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Die Walkure [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Product details

  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Tdk DVD Video
  • DVD Release Date: 20 April 2004
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0001FR0N4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,285 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This is obviously a production with less of a budget than Beyreuth, and one that has to make imaginative use of what it can afford. And it does this very well, with some genuinely intriguing interpretations of the characters. There is an emphasis placed on the importance of the female characters as carrying on the message that love will conquer evil, although this is at times a little over done. Wotan's wife is postively terifying, the Valkyies are pleayed with great gusto, and Hunding's character is less of a stereotpye than usual.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Traditionalists Beware 11 July 2004
By - Published on
Traditionalist Beware! There is a new Ring cycle available on DVD (at least Rheingold and Die Walkure). Each of the four opera's was handed to a separate production team giving us very `individual' perspectives of each of the works. Christof Nel was the producer for this second installment of the cycle.
Throughout the entire Die Wakure I felt as if I were listening to a `version' of the opera and not what Wagner wrote. My Ring's of choice have been the Met's version on DVD and the Solti on CD, so I know what it should look and sound like. I purchased this DVD optimistically thinking that I would see a new spin on what is the most beautiful of all the Ring works. . . and I did, unfortunately I was not impressed. Most of the singers did a good job with Angela Denoke singing a wonderful Sieglinde, she could truly handle the role, and Tichina Vaughn giving us a full voiced Fricka. Robert Gambill gave us a strong Siegmund - a very lyrical portrayal. The disappointments here were in the staring roles (assuming that you believe that Walkure is an opera about a father and his daughter). Jan-Hendrik Rootering's Wotan was just not likable and his singing reflected this. His Act II scenes with Brunnhilde, the most important part of the Ring cycle per Wagner, were simply not moving; not even the orchestra could help here. I don't know a lot about Renate Behle but her Brunnhilde was fair at best. She seemed to be reaching constantly for her top notes. Her Act II opening "battle cry" was not delivered well. She seemed to `clip' the words, and it never seemed to get better. Finally there is the most wonderful and moving music in all of Wagner: the final scene of Act III. . . if they could have pulled this off, then all would have been forgiven. Here is where the production team let us down. As I mentioned I bought this DVD fully knowing it was not going to be traditional, but I was not prepared for the final scene where Wotan and Brunhilde never embrace and just don't live up to Wagner's amazing music. It was visually interesting and vocally OK, but it just didn't capture the mood of the score.
The overall directing was interesting but one of the flaws was when the words didn't match the action. In Act I, for example, when Siegmund tells us the sword is in the tree and then pulls it out of a cloth sheath that Sieglinde is holding. . . it doesn't make sense. The words and action need to match. I won't even get started on the candles and the spotlight in Act III. Two places where it worked well was when the image of the sword was shone onto Sieglinde's chest and when Brunnhilde gave her the shattered sword wrapped in a blanket, which she pulled into her coat. . . making her look pregnant, which she is -- carrying Siegfried.
The overall production was ambitious and I applaud Naxos for giving us something new. I just couldn't get my arms around it (I probably will buy the rest of the cycle, however, just to see what will be done). Having said that, I find myself watching it again and again in hopes of `getting it".
I loved the Valkyries! (J.G.)
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly 5 Jun 2004
By Flying Mouse - Published on
Verified Purchase
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.
The Good. Wagner's glorious music is presented in 3 formats: linear pcm stereo, surround 5.1, and dts. The conductor, orchestra, and singers all provide a first rate audio performance. It is a pleasure to listen to but watching is much more difficult due to
The Bad. The sets aren't minimalist. They are just absurdly incongruous--comparable to staging the coronation scene of Boris Godunov in a carwash. The props are what I used to win at the carnival when I picked up a duck with the lucky number. But both the props and sets look like one of Franco Zeffireli's masterpieces compared with the costumes. If someone came to my door attired as one of the cast to deliver a pizza they would leave without a tip. At first you think that they might have recorded rehearsal by mistake but when you hear the audience applaud you realize that this is what they wanted you to see.
Not even the ludicrously silly first two acts can even begin to prepare one for the third. Eight women rush on stage during the Ride of the Walkures dressed as the San Diego Chicken, flapping their wings, and shouting war cries through megaphones like college cheerleaders. I haven't laughed so hard during a Wagner opera since Syberberg's Parsifal where the title character gets a change of sex operation between the second and third acts. But it would be tolerable if it weren't for
The Ugly. Siegmund, Robert Gambill, in Act 1 wear shorts and a sleeveless black undershirt. He may be a fine actor and singer but he was not put on this earth to model underwear. Laws should be passed requiring him to be fully clothed 24/7.
Brunnhilde, Renate Behle, reminded me of Oscar Levant's line that "She makes you want to burn ever bed on earth." If only they could have found a costume that covered those Clydesdale legs.
At the other extreme, Sieglinde, Angela Denoke is a very beautiful woman who proves that you don't have to look like the Hindenburg to sing Wagner. She didn't look as attractive in this opera as she did in "Die tote Stadt" but she's definitely on my list of Foxy Opera Babes. Placing the reflection of The Sword on the slip that she wore for most of Act 1 was truly inspired and somewhat erotic. My hat's off to the producers for including her.
There is a place in opera for innovation if it adds something to the performance or provides alternative insight into the drama. But this was like watching a love duet between Godzilla and Mothra. My advice is to get the dvd, listen to the audio, but put the video on The Weather Channel. Believe me, it will make just as much sense and you'll find out if it's raining.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Ugly? See for yourself 22 Jun 2004
By Yuval Sharon - Published on
I'm shocked that people are so against what I see as the best WALKURE available on DVD--but then again, bold interpretations always incense as much as they inspire.
Among the many reasons I think this is a must-see: I have never seen an Act I reveal the entire spectrum of the characters' journey as minutely or believably fleshed out as here; the long stretches of silent communication between Sieglinde and Siegmund are exactly as tense and sexually charged as they must be to succeed. With planks of wood making up the walls of this simple set, furnished only by a few kitchen accessories and an ordinary table, the interplay of the three central characters creates a complicated drama rich in details: Siegmund licks the handful of water off of Sieglinde's fingers, then playfully splashes her with his own handful; Hunding and Siegmund arm wrestle in a polite but aggressive test of their masculinity; and after Siegmund reveals himself to Hunding as his enemy, the two sit head to head and eat the steak that Sieglinde has cooked for them-Hunding's awkward fulfillment of hospitality that adds much suspense to a moment usually treated as a bloated transition.
Nel's creative revelations of the characters are played completely naturally, but Nel has more in mind than psychological realism: from the striking opening tableau, he employs stylized movement and powerful symbolism to excellent theatrical effect. One of the strongest ideas in the production is the appearance of Nothung the sword as a bright white projection beaming through Hunding's dark room. Siegmund steps through the projection as the sword motif resolves his "Wälse" call, and he spends the remainder of his aria grasping at the light. Nothung here is still a promise, a tantalizing desire that keeps eluding his reach. Sieglinde enters, and at her excitable call to Siegmund to try his luck with the sword, she stands directly in the path of Nothung's projection, the sword now appearing on her white nightgown and skin. It's an ingenious effect rich with meaning, one of this production's many great moments that transcends straightforward naturalism.
But at the core of this production is Angela Denoke as Sieglinde: a gorgeous voice in a beautiful body, whose performance manages to be equally convincing when displaying great fragility in Act II or summoning oracular power in "Der Männer Sippe" and the ecstatic prophesy of Siegfried. A thorough, word-for-word understanding of the drama is accompanied by big-time stage magnetism. An American tenor who is also celebrated in Europe but hasn't yet made as big a splash here, Robert Gambill is a perfect partner for Denoke, equally ardent and sexy with a lyric baritonal tenor reminiscent of James King. This is truly a Wagnerian dream couple. Jan-Hendrik Rootering as Wotan is less physically convincing on stage but provides a pillar of vocal strength and is especially compelling in the last monologue. Renate Behle has a hard time with Act II from the beginning-missing the notes on her entrance call with severe sloppiness-but recoups by the haunting "Todesverkündigung" scene and is utterly powerful in the last act.
Sound and video quality is of the highest standard, so even if your eyes don't want to be challenged, your ears will be satisfied with a performance of Wagner as he wanted to be heard: at the state of the art.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By F. FUNES - Published on
Did anybody happen to sit through the third recent filmic installment of J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter,namely THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN? Well,just go back to it for a moment and remember Professor Lupin's word to make the bothersome entities called boggarts completely evanesce...What is it? Yes,the word is:RIDICULOUS!!!
Well,after watching this DVD most of you will be echoing Lupin's repelling
incantation,but applied to what you see,and in this second day of DER RING
DES NIBELUNGEN,also to what you hear.
The credits of this productions and stage directions go to a guy named Christoph Nel,who according to them happens to be a psychologist...My question is,since when do Wagner's immortal music dramas,nor any theatrical work of the past per se,need any sort of "psychological interpretation" whatsoever???? There is more than enough psychological elements in Wagner's RING,among gazillions of other things that can be perceived without besmirching its parts and transform them in this sort of nonsensical poppycock.
Of the three acts the worst of tastes ever imaginable is displayed in the third,
where the archifamous RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES is nonexistant.
Wotan's magical fire is reduced to a series of six candles on a short square
wooden table,whereon Brunnhilde falls asleep(watch your hair catching fire,lady!)in some sort of a mix of a bar and a warehouse,complete with shipping
docks and everything and to a spotlight that the "god"(?!)himslef handles....
If this was part of a comic book in my childhood I think I still would have rejected it as absurd.
There is no sense to it,no matter how many euphemisms we wanna use or
how much we want to tergiversate things around.
This somberly pathetic picture gets completed with the extremely poor choice of
singers,a fact which I fully comprehend since there simply are no wagnerian
singers available.Quite simple.
Robert Gambill,a tenor I remember as a lyric one in Rossini's L'OCCASIONE FA IL LADRO and Schubert's operas FIERRABRAS and DIE FREUNDE VON SALAMANCA has been cast as Siegmund...Or perhaps in his case as "Verlustmund",using the german language.
Bass Jan Hendrik Rootering,a singer who has incarnated Fasolt in most of the RINGS he has performed(and quite nicely indeed!)gets to sing nothing else but Wotan himself!!! Come on,and please give me a huge,relaxing break!!! The part is simply too high for him,obviously written for a bass-baritone with secure top notes,which he lacks and his uneasiness and uncomfortability are quite patent throughout the central and the final act.
A barely passable Brünnhilde from Renate Behle and yes,the best,Angela Denoke's
Sieglinde,repeating the same performance level as in the Strasbourg productions
of E.W.Korngold's DIE TOTE STADT.
The only credit to this production is that,unlike SIEGFRIED,we don't have to
see Mime fumbling with his privates over a comfortable armchair.
Yes,shout it out loud:RIDICULOUS!!!
No zero stars available,so I guess I'll have to go with the one!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Different, but not an improvement 9 May 2005
By Mr John Haueisen - Published on
Verified Purchase
The Strange:
You've got to expect to see "strange things," when Die Walkure begins with Siegmund rushing in wearing a hooded sweatshirt and boxer shorts.

Later, we see Hunding cleaning his P-38 Luger pistol.

Sieglinde, "Mrs. Hunding," wearing a white apron, prepares supper on some type of electric hotplate.
Brunnhilde chats with dad, Wotan, while she rearranges "Oscar-type" trophies in Walhalla.

The Valkyries have an easy time of getting dead heroes to Walhalla: they strutt and pout, as heroes' bodies go by on a conveyor belt.

Not enough strange stuff for you?: the magic ring of fire that Wotan uses to surround Brunnhilde near the end of the opera has been reduced to 6 votive candles! Now that's minimalist! But Wotan has a heart: as he leaves his daughter who is surrounded by the 6 votive candles, he does pull out his hanky.

There are excellent singing and acting performances by the beautiful and graceful Angela Denoke as Sieglinde, and also by Tichina Vaughn as an angry Fricka who punches at Wotan as she helps make up his mind for him.

The key figures in Die Walkure here are not likeable. Renate Behle seems too old to be Wotan's daughter, and her voice is often pale and thin. This will only be useful to readers who remember the Howdy Doody Show: she looks like a sister of Clarabelle the Clown.

Rootering is a spearless Wotan, lounging on an air mattress, too slovenly to be a convincing "leader of the gods."

There is a lesson to be learned from this performance: in most cases, operas are written to be staged with appropriate scenery and appropriate costuming. This has neither. It's a shame too, because there is some good singing and good acting, but the scenery and costuming add nothing, and actually detract from the whole.

I'm sorry to have to say these uncomplimentary things, but you need to know what to expect.
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