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  • Braunfels: The Birds (Die Vogel/ The Birds) [DVD] [2010]
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Braunfels: The Birds (Die Vogel/ The Birds) [DVD] [2010]

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Product details

  • Actors: Désirée Rancatore, Brandon Jovanovich, James Johnson, Martin Gantner, Los Angeles Opera
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, PAL, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: ArtHaus
  • DVD Release Date: 15 Nov. 2010
  • Run Time: 132 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0046HCOLQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 147,156 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

A production of the LA Opera House ground-breaking Recovered Voices project, highlighting the works of composers affected by the Holocaust. Walter Braunfels, a strong advocate of neo Romanticism, made significant contributions to the world of twentieth-century opera. Yet, he lost his rightful places in twentieth-century opera houses. His music inhabits a very different world, both geographically and aesthetically, nurtured far from Viennas charged, multi-cultural atmosphere. Deeply rooted in German Classicism and Romanticism, he conceals none of his admiration for the inherited past and sees himself as building on its fundamentals. By almost any standard, he was a conservative. The premiere of Die Vögel in Munich in 1920, under the direction of Bruno Walter (who still lauded the work as late as 1950), was a huge public and critical success. The number of productions and performances in the following years was staggering. However, in the post- World War II years of his rehabilitation, Braunfels never regained a foothold. Die Vögel was not produced again until 1971 in Karlsruhe and 1994 in Berlin.


A rare chance to hear Braunfelss lighthearted, tenderly spiritual and little-known fable --The New York Times

A marvelous performancethe orchestra sounded radiant. --Los Angeles Times

Conlon conducted with lustrous élanWe should hear more of Braunfels work. --Financial Times, London

The staging is colourful,with plenty of well-coordinated movement,and James Conlon conducts his Los Angeles forces persuasively,as well as writing helpfully about the opera in the booklet. Performance **** Picture&Sound **** --BBC Music Magazine,Feb'11

Conlon conducted with lustrous élanWe should hear more of Braunfels work. --Financial Times, London

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mondoro TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Dec. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Some years ago when the Decca CD version came out, a reviewer expressed the hope that one day a stage version would appear, to do full justice to the world of colour and fantasy that 'Die Vogel' evokes. This Arthaus DVD of the LA Opera 2009 prodcution has amply fulfilled this expectation. The costume designer Linda Cho has opted for stylised, but still recognisable, Birds, avoiding their rather too literal appeareance as shown in illustrations from the Munich premiere (1920), while some clever choreography affirms their essential avian identity. The crowd scenes, creating a vision of the Bird Kingdom in the skies, is a pure delight, a kaleidoscope of shimmering colours.

In an inlay essay, the conductor James Conlon writes about the position of Walter Braunfels in contemporary German music, so I need to say little except to comment on the proximity of Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos) to the Nightingale's opening monologue, and the big set pieces in later Wagner to the final Hymn to Zeus towards the end of Act II. But this is no warmed up serving of second- hand late romanticism: Braunfels has a distinctive voice. At the start of the second act, Good Hope attempts to enter into the Nightingales's realm with music of great tenderness and beauty that marks the emotional highpoint of the opera.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Lovely Production 29 Dec. 2010
By Edward Lemon - Published on
Format: DVD
Braunfels' Die Vögel, in Los Angeles Opera's stunning production, is a real treasure, part of LA Opera's Recovered Voices series. James Conlon directs the orchestra with a sure touch, and the singers, hitherto mostly unknown to me, rise to the occasion. Désirée Rancatore handles the difficult part of the Nightingale with lovely tone and accuracy. Brandon Jovanovich is a tenor who looks as good as he sounds. The other parts are filled by enthusiastic and motivated singers. The staging is simple, yet able to evoke the sometimes mysterious, sometimes ebullient atmosphere Braunfels' tuneful music suggests. I heartily recommend this to all lovers of opera.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Braunfels is a little known composer brought to life! 3 Feb. 2011
By Douglasmagee - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The great under-appreciated conductor James Conlon brings this pet project of his to life! Brandon Jovanovich is a talent to follow. This is a fine opera and puts L.A. Opera in a good light!
Revival of a forgotten work 20 May 2014
By John E. Niles - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The piece is a bit old fashioned and derivative. But I liked the production. He was staged by a friend and collegue of mine. It is well sung and nicely presented. A great work? Well, perhaps not. But definitely something that is deserving of presentation.
John Ed Niles
By Alfredo R. Villanueva - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What an utter joy of an opera! Loosely based on Aristophanes' play, it creates a magic world coveted by humans but inhabited by birds. Stunning costumes and a shifting-shape set allow the music to reign supreme. Désirée Rancatore shines as the Nightingale and the pairing of Jovanovitch and Johnson could not have been more fortuitous. Once more, I owe my knowledge of this opera to that very first Decca Entartete Musik record with selections from its principal works and composers. The totality of the production is magic made audible and visible.
4 of 19 people found the following review helpful
mainly, it's for the birds 16 Feb. 2011
By Michael Schulman - Published on
Format: DVD
The Birds enjoyed considerable success when it was first produced in the 1920s, but I'm guessing that was essentially due to the opera's built-in need for imaginative staging, as most of the characters are depicted as birds.

Thus it is with this Los Angeles Opera production - clever costumes & sets supported by good singing from soloists & chorus.

But The Birds must fly or flop by the quality of the music, & the music never really takes off, fluttering erratically from one style & mood to another. Braunfels evinces no stylistic voice of his own, & the score is a hodge-podge of echoes of other composers & even other centuries.

Was it intended to be a serious symbolic drama? Or a semi-serious satire? Hard to tell, but should we care, one way or another? I think not.
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