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Wagner - Lohengrin (remastered)

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Lohengrin (2 Dvd)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Hofmann, Eva Marton, Leonie Rysanek, Leif Roar, John Macurdy
  • Directors: August Everding
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, Subtitled, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, German, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: August 8, 2006
  • Run Time: 220 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F3TAO4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,387 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wagner - Lohengrin (remastered)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Birman TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 9, 2008
Format: DVD
Wagner's 1850 vision of rapturous stillness, the ecstasy of love and of the strange and terrible beauty that is barely discernable in the eternal silence that rounds our lives, has often been one of the most difficult of his operas to stage. Rudolph Kempe's brilliant 1964 recording on EMI is still the finest recorded version available of this deeply mystical work. Wagner perfected the technique of sonically weaving a cosmic stage upon which human passions play out in his later masterpieces, especially Tristan and Parsifal, but Lohengrin is the headwater of much of his greatest later artistry.

Film director Werner Herzog staged this production under the watchful eye of Bayreuther Festspiele artistic director (and Wagner grandson), Wolfgang Wagner. Herzog was given his marching orders: this production must stay in the repertoire a minimum of five years - "so no trendy antics." By blending the most modern and up-to-date theater technology: smoke, lasers, film back projection, with a deeply traditional stage production, Herzog has essentially created a late 20th century version of a 19th century picture-book world that romantically recreates the primitive 10th century northern-European setting. Nothing exemplifies this more than Lohengrin's sudden, heroic swan-borne entrance through a scrim of laser light and smoke. The effect is electrifying as it is perfectly timed to Wagner's powerful music. Moments such as these work brilliantly in combination with the magnificent sound and exemplary performance of the Bayreuther Festspiele. This time travel telescoping of three temporal sensibilities, crisply focuses (into a slightly more Earthbound vision) Wagner's occasional over-reaching for mythic effects, the very thing that makes his operas so difficult to stage coherently.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This 1986 Met 'Lohengrin' proves why a beautiful sound is not everything.

I purchased the earlier 1982 Bayreauth production (which also features Hofmann and Leir Roar) and after watching both DVD's - the difference was an eye opener. In the earlier Bayreauth production, Peter Hofmann's voice is far more beautiful, his upper notes not as strained as they are 4 years later at the Met. Also, his Bayreauth costumes are far more beautiful and more fitting than the Met ones with their 'Grand ole Opry' rhinesteone gloves and silver boots (ugh!). In addition, the voices of the women (Karan Armstrong and Elizabeth Connell) in the earlier Bayreauth production are less forced, more smooth, more note perfect than the voices of the women (Eva Marton and Leonie Rysanek) in the Met performance which sound strained, almost screeching and even at times off-key.

Yet the Met production is awesome, stupendous! -- while the Bayreauth production almost makes you yawn. The Met production has power, feeling, it has grandeur - from the first moment you are swept up in it, you believe in the characters, you feel their rage, greed, weakness and grandeur. No matter how many times you watch the Met DVD, you still get the goose bumps, the tingle, the joy of experiencing 'Lohengrin' as it was meant to be felt. Hofmann's 'Lohengrin' in the Met is more regal, more pained, more magnificent in his desolation at the end by Elsa's betrayal. And in the Met production Hofmann's piety burns through more powerfully than in the Bayreauth. Marton's 'Elsa' is stunning - she hits her notes with power but it is her acting that blew me away.
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Format: DVD
I have seen 3 DVD productions of Lohengrin -- this one, the MET version with Hoffman/Marton, and the Vienna version with Domingo/Studer. As is often the case, none is "ideal" but I rate this version significantly above the other two. It doesn't have the strongest Lohengrin but Frey is certainly more than adequate. His youthful appearance is a definite asset and if he is a little "wooden", that fits with the otherworldliness of the character. (Domingo, by contrast, is more Melchior-like -- large voice and girth, great for a CD, not so credible for a DVD with many EXTREME CLOSEUPS.) Studer looks and sings well; her costumes (like those of others in this production) are of the generic flowing robes variety -- but they are colorful and can be viewed as both traditional and timeless. (Again, for comparison, the costumes of the Vienna production are probably more accurate for 10th century Europe but are dismal in appearance; coupled with the low lighting and the claustrophobic stage and you have an ugly production.) Ortrud (Schnaut) is a standout (certainly not a lovely voice, but a powerful one well suited for the character; also a good actress). But the overwhelming impression is that of viewing a fairy tale courtesy of the scenery, lighting, and stage movement that Herzog brings to the production. Scenes appear to leap from a children's story book or, perhaps, a medieval book of hours. There are changes of weather (snow), changes of light from night to day, rippling water, and so forth. But the production is not literal like the MET and Vienna Lohengrins. There is a smoke and laser show accompanying Lohengrin's entrance and exit (but it is in keeping with the fairy tale atmosphere). For me, this production reflects the essence of Lohengrin -- a mythological tale that is enhanced by the lighting, colors, and careful arrangement of the singers in living tableaux.
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