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The Golden Ring [DVD Video]
The Golden Ring
DVD Video
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
NR     2007     1hr 28min

Studio: Uni Dist Corp (music) Release Date: 08/14/2007


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Movie Details

Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, DTS, Classical, Documentary
Studio: Decca
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/14/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 28min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

A Great "Making of" Documentary for Those That Love Music
Nick | Boulder, CO USA | 10/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After reading John Culshaw's memoir of the Ring recording, Ring Resounding, I have looked for the BBC documentary. I first found it on LaserDisc and truly enjoyed the experience of watching Gotterdammerung being recorded. After moving beyond that obsolete format, I looked for the DVD version. While it showed up as being made, it was no longer availalbe. Following the death of Birgit Nilsson, Decca (London) reissued the DVD. Thank you!

The technical aspects of the DVD are superb--the sound is clean and thrilling (even though it is in Dolby Digital Mono for the documentary portion). The Culshaw decision to require the BBC to use the sound as recorded by Decca, instead of their own sound, has stood the test of time very well. The Dolby Digital 5.1 remastering of key segments from the entire Ring recording was a great addition to the DVD that was not on the older LaserDisc format. As noted by others, it would be a joy to have a re-issued Ring on DVD in a new digital remastering. It should be noted that the remastering does not product a "movie-like" sound stage.

The real treasure is seeing talent at work. The singers were the best of their generation, and some without peer even today. The production staff's dedication to achieving what some have called 'the greatest achievement in recording history' is palpable. It reminds one how much great recorded music the world has lost due to the premature death of John Culshaw. To see the Vienna Philharmonic and Georg Solti at work is a very rare treat.

In short, this DVD is very highly recommended. It works for Wagnerites, music lovers, those interested in recording, and opera producers and directors (imagine if Wagner's, or any other composer's intentions were so closely followed in the theater)."
The film that made me an operaphile
Cassandra | 04/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When PBS aired this documentary in the 1960's, I was not only fascinated by the studio recording mechanics but AWED BY THAT MUSIC! I listened to both rock n' roll and classical music in that order; but this program marked a hinge moment in my life. To answer those criticisms that one must know the foreign language to appreciate the text of a particular opera, I knew just a handful of German words and nothing about the Niebelung myth. Yet, those grand, lush, motif-laden, and passionate sounds gave my teenage hormones a transcendent experience. Translation: I was blown away.

As corny as it may sound, I was hooked on Wagner from that presentation. I have a polite personality, but I remember persistently annoying my mother for a month's advance of my $3.00 per week allowance ($12.00) to purchase the monaural recording of Gotterdammerung. (Oh, my goodness, was I becoming Wagnerian in temperament?) That opera exposed me to the entire Ring, then to the opera canon, lieder, oratorios, instrumentalists, and other classical formats. Most fans ease into classical music, and especially opera, with Carmen or Don Giovanni. I charged into opera through one of its most complex works. Happily, this wonderful session is preserved on DVD."
For all Wagnarians and the people just getting to know Wagne
John Bennett | Australia | 01/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"A recording of such a scale is revealed in this DVD. Only down side is that the Decca people didn't record the first session but what you'll experiance in the last is worth every penny!"
An outstanding classical "making of" special
T. Fisher | 08/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This black-and-white BBC television documentary captures scenes and interviews from the making of Decca's "Götterdämmerung" by Sir Georg Solti and the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna in 1965 -- the final recording in Solti's Ring Cycle. The documentary does not cover any of the other operas in the Cycle, just Götterdämmerung. In addition to the original television recording, clocking in at 88 minutes, there are also 69 minutes of remastered audio highlights from the entire cycle.

I really enjoyed the documentary and its look behind the scenes at what many regard as the greatest recording ever of the complete Ring Cycle. The tremendous time and expense of making the recording are apparent. It made me wonder whether any record companies would be willing or able to put this kind of care and investment into productions today.

Solti says in an interview that the schedule called for a minimum of 15 minutes of completed recording every day. The documentary shows examples of the process of takes and retakes, honing the sound of each passage until perfect. The producers also took costly steps such as the manufacturing of new Stierhorns, which are used briefly in Acts 2 and 3 of the opera. (Presumably the same horns had already been used in Die Walküre.)

It is also wonderful to see some of the opera greats of the day, including Birgit Nilsson and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, performing in the studio setting and speaking about the recording process -- not to mention doing things that are unthinkable today, like smoking! In fact, it seems the whole cast, crew and orchestra was smoking most of the time -- very strange to see today. The film gives a nice picture of the personalities and processes involved in these great recordings. Highly recommended!