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J. Strauss - Die Fledermaus
J Strauss - Die Fledermaus
Actors: Eberhard Wächter, Wolfgang Brendel, Pamela Coburn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Benno Kusche
Directors: Carlos Kleiber, Otto Schenk
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2005     2hr 35min


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Actors: Eberhard Wächter, Wolfgang Brendel, Pamela Coburn, Brigitte Fassbaender, Benno Kusche
Directors: Carlos Kleiber, Otto Schenk
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: DTS, Classical
Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/11/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 11/08/2004
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 2hr 35min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: German, English, French, Mandarin Chinese
Subtitles: German, English, French
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Movie Reviews

Exuberant Fledermaus
A. Pfeffer | San Marcos, CA USA | 03/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The previous reviewer had it right--this is a "traditional" Fledermaus for lovers of Strauss and Vienna. The production brims over with comic high spirits, while Carlos Kleiber's sensuous, echt-Viennese musical idiom makes you forget that the theater and orchestra are not Austrian but German. The mostly Austrian male and mostly British, and very attractive, female principals are outstanding singers and comic actors. Tenor Eberhard Wachter, late in his career, creates a vain, blustering, but always lovable Herr von Eisenstein, the wayward husband of classic comedy. The hilarious jailhouse third act with its tipsy guard and warden likewise feeds on central European ways of making jokes. The sound is full-bodied and detailed, but the video has a slight yellowish hue, much less pronounced than in the old laserdisc version. Fledermice can't go far wrong with this DVD.

The competing Glyndebourne production on Opus Arte DVD is a different creature, a sumptuously trendy, sarcastic (and later, with sharper digital video) production. It has a dark, post-modern ideological agenda, familiar and superfluous. The libretto has been rewritten--in English, then translated back into German and re-translated into English sub-/supertitles!) to highlight social hypocrisy and women's oppression by--but you know the rest. Strauss and his librettists knew and described all of this perfectly well too but they managed OK without the pretentiousness and penis jokes. Glyndebourne's Fledermaus is impressive musically and technically, but its spiritual sourness may leave devoted operetta fans feeling a bit used."
Miguel Prohaska | Canada | 03/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This version of Die Fledermaus, is an all-round excellent performance. I have a personal interest in the operetta: it was composed in the house in Vienna where my father grew up in, and which is now owned by my cousin. The conductor, Carlos Kleiber, who passed away in July 2004, was little known, but he showed he could lead in an interpretation of the operetta in the spirit that it was written in. The persons on the stage had the fortunate combination to be both excellent singers and excellent actors. The production, by Otto Schenk, is the same that has been used at the Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera. There is one small drawback: the beginning of Act III has a few spoken lines by the jailer, Frosch, which are comments on what was happening at the location and time this DVD was recorded: live on 31 December 1986 in the Munich Nationaltheater. Aside from this minor point, I highly recommend this DVD especially if one has not seen Die Fledermaus before; if another version has been seen then this is an excellent version to compare it to."
Excellent staging, singing, acting, orchestra, conducting ma
Alan Majeska | Bad Axe, MI, USA | 10/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Carlos Kleiber (1930-2004) was often considered the most enigmatic conductor of the post World War II era. The son of noted conductor Erich Kleiber (1891-1956), Carlos never leaned on his father's reputation for fame, but made his own way. Carlos Kleiber disliked the recording process and made very few recordings for commerical labels: Beethoven Symphonies 5 and 7 (DG, Vienna Philhamormonic); Brahms Symphony 4 (DG, Vienna Philharmonic); Schubert Symphonies 3 + 8 (DG, Vienna Philharmonic); Verdi: La Traviata, with Placido Domingo and Ileana Cotrubas (DG, Bavarian State opera); Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (DG, Dresden State Opera); Weber: Der Freischutz (DG, Dresden opera); Strauss: Die Fledermaus (DG, 1975 - different singers than this recording, but with the same orchestra). Most of Kleiber's other recordings are from live concerts on CD or DVD format. There may be as many or more Kleiber recordings on DVD, as in CD medium.

That said, it is nice to have any new Carlos Kleiber recording, and this one is no exception. You can tell from the first bars Kleiber dearly loved this music, and has orchestra and soloists on their toes every measure. The Overture sizzles and crackles, and sparkles with joy and life. The singers are all excellent, although I must confess a reservation about Eberhard Waechter, who here is an excellent comic actor, yet his voice wobbles in sustained passages, and he sounds frantic and strained at times. Pamela Coburn, Janet Perry, Wolfgang Brendel, Franz Muxeneder, Benno Kusche, and Brigitte Fassbaender are all excellent in every way.

I really enjoyed this as a video, especially the Act II Party scene, where the music and flow are very engaging. Brigitte Fassbaender takes a little getting used to as Prince Orlofsky, in this production a trouser role like Cherubino in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." But her singng and acting are so fine, I enjoy it thoroughly with repeated view/listenings.

From this DVD, it's easy to see why Johann (II) Strauss's "Die Fledermaus" is his most famous and often performed opera. Like
Rossini's "The Barber of Seville," Mozart's "Marriage of Figaro" or "Cosi fan tutte" it is an everflowing spring of melody, beauty, comedy, and love in a healthy sense of the word.

For audio only "Fledermaus" recordings, I like Carlos Kleiber's 1975 studio recording, with Bernd Weikl, and Hermann Prey (DG, Bavarian State Opera); and Karl Bohm's 1971 Decca recording with Eberhard Wachter in the same role as this DVD, + a stellar cast of Austrian and German singers in the other roles. Bohm may be hard to find in the US, and have to be imported from England, for those interested, but it is 2-for-1 price and well worth the effort."
Hans David Taussig | NEW YORK USA | 02/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)