Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wagner - Gotterdammerung|
Actors: Daniel Barenboim, Siegfried Jerusalem, Anne Evans, Waltraud Meier, Bodo Brinkmann
Director: Harry Kupfer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
The world-class cast for Gotterdammerung is led by Siegfried Jerusalen as Siegfried, Anne Evans as Brunnhilde, Bodo Brinkmann as Gunther, Philip Kang as Hagen, Gunter von Kannen as Alberich, Eva-Maria Bundschuh as Gutru... more »
Save us from "Significant" direction
Robert Baksa | new york state | 01/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There is much to admire about this production. The singing is almost without exception on a very high level as is the orchestral playing. All the characters look their parts except the dwarf Alberich (maybe he's just big for his age) In the main Kupfer's penchant for keeping the characters moving does serve the drama although at a certain point one tires of all that lurching about. It begins to seem like all the characters are on the verge of attacking each other at any moment. By the time you've seen all of the Ring Cycle and get to Gotterdammerung Siegfried's silliness becomes a bit overdone. He seems more an empty headed jock than a hero of heros. Still, one could just justify it all. But then, at the very end of the opera, he throws in somthing so stupid and incongruous that it ruins the effect of the whole cycle. When are artistic administrators going to learn to say "enough is enough. Lets stick to the composer's ideas." Or doesn't the composer count?"
Yet another outstanding Ring - but a lack of focus at the en
Doug Urquhart | Southport, CT USA | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's get the technicalities out of the way first. The source material was high resolution (analogue) video and high-quality multi-channel ambient sound. It has been ably converted to the DVD medium. I listened in DTS 5.1; apart from a few occasions where the orchestra overpowered the singers (which it probably did in the original performance), the reproduction is perfect. The lack of audience was perceptable in the rear channel, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing; it's nice to hear the closing bars without the intrusion of early applause. And isn't it splendid to hear a Bayreuth production the way King Ludwig did?
The performances? Brilliant! Absolutely no cause for complaint. I'll just mention the highlights, but please don't interpret this as a criticism of the rest - they were all Ausgezeichnet!.
John Tomlinson's Wotan showed enormous presence, with a full command of the emotional range demanded by this part. Graham Clark's Loge/Mime was a clear indicator of the outstanding abilities of this character tenor. If you haven't seen it, check out his 'David' in Meistersinger.
Jerusalem was, er, well, Jerusalem. If you've seen him in the Met production, you'll be gratified that he may have gained a few years, but he can still portray the teenage Siegfried.
Waltraud Meyer, as Waltraute, was icing on the cake.
Now, the stage direction.
There were some surprising innovations, and if you'd like to see this production complete with surprises, please stop reading now.
The non-speaking use of Wotan and Alberich was nothing short of genius. I won't go into too many details, but such scenes as the horn interchange between Siegfried and Wotan, the trick with the Waldvogel, Mime mouthing 'Wotan', Alberich and Wotan skulking around Mime's humble abode... All brought an extra dimension to the Gesamtkunstwerk. I think Wagner might have approved.
On the other hand, the beginning and end of the cycle were much less satisfactory. Others have already commented on the preamble to Rheingold, but I'll just mention the very end. In the lead up to immolation, Hagen hovered around Brunnhilde like a pickpocket. Quite a clever concept (since he was trying to snatch the ring) but bloody irritating!.
At the final moment, with Brunnhilde on the pyre, what should we see but a non-singing Greek Chorus wheel a bunch of TV sets onto the stage, and proceed to watch Valhalla's ruin, while sipping a cocktail. We, the audience, didn't get to watch the program. The 'making of' bonus track implied that it was an eerie premonition of 9/11. Yeah, well, personally I thought it was a loose end.
To sum up - if you aready have the two 'good' rings (you know which ones I mean) add this one to your collection
Domenica Finke | San Jose, CA United States | 01/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wagner would be thrilled with this visual and vocal treat. Barenboim's nuanced interpretation at Bayreuth is stunning. The cast make the emotions in the music accessible--so the "big tragedy" is all the more shattering. Siegfried Jerusalem is heroic, yet tender as Siegfried. Check out his "birdsong" in act 3, and then his dying greeting to Brunhilde. It has been said before; this hero sings his heart out. Ann Evans is exquisite; a heroic voice and no skeeching! The production is uncluttered and evocative. For instance, notice how everyone who is related to Wotan are all redheads-just like him; a kind of inside observation for "Ring" fans...This is the final chapter for the Barenboim/Kupfer Ring, and should be viewed with the other three operas, equally entrancing!"
A time for reflection
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 01/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most productions of Gotterdammerung tend to drag until the exciting finale where Brunnhilde returns the Ring to the Rhein. Because of Barenboim's diligence in ensuring that all the leitmotif "signature tunes" come through, this Gotterdammerung is less susceptible to the dragging periods. Siegfried's and Gunter's swearing Blutbrudershaft is punctuated by leitmotifs recalling Alberich's curse and the doom that clouds this brotherhood. It is a reverse image of Wotan and Loge as they bargain with Alberich, way back in Das Rheingold. Barenboim sees that Wagner's leitmotif reminds us of that.
Just as Siegfried Jerusalem seemed born for the role of Siegfried (at least namesake wise), so Waltraud Meier makes an exceptional Waltraute. Her admonitions to Brunnhilde remind us of why Gotterdammmerung is taking place: the gold must be returned to the Rhein.
Gotterdammerung is only as powerful as its Brunnhilde. Anne Evans delivers that power, maintaining a stage presence and seizing Hagen's spear, even breaking it in two.
Perhaps it's Wagner's reminder to take a look at mankind's history of destruction, but in the bonus section, Daniel Barenboim explains how the final scene was filmed before the terrorist attack in New York on September 11th. Much as the world watched this horrible destruction on their tv sets, Gotterdammerung ends with "the cocktail set" watching the action on tv sets on stage. Wagner seems to have wanted us to watch and reflect on what we had just witnessed.