twist, with which purists might disagree, is that Elsa does not die. (I have seen this before in Herzog's Bayreuth production where, if I remember correctly, Elsa and Ortrud join hands as Gottfried appears just before the final curtain.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Another beautifully sung and conducted music drama ruined, mercilessly sabotaged by Richard Jones' production. Set in 1930's (?) Germany , this is a society in which duels are fought with swords but handguns serve to try to commit suicide; where cement mixers and microphones are present but people get summarily burned at the stake. And how does Brabant fit into this unsurpassed, unmitigated mess?

Poor Elsa, she does not get a knight, she gets a bricklayer. He must have been in the middle of his midday jog when he was peremptorily summoned to defend her: he did not have the chance to shower, shave, and get some decentclothes on.

Euro-madness,euro-idiocy: pure,undiluted eurotrash.
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