The legendary Bayreuth Centenary production of Wagner's Ring is distinguished by Patrice Chéreau's once-shocking production, which has acquired the status of the most trenchant modern interpretation of the cycle. Götterdäm... more »merung is the fourth and final Ring opera. Brünnhilde now has the Ring, given to her by the hero Siegfried. But the evil Hagen dupes Siegfried into betraying his love for Brünnhilde, and the Ring is returned to Siegfried. On the banks of the Rhine, Hagen murders Siegfried. A distraught Brünnhilde takes the Ring from her dead lover and rides into her funeral pyre. Hagen snatches the Ring but is drowned in the flooding Rhine, and the Ring is returned to the river. Meanwhile, Valhalla burns, marking the end of the reign of the gods. Pierre Boulez's penetrating interpretation supports a cast led by the powerful Siegfried of Manfred Jung and Gwyneth Jones's magnificent Brünnhilde. Cast: Jeannine Altmeyer: Gutrune
Hermann Becht: Alberich
Katie Clarke: 3rd Norn
Fritz Hübner: Hagen
Gwyneth Jones: Brünnhilde
Manfred Jung: Siegfried
Gwendolyn Killebrew: Waltraute
Franz Mazura: Gunther
Marga Schiml: Flosshilde
Gabriele Schnaut: 2nd Norn
Norma Sharp: Wellgunde
Ortrun Wenkel: 1st Norn
The Bayreuth Festival Orchestra conducted by Pierre Boulez« less
Don't hestiate to purchase this remarkable Götterdämmerung!
David | North Carolina, USA | 11/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Due to the high cost of this collection, I decided to purchase my favorite opera from the Ring, which is Götterdämerung. If the rest of the Chéreau Ring Cycle is as incredible as this production of Wagner's Götterdämmergung, then my only regret will be that I didn't save money and buy the entire Ring, which as a set is sold at a special price. This glorious production is on 2 discs (over 4 hours) with rich, full stero and surround sound of the highest quality that DVD has to offer. The sound quality is superior to a lot of opera productions on DVD that were made much later than this one. Unfortunately, the picture quality is not always at the same high level of the sound quality, especially in the darker scenes, of which there are many in this opera. Even so, the picture quality is no worse than slightly below average, and often it is quite good. The singing is first rate--Gwyneth Jones' Brünnhilde especially captivated me. For me the entire cast was outstanding in bringing this amazing work to life. Of course with Wagner the orchestra as is vital as the singing, and the Bayreuther Festspeile Orchestra under Pierre Boulez is radiant throughout. This is a modern production, and while controversial some 20 years ago, it seems just right for today. I prefer it to the more traditional Ring productions, but that is a question of personal taste. I look forward to viewing the rest of the highly acclaimed Chéreau Ring cycle, for if the standards are a high as they are for Götterdämmerung, it will rank for me as one of the greatest accomplishments for opera on DVD."
I got iniciated to Wagner through this (!)
Rafael Fernandez Fernandez | Madrid, Madrid Spain | 02/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When I watched for the first time this DVD (well, it was a Laserdisc, for that happened prior to the release on DVD) I knew the music of the Ring for 6 years (more or less) and I hadn't yet seen any other production. I have to confess that it was watching it that I had for the first time a feeling of understanding not only the music but the drama. Since then my relation with Wagner's music and drama changed completely and he became one of my great musical loves along with Puccini. As time has passed I have also my regrets to this production (the dullness of the image) but I still love it. That cannot say in the same degree about the other operas of the cycle, specially about boring, with nothing to say 'Siegfried'. I'm not a fan of Boulez conducting Wagner operas. I also think that his axionatic 'return to the truth' when conducting this Ring in Bayreuth in the 70s and his negative to accept tempi acquired by tradition was an out-of-place extrapolation of the phenomenological principles that guided him in composition (that's to say, to do music as if one had been born out of the world, had no bias derived from tradition and had to invent the laws of music from zero).
Nevertheless, although I'm opposed to almost all of Boulez's ideas about music, I feel confortable with much of his music and sometimes also with his conducting. This is the place with this Götterdämmerung, the highest peak of an irregular and overall not very satisfactory Ring cycle. With a disciplined, a little constrained and in some sense modern orchestral sound, with the help of excellent actor-singers achieves some moments of such profound tragicness that I cannot forget while hearing any other recording. These are my irrepetible moments:- Act I: Scene between Brünnhilde and Gutrune. I will never forget the tragic accents, the description of the end of an old world, by Gwendoline Killebrew and the sober response by Brünnhilde 'Welch banger Träume Mären meldest du mir". Also excellent her downfall minutes later when Siegfried comes in disguise and submits her.- Act II almost in its entirety. Haunting first scene between Hagen and Alberich, frightening, almost nazi scene of the vassals, heartbreaking realization of the downfall of the Gods through Hagen's manipulations when Brünnhilde holds her violent agonistic scene with Siegfried, scandal of the people, and final bloody vendetta trio.- Acto III. Full expresionistic final scene from the moment in which Gutrune (Jeannine Altmeyer) cannot sleep due to nightmares, the murder of king Gunther (great actor Franz Mazura, also excellent Schön/Jack the Ripper in Boulez's Lulu and Moses in Solti's 'Moses und Aron') by his brother for the possesion of the ring and appearance of apocalyptic Brünnhilde in a final monologue for which I haven't words enough.Ok, this Götterdämmerung has not a brilliant funeral march or a Siegfried singer to compete with many others (althogh here he is much more inspired that in his boring rendition of the role in 'Siegfried'), but it has the Brünnhilde that made me understand the deepest feeling of this work (Gwyneth Jones, and I mean the Ring complete cycle) and I still have to listen to it when want to remember the true sense of this metaphore of the world's destruction by the greedness of the powerful.Sorry for my English.Rafael Fernandez"
Splendid summation of a memorable cycle
Kelly | 06/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a splendid summation of a memorable Ring Cyle. The drama and stage direction are compelling, and the standard of acting is superb across the board. Although Wagner probably doesn't forsee that such dramatic and scenic up-dates would occur to his mighty dramas, to a modern audience like myself who is familiar with such a kind of approaches in straight theater, I found the production immensely enjoyable. As I've suggested above, the standard of acting is wonderful. Much of the singing is also very fine, with the entire cast led by Gwyneth Jones in one of her best recorded performances ever. I do like Manfred Jung's Siegfried that much, but I believe such an approach is part of the production's dramaturgy. The others, including the chorus, immersed themselves totally into the production and drama, and Boulez's kept a tight rein on his fine orchestra and, thanks to Bayreuth's unique acoustics, never overwhelmed the singers. It's all very memorable indeed. I suppose that I'll be watching it over and over again in the days and years to come."
A magnificent achievement
Kelly | 10/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this production is not perfect, as seen on DVD, it is still a magnificent achievement. The drama unfolds powerfully on the stage, and the direction is always appropriate, often superb. The singers make a fine team, headed by Gwyneth Jones's glorious Brunnhilde. Manfred Jung is a macho Siegfried, even though the character doesn't earn one's sympathy. The Bayreuth Orchestra plays with great skill under Boulez."
An outstanding production
Kelly | 06/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm completely bowed over by this ultra-dramatic rendition of Wagner's opera. The drama moves so relentlessly on, and that the conflicts between the characters are put in such sharp focus, that I almost think that I were watching a gripping soap opera!The standard of the acting is very high, and the singing no less inspiring and energetic. Gwyneth Jones's Brunnhilde, in particular, provides a central focus to the plot, and she did a marvellous job here. Although I'm not sure if Boulez's interpretation will be my favourite, he moves things on well and the Bayreuth orchestra gives a powerful performance."