Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Offenbach Ritter Blaubart|
Actors: Offenbach, Voigtmann, Nocker, Schlemm, Enders
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
Walter Felsenstein (1901 1975), founder and general director of the — Komische Oper in Berlin, was one of the twentieth century's greatest — creative theatre directors, who played a hugely important role in the — revival of o... more »
An Opera which is successful on its own terms
Jay Silman | New York City, New York | 11/02/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This operetta, Barbe Bleu(Bluebeard), is sung in German but the viewer of this DVD has the option to view the subtitles in English, French and Italian. There is a second DVD that accompanies the original DVD in the package and it contains stage directions and film clips from performances of this work in the 1960's. The DVD captures the spirit of the original performances which won world wide acclaim everywhere except in France. It would have captured France if the performance was sung in French, the original language of this Opera. The director, Walter Felsenstein, does a magnificent job in directing this production in sets that could have originated in 19th century productions of this work. It would have been nice if the libretto to this operetta was enclosed with the DVD.
I recommend this DVD for purchase to those who like Offenbach, French comedy, and a production which will probably not be rivalled anytime soon. Purchase now before it goes out of print!"
"Bluebeard" with an overabundantly blue palette
J. Faulk | New York NY USA | 12/15/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vienna-born Walter Felsenstein (1901-1975) founded the Comic Opera of Berlin in 1947 under Soviet sponsorship. He oversaw the studio filming of his very popular stage production of Offenbach's operetta Bluebeard in 1973. This work, comprising spoken and sung portions, was rendered into German, with some improving emendations.
The DVD offers a well-refurbished print that however is flawed by the color process which looks like two-strip, monotonizing blue with splashes of orange-red. Hardly the sumptious Technicolour of Pressburger-Powell's Tales of Hoffmann.
The operetta comprises four scenes: a country village, the throne room, the alchemist-poisoner's cellar, the ceremonial hall for marriage.
The acting is relentless caricature, and every performer does his thing as told. (You may be a bit embarrassed to see grown-ups behaving so, until you get used to it.) Bluebeard's costume is absolutely baroque. The wigs are elaborate and stiff. The black eyelashes pasted on the women worsen the hard visages of some of these Sovietized frauleins.
"Romantic" complications abound as shepherdess & shepherd turn out to be princess & prince, the king and his "unfaithful" queen spat, Bluebeard (having lost five wives to "natural" causes) seeks to rid himself of a potential sixth so he can have the princess as a seventh. And the obsequious courtiers can think only of their own advancement. At final crisis, someone steps up and says, Oh hell, this is just an operetta, let's end happy-snappy. Bad idea: the credits roll over the final musical number.
The music is jaunty and clever, the singing professional, entertainment is sustained, but naught is beautiful, dramatic, or memorable. Pressburger-Powell would have done better, but with more emendations and more artistic design and filming techniques, plus ballet!
In the supplements, constituting disc 2, Felsenstein gives two short audio-only interviews (1963, '64) on filming and production, while stills occupy the screen. The third supp shows programs from international stage productions, where only the large type is legible. There is also a booklet.
In sum, this IS Offenbach, nicely rendered into the German tongue, with a strong directorial hand, and worth your money and time."
Dr. J. J. Kregarman | Denver, Colorado United States | 11/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not Offenbach's greatest operetta but it is indeed quite enjoyable. The singers are all quite good and are remarkable actors. The sets and costumes are very good, and the sound is better than acceptable. All in all everything is done with verve and thus this is one of the best DVDs of an Offenbach operetta. While it is done mostly in German, it still bubbles."