Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wagner - Parsifal / Levine Weikl Mazura Metropolitan Opera|
Actors: Bernd Weikl, Jan-Hendrik Rootering, Kurt Moll, Franz Mazura, Siegfried Jerusalem
Director: Brian Large
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
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The Parsifal DVD to have
colotes | Union, NJ United States | 11/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are currently only two versions of Parsifal available on DVD and this video of a Metropolitan Opera production is better musically than Hans-Jürgen Syberberg's movie version which is lip-synched by actors as well as opera singers. While Syberberg's movie is more politically and sexually charged (the flower maidens are naked) and his sets are quite imaginative, the Prague Philharmonic doesn't match the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra nor do the singers come up to the Met's cast.This video is of a March 1992 production at the MET. The sets are naturalistic and conservative but very impressive. Having seen the production live I can say that the video does a good job of capturing it. Audience noise is minimal but the crowd insists on clapping before the music stops at the end of Act II - a regular, if annoying, ritual at the MET. Some portions of the orchestral shots appear to have been made without an audience present - the spectacular camera angles taken from a boom hovering over the orchestra could never haven been filmed during an actual performance. A minor quibble - the offstage chorus at the end of Act I sounds off the beat and out of tune. They are better at the end of Act III.The SOUND on this DVD is superb. It is offered in PCM stereo, DOLBY DIGITAL, and DTS. Playback in DOLBY DIGITAL is natural with deep but not obtrusive bass; also there is no artifically distracting audio coming from the rear speakers. Presumably DTS is even better but I don't have it.The picture is free of video artifacts, colors natural, and the image is especially detailed in scenes where the cameras were precisely in focus (quite a feat during a live opera production). Annoying was a break in the audio along with a jump in the picture in the middle of Act I on disc 1 and near the end of the orchestral prelude to Act III on disc 2. I believe this is indicative of the laser beam moving from one layer of the disc to another and may not be noticeable on newer DVD players. But the one in Act III could have been more judiciously placed.The big question is LASER DISC versus DVD. Comparing the two with an S-video connection activated (I don't have component video) the DVD version is sharper (you can clearly see the notes on the music sheets in the orchestra) and MOST IMPORTANT, free of video noise - little white and colored dots that show up in particularly dark scenes. Sonically the DOLBY DIGITAL is not that noticable a difference over the LASER sound - if it were it would probably create too obtrusive a bass response. If you own the LASER you probably spent $60 for it several years ago and are wondering if the DVD is worth it. If you want a artifact-free picture, it definitely is."
Jeffrey Danowitz | Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv Israel | 03/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After hearing both the Von Karajan and the Kna performances, but never seeing the Opera in person I bought this DVD after reading the varying reviews listed here. While it is true that both the Von Karajan and the Kna performances are utterly magnificent, they are both different. THIS performance is also magnificent, but again, different from the other 2. Regarding the tempi, I do not find the tempi too slow, but rather find it a very creatve interpretation and courageous.
The second half of the first act is magnificent musically. True, Jerusalem sort of just stands there, but I prefer to accent the outstanding musical interpretation and ignore the flaws in the acting.The Second Act is breathtaking. Franz Mazura (Klingsor) is marvelous and the whole scene is just magnificent. The spontaneous clapping at the end does not bother me since I wanted to stand up and cheer too after that act. I guess the New York audience is less conservative than a typical European audience, but I found it wonderful to see an audience reacting with such excitement. I find the beginning of the Third Act a bit slow after the excitement in the Second Act, but this is personal. The end of the Third act is stunning.
Jerusalem is a wonderful Parsifal and manages to portray the "child" image well. Weikl is a great Amfortas. While he didn't sing like he is in pain, but looking closely his watering mouth and sweating face, he portrays his condition well. Moll is fantastic as Gurnemanz, and of course Meier is a an outstanding Kundry.The sound and the sets are really fabulous. Perhaps some of the other reviewer have already seen a performance of Parsifal. I never had that experience. I wat not disappointed and I constantly watch sections that I especially enjoy over and over. I highly recommend this DVD set. If you have heard another performance, you might need to keep an open mind because this performance is different and does not try to be Von Karajan or Kna. However, this performance holds its own as being no less magnificent then the other 2."
Onward and Upward!
Alfred C. Johnson | Norfolk,Virginia | 03/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some years back,a popular PBS crime series "Inspector Morse" ended. The inspector in question was a lover of opera and classical music. He suffered a sudden fatal heart attack. As he lay at peace in the hospital bed, the opening bars of the prelude to Wagner's Parsifal played. Momentarily,I was transcended. This ethereal music always has this effect on me.
I find only 2 problems with the acting in this drama. Vocally,the production is a masterpiece. Waltraud Mier's Kundry wasn't wild enough and Franz Mazura's Klingsor wasn't menacing enough.That said,on to the good stuff!
The great Kurt Moll as Gurnemanz is the standout here.His voice is so perfect and beautiful.I wish he had recorded a Wotan.
He is a fantastic Sarastro in DG "The Magic Flute".
ActIII is the one I most enjoyed. The healing of Amfortas and the ascension of the former "fool" Parsifal to power were breathtaking. With Wagner,it's so much more about the music than the vocals. This music is glorious. The Met Opera orchestra deserves special thanks for this tremendous achievement."
Traditional production that would please anybody
Alfred C. Johnson | 11/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a traditionally staged version from the Met. Somebody complained about the slow tempi by Levine, but, I think this tempi also works fine. All the Wagner's opera could be conducted in different ways and, if you like this tempi or the other, it's all up to your musical taste (e.g. Bernstein's slow Tristan is as much appreciated as the fast Boehm's). It's not like Solti's magnificent CD set, not even better than Armin Jordan's conducting in Syberberg's film version, though, I have nothing to complain about it.
The cast in this production is impressive. Weikl, Moll, Rootering, all the legends are here. There would be no one who could portray Kundry better than Meier, both physically and musically at the same time. She is terrific, expressive, powerful, above all, beautiful. Jerusalem is okay. Vocally excellent, but, not a good actor... well, at least he is good looking.
The video transfer could have been better, while the sound is excellent and includes DTS. Thank God it didn't fall in the hands of dreadful Pioneer Classics! Image Entertainment could have done a better job?? There are optional subtitles in five languages including the original German. This set includes some special features & booklet with pictures. Nice presentation.
Now there are two DVD version of Parsifal. Me, being the biggest fan of Parsifal, I got them both. Which one is better? It's a hard question. Musically Syberberg's film version has no comparison, otherwise both are so great and so different. Get them both!"