Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|I Follow a Voice Within Me A Portrait of the Singer Waltraud Meier |
Das Lied von der Erde: Gustav Mahler
Actors: Waltraud Meier, Torsten Kerl, Semyon Bychkov, Cologne Philharmonic Opera
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Mahler would have been pleased
Waldweben | United States | 02/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is mostly excellent in my view. The portrait film on Meier is very well done covering her career with many excerpts from live performances mainly from Wagner but also Mahler Lieder, Berlioz, Verdi. It shows her thought process on how she approaches a role, how she expresses the emotions of the charactor and sing fully engaged in the role. I have other DVD's with her in Tristan & Islode and Parsifal and can agree with her total commitent to what she is singing. She puts Wagner above all other opera composers saying that the others while having great music and melodies, the roles are one deminsional compared to Wagner's characters.
It's somewhat strange that she doesn't mention Mahler at all in the portrait section of the film since the concert section is Das Lied von der Erde. The performance I think is very good, better than the CD with Maazel vocally and musically. The Maazel had Meier, Heppner and the BRSO.
Visually the DVD is crystal clear and the sound is excellent. Bychkov and the WDR Cologne are wonderfull, Bychkov seems to feel this music with a deep understanding. Only a few negative comments musically: The horse galloping section in Von der Schoenheit could have been more exciting and faster. The tam-tam could have been louder at the end of the extended orchestral passage in Der Abschied. The mandolin could have been louder at the end during the Ewig, Ewig. Terston Kerl the tenor sang very well but lacked a little in involvment, needing to look at the score frequently.
Waltraud Meier sang wonderfully and did not look at the score. She knows very well how to sing this music and had just the right amount of visual expression and vocal emoting. A couple of comments on the camera work: I thought there were too many close ups of faces of the orchestra and instruments and not enough of the whole orchestra. Also the camera only should the tam-tam once and not even once for the mandolin.
As a note to the previous reviewer I did not notice any edit error in Von der Schoenheit and watched that movement twice."
Excellent feature on Waltraud Meier
J P Falcon | Fords, New Jersey United States | 02/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Many documentaries concerning classical artists turn out to be a virtual bore, but this feature on Waltraud Meier will hold your attention from first to last. There are many excerpts of her performances throughout the film and you do wish that they were more extended than what was given, such is the artistic powers at her disposal. For the most part, it obviously shows her in a positive light which is to be expected, but there are also comments made about how difficult and demanding she can be, but these references are always couched with explanations. I do not doubt that working with her can be quite stressful and this was illustrated in rehersals for Tristan and Isolde, though you will also see here joke around with Siegfried Jeruselem concerning his age and whether he can still get up off a floor. You also get a glimpse of her in a recording studio as she sings Venus for Daniel Barenboim, and see how demanding and detailed the recording process is. Her personal and opinionated accounts of travel, Wagner, soprano styles, and other topics are interesting. She is not one to mince her words. I enjoyed the feature and will have no difficulties watching it again.The concert portion of the disc is a performance of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied Von Der Erde with Semyon Bychkov conducting the WDR Symphony of Koln. With Meier, is the tenor Torsten Kerl. I first heard Torsten Kerl in a DVD performance of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die Todte Stadt and was amazed at his performance. His ringing bell like tenor is on good display here too as he makes the most of his three songs. Meier also gives a sympathetic performance and Seymon Bychkov shapes a deeply spiritual account, especially in the final movement "Der Abshied". However, I must point out that there is an egregious edit mishap in the 4th movement "Von der Schonheit" which mars an otherwise very good performance.Recommended with the slightest of reservations."
A remarkable singer and a moving performance
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 12/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you expect this to be a portrait of opera singers in general or Waltraud Meier in particular, you will be richly rewarded in watching it. Yes, it follows Waltraud Meier through rehearsals, recording CDs, and in live performances on stage, sometimes contrasting her remarks in rehearsal with the final staged versions.
Her thoughts on the role of a singer, the importance of using costume, make-up, lighting and space to help communicate the composer's intent are illuminating. Meier is always questioning, always learning, asking herself why there is a pause at a particular point--why it was written that way and how can she take advantage of it to further the beauty or revelation of the story being told or characters being developed.
Her admiration for Wagner's music dramas is especially telling as she hopes to have another life to further explore Wagner. This is one contemplative, beautiful and brilliant singer who has much to teach us about singing, acting, and putting the most into and squeezing the most out of every singing performance!
As if the perspectives on singing and acting were not dazzling in their own right, the DVD includes a stirring performance of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. This is the most enjoyable performance of Das Lied that I've ever seen and heard. Waltraud Meier and Torsten Kerl both sing flawlessly and with such energy that the entire piece--over an hour long--seems to flash by and is over way too soon. Perhaps it is simply that it draws the viewer/listener into the pathos, for after the final "Ewig.....ewig..." it takes a very long pause before conductor Semyon Bychkov can compose himself and turn to accept the well-deserved applause of the audience.