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Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) [Blu-ray]
Wagner Der Ring des Nibelungen
The Ring Cycle
Actors: Wagner, St Clair, Aurich, Blanck, Caves
Director: Riley
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2009     15hr 30min

First Ring Cycle box set on Blu Ray! — Outside Germany, the name Weimar tends to evoke mixed feelings — and pictures of German history of the last hundred years. Within — Germany, Weimar means a town in the state of Thuringia...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Wagner, St Clair, Aurich, Blanck, Caves
Director: Riley
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: DTS, Classical
Studio: Arthaus Musik
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/29/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 15hr 30min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 8
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
Edition: Classical
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Ring as family saga - very different
pointone | Bournemouth UK | 09/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This Weimar production changes the Ring from a mythological drama as conceived by Wagner into a family saga.

Staging is minimal and claims to include all the props mentioned in Wagner's score and usually omitted (Fricka's rams cart, Grane represented by a women dressed in black, etc): plus obscure elements (once understood they are all relevant to the family saga concept).

The preludes to each of the operas accompany a silent drama filling in the gaps to flesh out the family saga concept. Also Hagen appears as a baby in Rheingold, and in Siegfried as a young man in a substantial silent part. They all start with various versions of the Norns' music that Wagner composed prior to the final version at the beginning of Gotterdammerung.

This is an ensemble version of the Ring and parts are switched between singers from opera to opera, resulting in a varying quality of singing.

The best performances are by Christine Hansmann (Fricka), Erin Caves (Loge and Siegmund) Kirsten Blanck (Sieglinde), Frieder Aurich (Mime) and Johnny van Hal acting a rather one dimensionsal Siegfried.

There are three Wotans and two Alberichs. In Rheingold Mario Hoff is Wotan and Thomas Mowes (Alberich), and they reverse their roles in Siegfried where Mowes develops a terrible wobble (surely not vibrato!) in his lower register. Renatus Meszar is the Walkurie Wotan and a fine Hagen. These singers succeed by a combination of acting and singing, rather than vocal performance alone.

Catherine Foster sings Brunnhilde throughout and gives arguably the best performance in the set with a fine clear voice that shines through the orchestra.

The acting throughout is good.

The somewhat understated conducting by Carl St. Clair works fine for this performance and the Blu Ray 1080i video and sound are fine.

CONCLUSION - For some Wagner lovers this will be a Ring too far, but if you like a challenge and buy into the radically different family saga dramaturgy this as an absorbing and possibly unique production (albeit with flaws) where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

A trial rental could be a good idea before deciding to purchase.
Buy it to listen, but forget the production.
Bryan Leech | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | 06/07/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I rarely write brief reviews, but this release deserves nothing more. Aurally, it is quite good, without being exceptional. Catherine Foster brings a fine Brunnhilde, and Johnny van Hal a good Siegfried, amongst a cast that, vocally is quite good. Orchestra and chorus also sound well, with the conductor, Carl St. Clair, showing a good grasp of the work.

But at this point, they seem to have exhausted their funds. The sets generally appear to have been made by an amateur company, and one is left to wonder if there was a director present at all stages there are so many places where the cast seem to move aimlessly, unsure of where they are supposed to go. The conclusion of Gotterdammerung must represent the worst staging ever presented. Nothing happens.

Technically, the sound (PCM Stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) is fine and the 16:9 1080i image reasonable.

In summary: musically quite good, but in no way outstanding; visually, a disaster."