Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Actors: Gwyneth Jones, Martti Talvela, Josef Greindl, James King, Barry McDaniel
Director: Gustav Rudolf Sellner
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's birth in 1970, German television took Fidelio into the studio and filmed the Deutsche Oper Berlin's production of the composer's only opera. Karl Böhm, well-known as a mast... more »
HOME RUN FOR BOHM AND BEETHOVEN !!!
Anthony Rossi | Florida | 06/14/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have watched several different DVD productions of "FIDELIO" and have owned a couple but this 1970 performance is the GREATEST and most fulfilling which I have experienced! I have had the great joy of being at several live performances at the Metropolitan Opera of this Beethoven masterpiece when Karl Bohm conducted. He always builds his performances to achieve a fantastic climax where you really feel the great joy, courage and love of Leonore and Florestan...(hard to keep a dry eye). Bohm drives the production without an intermission which allows you to feel the emotions without a break...genius! The cast is top rate. Bohm enjoys working with Jones, King, Talvela (he used them on the CD of this opera too). You won't be disappointed. This is another "ode to Joy" !!!"
Brooklyn GV | Brooklyn NY | 08/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I totally agree with the first review. I approached this Fidelio with some caution because it was a studio film and I didn't think you can get any emotional impact but I was wrong on that. The production looks like, or at least comes close to, the actual live performance. This is a beautiful production by any standard present or past and the camera work is outstanding. The closeups very effective. But it's the singing that counts and Karl Bohm's masterful conducting. It never surprises me to find the best performances when Bohm is involved. This is a powerful and passionate cast.
Gwyneth Jones is glorious. Her voice is huge and expressive and she always delivers a well acted and involved performance. The rest of the cast is equally as strong. Gustav Neidling, Josef Greindl, James King and the bigger than life Martti Talvela."
P. Ho | Washington DC | 09/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love Beethoven. And I especially love "Fidelio". But I also realize how hard it is to pull it off, and why it took the composer so long to finally get the opera to its final form. The first act can be long and shapeless in the wrong hands thanks to the combination of spoken dialogue and music. A strong director is required to make sure that things don't sag. The same can be said of the music which requires a great conductor to maintain control and yet still provide exuberant fireworks but also supporting the singers' needs. The singers themselves come across some of the most demanding music in opera, particularly the main soprano and tenor. So severe is the music in its demands that rarely do any singers tackling the roles of Leonore (Fidelio) and Florestan ever sound effortless and truly at ease.
In this DVD we have not a live performance but a filmed one from 1970. (It's too bad there isn't a complete live performance of the Vienna performances that same year w/ Leonard Bernstein; parts of the performance and the rehearsals were recorded, but since I am greedy I wish there were far more existing). At first this distracts the viewer, as we see singers lip synching in different degrees of success. The acting itself is at times rather stagey as well, but ultimately one gets used to these minor points, particularly with such a sympathetic a protagonist as Gwyneth Jones in the title role. Her singing her is at her early best, just before she started having control problems. She has strong rapport with Josef Greindl's wonderful Rocco.
James King is still under rated today. We still read lots of "yes, but" qualifiers whenever critics write about his performances. Here he too is at his very best: a truly lean, masculine sound with an even tone from top to bottom. He and Jon Vickers practically owned this role for decades!
Gwyneth Jones and James King also make a truly believable couple, so important in this opera. They have wonderful chemistry together. When one thinks about it when did Miss Jones not have any chemistry with her colleagues?
The rest of the cast is vocally good, but in the visual medium with its cruel close ups rather below average--thanks mainly to the mature Marzelline and the older Jaquino. And as someone else pointed this out Pizzaro (the great Gustav Neidlinger) hovers around almost like Count Dracula! However the equally great Martti Talvela is luxury casting for Don Ferrando.
Karl Bohm is at the helm of the Deutschen Opera of Berlin and chorus. I have several other recordings (on CD) of the maestro conducting this work, and this is probably his most successful balanced between conducting and consistent singing. I cannot give higher praise than that.
Of the production itself...well, after suffering through the inanities of the recent staging from the Met (even the radiant Karita Mattila couldn't save that one), this one comes as a breath of fresh air. True it is on the traditional side, (meaning that no stupid liberties are taken from the libretto) but that works with "Fidelio".
And for a film produced almost 40 years ago it holds up very well. Maybe not HD, but heck I can live with it, particularly since it still looks so good for its age. (Or maybe I am not as fussy)."
Greindl and Neidlinger in close-up. Wow.
Theodore Shulman | NYC | 11/14/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"OK first a warning: you don't actually see anyone sing. It's a recording with the singers lip-synching.
But you do get to see them act. And they're utterly fantastic. Especially Josef Greindl and Gustav Neidlinger, who owned the villian roles at Bayreuth during the 1950s and 60s. At Bayreuth most of the audience can barely see the singers' faces. Who knew they were such excellent closeup face-artists on top of everything else? Either of them could have had a career in movies. Neidlinger is sort of like Edward G. Robinson for German opera. The same explosions of gleeful sadistic pleasure that invite you to join him in kicking the bigger opponent when he's down. Infantile but also cunning and dangerous.