Granted, this is an opera that is hard to stage, but nevertheless, there certainly must be better ways to do it than this eyesore staging. Furthermore, in the scene where Kaspar forges the magic bullets, the enclosed synopsis reads "increasingly strange apparitions occur: the ghost of Max's mother, warning him away; animals that spit fire; a hurricane trampling horses; wheels of fire; then finally, Samuel himself." Now, this all sounds very fascinating, but instead of all that good stuff, we see a bunch of figures in black jumpsuits wiggling their arms and legs, and crawling on a steeply slanted ramp. This is all very unfortunate because there are few staged productions of this opera outside of Germany, and I would have preferred to see the romantic essence of it, which Weber had intended. Zurich could have done better than this.
Aside from that, this set is musically excellent. Matti Salminen is one of my favorite singers and I got this set because of him; he does not disappoint. He boasts a HUGE, black bass voice which is especially rich in the low extreme. We also get a sense of how flexible his voice is. Furthermore, his acting is more inspired than anyone else in the cast. Peter Seiffert, who is one of the best heldentenors these days, also gives a convincing performance. Inga Neilsen, as Agathe, sings pleasantly but is rather uninvolved. Malin Hertelius is very good as Annchen. The Zurich Opera orchestra plays brilliantly under Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
I should give three stars, but I will add an extra star for Salminen's contributions. If you like his other villain roles such as Hagen, get this for him.