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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kaufman's voice is above anything I've ever heard. Many of the reviews here have been very critical of the set. For *Wagner purists*, that criticism may be so. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lisa F Horowitz
I love Kaufmann and Harteros in this production. Kaufmann is absolutely amazing Lohengrin and Harteros is absolutely exceptional Elsa. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Markéta
Only worth buying for 3 or 4 excellent performances. I have no problem with modern interpretations, but this production is just silly. The performers deserve better.Published 22 months ago by John Marsilia
Music and voices the best.
cenário, dress, they are modern , no good.
Since I had never seen a producton of Lohergin I had no expectations excepte for the music and the singing that I expected from Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros. Read morePublished on July 19, 2014 by Marilyn Kosmowski
All are gifted interpreters of their respective roles, and Jonas Kaufmann takes the elad. More evil in Ortrud is called for. Read morePublished on May 3, 2014 by Daniel G. Madigan
I agonized for several years over whether to take the plunge and buy this DVD. I was torn between my admiration for the remarkable Jonas Kaufmann and Anja Harteros and the... Read morePublished on April 14, 2014 by Mark Haxthausen
I feel terrible to write a negative revue on such a beautiful music and singers. I am refering myself to them, contrary, I will close my eyes and listen to the music and the singer... Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by Madi Barrena
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