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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen

3.9 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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(Oct 25, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

The production of Wagner's Ring at the Bayreuth Festival is an event that takes place only once every six years. Bayreuth recordings of the complete cycle are very rare; this being only the second filmed version. The Kupfer/Barenboim Ring was performed over a five-year period and recorded at the conclusion when the Bayreuth Workshop had raised the quality of the performance to an almost unsurpassable level (Der Tagesspiegel)

In going back to the original high definition video masters and using cutting edge encoding technology, we are able to maximize the quality of this new presentation of the Ring. This, along with the larger 11 disc transfer, allows us to exploit the DVD standard to its fullest.

Das Rheingold
John Tomlinson: Wotan
Bodo Brinkmann: Donner
Kurt Schreibmayer: Froh
Graham Clark : Loge
Gunter von Kannen: Alberich
Helmut Pampuch: Mime
Matthias Halle: Fasolt
Philip Kang: Fafner
Linda Finnie: Fricka
Eva Johansson: Freia
Annette Kattenbaum: Wellgunde
Jane Turner: Flosshilde

Die Walkure
Poul Elming: Siegmund
Nadine: Secunde Sieglinde
Matthias Halle: Hunding
John Tomlinson: Wotan
Anne Evans: Brunnhilde
Linda Finnie: Fricka/Siegrune
Eva Johansson: Gerhilde
Ruth Floeren: Ortlinde
Shirley Close: W altraute
Hitomi Katagiri: Schwertleite
Eva-Maria Bundschuh: Helmwige
Birgitta Svendann: Grimgerde
Hebe Dijkstra: Roaweiae

Siegfried
Siegfried Jerusalem: Siegfried
John Tomlinson: Der Wandererv Gunter von Kannen: Alberich
Philip Kang: Fafner
Graham Clark: Mime
Anne Evans: Brunnhilde
Birgitta Svendan: Erda
Hilde Leidland: Waldvogel

Gotterdammerung
Siegfried Jerusalem: Siegfried
Bodo Brinkmann: Gunther
Philip Kang: Hagen
Gunter von Kannen: Alberich
Anne Evans: Brunnhilde
Eva-Maria Bundschuh: Gutrune
Waltraud Meier: Waltraute
Birgitta Svendan: 1. Norn
Linda Finnie: 2. Norn
Uta Priew: 3. Norn
Hilde Leidland: Woglinde
Annette Kattenbaum: Wellgunde
Jane Turner: Flosshilde

Bonus feature (DVD 1)
Daniel Barenboim and John Tomlinson talk about the Harry Kupfer production of the Ring at Bayreuth in 1991 and 1992

Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Staged and directed by Harry Kupfer
Stage design: Hans Schavernoch
Costume design: Reinhard Heinrich
Video director: Horant H. Hohlfeld
Artistic supervision Wolfgang Wagner


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bayreuth Festival, Siegfried Jerusalem, John Tomlinson, Anne Evans, Daniel Barenboim
  • Directors: Harry Kupfer
  • Writers: Richard Wagner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Box set, Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 11
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 25, 2011
  • Run Time: 917 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005FWO3QK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,943 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Todd Kay on May 21, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Complete video sets of DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN have proliferated in the DVD era, but it was not terribly long ago that there were only three choices: the Bayreuth centenary staging by Patrice Chéreau, conducted by Pierre Boulez (taped for broadcast 1979-80, now on DG DVD); the Met's, directed by Otto Schenk and conducted by James Levine (1989-90, also DG), and this later Bayreuth directed by Harry Kupfer, the orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim (1991-92). All had/have their constituents, and together they still provide a strong backbone for the RING videography. The Met's is the most conservative and literal in taking Wagner's mythic saga more or less at face value, and goes for the most extravagant realism. The Chéreau is more provocative and idiosyncratic, treating the work as sociopolitical allegory; the Kupfer is equally provocative in its way, but more of a parable about eternal recurrence, an allusive meditation on ruin and rebirth. Of the three, I could most easily do without the Met's. For a first recommendation, I waffle between the two Bayreuths, which have in common more than their venue and orchestra/chorus. Both feature detailed and committed acting, for example. But the Kupfer/Barenboim does benefit from being the more technically up to date, and it wears its nearly 20 years well, still looking and sounding very good even alongside the post-millennial competition.

Kupfer's greatest strength as a director here is his gift for "Personenregie." Every character seems thought through from the ground up. Who is Wotan, Siegmund, Mime, et cetera, not just in some abstract hand-me-down sense but in *this* production, and in relation to all the other characters in his or her sphere?
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Format: DVD
This review is an update to the earlier summary review supplied for the DVD box set. I now have received the Blu-ray upgrade and it has fulfilled all my hopes for a markedly enhanced experience. The performances remain the same of course so much of what follows applies to both the DVD and the Blu-ray issues. Nevertheless it must be stressed at the outset that all the usual advantages of Blu-ray are readily to be enjoyed with this latest version of the recording. Those interested in the upgrade may purchase it without fear of disappointment.

The biggest surprise for me when first experiencing this set of the Ring was the effect of considerable movement - much of it fast and urgent. This is a concept far from the old style of `stand and deliver' and it achieves a considerable accumulative effect when followed through the whole set of four operas. For the purposes of this review I will restrict myself to considering the broad issues relating to this set. More specific comments can be found under the individual issues which can still be bought separately on DVD.

Quick movement is important to this production as mentioned above. Considerable use is made of the vast stage at Bayreuth so that the settings can be built on an appropriately huge scale and so that characters can move rapidly around unfettered by limitations of space. This enables this entire production to differ fundamentally from many other conceptions that are more constrained by spatial considerations and which frequently have far less urgent movement and which have to rely upon other means to achieve their purpose.

Quite apart from the purely musical considerations, this set makes extensive use of laser technology.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I just want to chime in to thank Kultur for releasing my favorite Ring Cycle in video in the blu-ray format.(*) Compared with Kultur's previous DVD release of the same performance, this blu-ray release has slight enhancement in the video and in the DTS 5.1 audio track, but with no perceptible difference in the LPCM audio track. Here are some points which might prove useful for your purchase decision.

0. This Ring Cycle was filmed in the summer of 1991 and 1992 at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus without the audience, after a 5-year period of Bayreuth Workshop. It is the first Ring Cycle recorded in the true surround setting. Perhaps due to the 5-year experience, the performers have the wonderful sense of "living-in" the drama.

1. If my personal taste is any guide, this is by very far the best musical performance of the ring cycle ever recorded *in video* to date. Daniel Barenboim proves himself a true Wagner conductor (and a true disciple of Wilhelm Furtwängler) with this magnificently intense performance, probably the best in decades. Here every detail in the score contributes to the drama and no dramatic event is not underlined by the music. He also picked many fresh voices over the established Wagnerian singers. For example neither Anne Evans nor John Tomlinson is your average Wagner singer. Several of the principals had never performed their roles before, including Tomlinson, Jerusalem, and von Kannen. They however deliver their roles with fresh voice and insight.
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