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Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Aug 09, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The second part of Patrice Chreau's epoch-making Bayreuth Ring is a radical re-imagining of Die Walkre, unprecedented in its psychological penetration. "This Wagnerian drama," says Chreau, "which is at once classical theatre and domestic comedy, enables us to interpret the myths in terms that are both anecdotal and sublime...With Wagner one is dealing with a drama turned virtually white-hot by the music." "Nothing ever seen before on television has given better insight into Wagner's genius" (The New York Times).

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Wagner's ideas of "racial purity" reach a logical conclusion in Act I of Die Walküre, powerfully performed in this Bayreuth production. Siegfried, the tragic hero of the cycle, is begotten in an adulterous, incestuous mating of Siegmund (Peter Hoffmann) and Sieglinde (Jeanne Altmeyer), a twin brother and sister. No miscegenation here.

Siegfried will not be seen until the next opera in the cycle. For now, the Valkyries (after their famous, musically spectacular ride) are asked to protect Sieglinde, his pregnant mother-to-be, until he can be born. His father is killed in a fight with Hunding, Sieglinde's brutish husband, with Wotan intervening against his will to help the wronged spouse. Wotan has been forced by his wife Fricka, who is the goddess of marriage, elegantly played by Hanna Schwartz. Her victory is a striking display of Wotan's diminishing powers. Brunnhilde, Wotan's daughter and leader of the Valkyries (Gwyneth Jones), disobeys a paternal prohibition, rescues Sieglinde and hides her in safety to wait out her pregnancy. For this, she is punished by losing her divine status and being left asleep for years, surrounded by a circle of magic fire, until a hero (Siegfried, who has not yet been born) will come to rescue her.

This episode is extremely well-sung, with particularly notable work by Hoffmann, Altmeyer, Schwartz, Jones and Donald McIntyre as Wotan, while conductor Pierre Boulez and director Patrice Chéreau work smoothly together to define the opera's overall form and continuity. --Joe McLellan


Special Features

  • Sung in German with subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Hofmann, Jeannine Altmeyer, Katie Clarke, Elisabeth Glauser, Ilse Gramatzki
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Richard Wagner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0), German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo), English (DTS 5.1), English (PCM Stereo)
  • 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 9, 2005
  • Run Time: 216 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00092ZAOA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,169 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wagner: Die Walkure - Boulez Ring Cycle Part 2" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stanley Crowe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 15, 2016
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The Chereau-Boulez "Ring" took its lumps at the time (early 1970s), but it has worn well. It's worth remembering, I think, that the age of Wagner was coincident with or overlapped the age of Tennyson, of John Stuart Mill, of Matthew Arnold, of Marx, Carlyle, and Nietzsche -- and in all of these writers (and others besides) one finds explorations of the relations between power and freedom. Sometimes what seems to be power is mere self-will or self-indulgence, and sometimes the apparently powerful find themselves less free than they would like precisely because they are dependent of people less free than they they are. Wotan's problem is a 19th Century problem, and you don't have to get into religion or metaphysics to get at it. Good old politics and psychology will do just fine! Chereau obviously understands this, and his concept reflects it. Most importantly, he has in Boulez a conductor who moves things along with energy and clarity where needed, but with tenderness and eloquence too; and he has a cast who obviously have completely bought in to his concept and who realize it brilliantly. None of the singers will strike you as the world's greatest voices, but they are all very good, and they are splendid actors as well. The first and third Acts can be pretty statically staged and still make their effects, but they are enlivened here, and most important, the second Act is just superbly imagined and performed. The scenes between Wotan and Fricka and Wotan and Brunnhilde are gripping -- great use of simple props, mirror and chair, in the latter -- and the scenes of Sieglinde's hysteria (coming after Fricka's denunciation of her and Siegmund) and, especially the "Todesverkundigung" are deeply moving.Read more ›
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I first saw this Bayreuth production on TV many years ago and was overwhelmed by its beauty. Fortunately, it is available on DVD. Altmeyer and Hofmann are an unforgettable Siegmund and Sieglinde, absolutely convincing and lovely to behold. Then Gwyneth Jones is an equally beautiful Brunnhilde. If you love the Ring, this is a must for your collection!
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The reviews written here say "WONDERFUL!" "A solid performance!" "Superb Production!" Forget 'bout it. All you need to know is that you will be viewing Jeannine Altmeyer as "Sieglinde" in Full Screen, Surround Sound..really now..that's all you need to know...whew!!
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Wow! What a great performance. I have listened to and watched numerous productions of Wagner's Ring. This performance is easily the best that I have ever seen. The sensuality of the first act, drama of the second, and finally the heartbreak and catharsis of the third provided an emotional roller coaster ride. Chereau's and Boulez's vision to place the scene outside of its normal medieval-fantasy setting made the characters all the more involving and believable. Wotan's final parting with his favorite daughter, Brunhilde, gave my goose bumps. This is an unforgettable performance that I cannot recommend any more highly.
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This is by far the best Ring on DVD. It is not only a timeless production but also the choice of soloists is excellent. Die Walküre is simply my favorite opera of the Ring, Götterdämmerung being a sturdy second.
It is good to have several 'Rings' but this one is a must.
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