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  • Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier [DVD] [2006]
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Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier [DVD] [2006]


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Product details

  • Actors: Franz Hawlata, Adrianne Pieczonka
  • Format: AC-3, Box set, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: TDK
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Oct. 2006
  • Run Time: 201 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000I2IV0Q
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 215,284 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Recorded at the Saltzburger Festspiele in 2004, Semyon Bychkov conducts the Vienna Philharmonic in Robert Carsen's production of Strauss's comic opera, with performances by Adrianne Pieczonka, Franz Hawlata, Angelika Kirchschlager and Franz Grundheber.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD
Salzburg Festival opera productions in the last few years have been infected with some of the worst of the Regietheater mystique and one comes to this DVD of a live performance at the 2004 production with some trepidation. But any concerns about how this opera could be Eurotrashed by the stage director are mostly set aside in the first two acts which, although updated to pre-World War I Vienna, have little to shock or unsettle the traditional opera fan. In the third act, though, we encounter some things that will upset some, amuse others. Instead of being set in the libretto's called-for 'inn', the act occurs in a brothel and there is a fair amount of frontal nudity and lascivious behavior to behold, although in fairness it is played for laughs and that mostly comes off. It certainly doesn't strike one as particularly erotic. However, the final scene is grievously miscalculated. After the Marschallin's noble gesture in which she urges Octavian leave her, follow his heart and go to Sophie, in the scene that includes the justly admired Trio, Octavian and Sophie follow with their Schubertian Duet by making out rather graphically on a huge bed (which, interestingly, recalls the bed in the Marschallin's boudoir in Act I) so that when the Marschallin and Sophie's father return (between the two verses of the duet) they walk past the grappling couple with nary a comment except the libretto's 'young people are like that' (Faninal) and 'ja, ja' (the Marschallin). Give me a break. Even in the decadence of pre-war Vienna it wouldn't have occurred that way. Robert Carsen's stage direction up to that point had generally been effective, but one's reaction to this is astonishment, not gentle bemusement as librettist Hoffmannsthal surely intended.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating updated production--very well performed 6 Nov. 2006
By C. Harbison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I wouldn't recommend this as a first DVD of this great opera, it would certainly be an important second. Robert Carsen's opera stagings (Tales of Hoffmann, Manon Lescaut, La Traviata, Mefistofele, Rusalka, Capriccio) are often controversial and always thoughtful, shedding new light on old warhorses. This is no exception, with emphasis on pre-WWI Viennese decadence, ending in a destructive final moment that is at first shocking and then seems inevitable (lots of frontal nudity in the last act as well). Bychkov's conducting is novel, aggressive, and moving. The singers are all in good voice and are very effective actors as well. The combination of staging, conducting, singing, and acting makes even the most devoted fan of this opera (like me) see and hear new things in this subtle and multi-faceted score. A provocative and beautifully executed interpretation of this work.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Who Let That Horse In the Dining Room? 8 May 2007
By David Cady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Robert Carsen, that's who! What's that you say, you don't remember a horse in "Der Rosenkavalier?" Bet you don't remember a dining room, either. But that's where Act 2 of Strauss's masterpiece inexplicably takes place in this updated, turn-of-the-century take by the Canadian badboy opera director. In fact, after the bedroom in Act 1 and the dining room in Act 2, I was a little concerned that Act 3 would take place in a lavatory. But no, we get a brothel instead. And what a brothel! I know I'm supposed to be shocked -- absolutely shocked!! -- and appalled (as have been some other reviewers) by the full frontal male and female nudity and the downright sordidness of it all, but what's really shocking is that Carsen thinks he's doing something new here. Hasn't he ever seen "Lulu?" Doesn't he know that Hal Prince and Bob Fosse did this kind of thing far better -- and with more style -- in their separate versions of "Cabaret" years ago?

As far as the performances go, this is something of a mixed bag. All the main roles are gorgeously sung, but only a couple of the interpretations actually land. Adrianne Pieczonka is a first class singer and a lovely woman (although here unflatteringly costumed), but her acting lacks the depth and contradictions that would make her a first-class Marschallin. We get no sense of the struggle within, the lust combating her sense of responsibility and religious faith, the insecurity at odds with her resignation and wisdom. Angelika Kirschschlager's sound is as rich and mellow as ever, but she overdoes the butch thing to the point that she ends up looking like Charlize Theron in "Monster." Only Miah Persson's charming, vulnerable Sophie and Franz Hawlata's comically smarmy Ochs are fully rounded characterizations, as solid as those that you'll find on other DVDs.

I wouldn't recommend buying Carsen's "Der Rosenkavalier" when there are so many more faithful, brilliantly performed versions out there; if you can rent it, rent it. You may find it shocking, you may find it boring, you may even find it entertaining. What you won't find is illumination. And if a director's reinterpretation of an opera doesn't in some way illuminate it in new and exciting ways, why bother?
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Mostly Good, but with some Surprises and Shocks 11 Nov. 2006
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Salzburg Festival opera productions in the last few years have been infected with some of the worst of the Regietheater mystique and one comes to this DVD of a live performance at the 2004 production with some trepidation. But any concerns about how this opera could be Eurotrashed by the stage director are mostly set aside in the first two acts which, although updated to pre-World War I Vienna, have little to shock or unsettle the traditional opera fan. In the third act, though, we encounter some things that will upset some, amuse others. Instead of being set in the libretto's called-for 'inn', the act occurs in a brothel and there is a fair amount of frontal nudity and lascivious behavior to behold, although in fairness it is played for laughs and that mostly comes off. It certainly doesn't strike one as particularly erotic. However, the final scene is grievously miscalculated. After the Marschallin's noble gesture in which she urges Octavian leave her, follow his heart and go to Sophie, in the scene that includes the justly admired Trio, Octavian and Sophie follow with their Schubertian Duet by making out rather graphically on a huge bed (which, interestingly, recalls the bed in the Marschallin's boudoir in Act I) so that when the Marschallin and Sophie's father return (between the two verses of the duet) they walk past the grappling couple with nary a comment except the libretto's 'young people are like that' (Faninal) and 'ja, ja' (the Marschallin). Give me a break. Even in the decadence of pre-war Vienna it wouldn't have occurred that way. Robert Carsen's stage direction up to that point had generally been effective, but one's reaction to this is astonishment, not gentle bemusement as librettist Hoffmannsthal surely intended. One also hoped that Carsen, unlike earlier stage directors, could have come up with a reasonable explanation for how the Marschallin came to make her entrance at the low-down inn (or, in this case, brothel). But no explanation is indicated. Ah, well.

Musically, this is a good 'Rosenkavalier.' Semyon Bychkov leads an energetic, skillful performance. The Vienna Philharmonic is absolutely world-class in this complex score -- which surely they have played more than any other opera orchestra in the world. Only rarely are the singers' voices covered by the orchestra. Bychkov catches the echt-Viennese waltz rhythms perfectly in that string of waltzes that surely account for much of this opera's popularity.

The three leading female singers are excellent and well-matched. Adrianne Pieczonka is a noble yet intense Feldmarschallin. Her Act I monolog is moving, and beautifully sung. Angelika Kirchschlager's Octavian is suitably impetuous and passionate. She is particularly effective in the Act II presentation of the rose scene. And in her Mariandel impersonation, she gulls the Baron with comic style. Miah Persson, a beautiful woman (who looks a lot like Renée Fleming), manages the treacherous tessitura of the part of Sophie with grace and delicacy, yet she is not a chocolate box figure; she has spunk and fire. In both the Presentation of the Rose and the final Trio and Duet her high notes are pure and ethereally beautiful.

Franz Hawlata's Baron is only moderately good. His bass voice is not sonorous enough for the part, especially in its lower reaches. But he acts the part without resorting to hammy stereotypes and he even imparts some humanity to the role. Franz Grundheber makes the most of his Faninal but the voice sounds a bit worn at times. The minor roles are reasonably well-taken, and one must make special mention of the Police Commissar, sung by Florian Boesch. The cameo appearance of the Italian Singer, in the levee scene, is sung by tenor Piotr Beczala with both good voice and style and more than a touch of humor.

Sets are excellent, stage movement is relatively minimal. Particularly impressive is the huge banquet table in Act II and Carsen's choreography of the hordes of servants who attend the Faninal establishment.

There are numerous Rosenkavaliers on DVD. For me the best of the lot is still the Carlos Kleiber/Vienna/Lott/Bonney/Von Otter DVD from 1994.

Scott Morrison
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Mostly Good, but with some Surprises and Shocks 19 May 2010
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
[This DVD was previously released in 2006 on TDK. The following is my review from then.]

Salzburg Festival opera productions in the last few years have been infected with some of the worst of the Regietheater mystique and one comes to this DVD of a live performance at the 2004 production with some trepidation. But any concerns about how this opera could be Eurotrashed by the stage director are mostly set aside in the first two acts which, although updated to pre-World War I Vienna, have little to shock or unsettle the traditional opera fan. In the third act, though, we encounter some things that will upset some, amuse others. Instead of being set in the libretto's called-for 'inn', the act occurs in a brothel and there is a fair amount of frontal nudity and lascivious behavior to behold, although in fairness it is played for laughs and that mostly comes off. It certainly doesn't strike one as particularly erotic. However, the final scene is grievously miscalculated. After the Marschallin's noble gesture in which she urges Octavian leave her, follow his heart and go to Sophie, in the scene that includes the justly admired Trio, Octavian and Sophie follow with their Schubertian Duet by making out rather graphically on a huge bed (which, interestingly, recalls the bed in the Marschallin's boudoir in Act I) so that when the Marschallin and Sophie's father return (between the two verses of the duet) they walk past the grappling couple with nary a comment except the libretto's 'young people are like that' (Faninal) and 'ja, ja' (the Marschallin). Give me a break. Even in the decadence of pre-war Vienna it wouldn't have occurred that way. Robert Carsen's stage direction up to that point had generally been effective, but one's reaction to this is astonishment, not gentle bemusement as librettist Hoffmannsthal surely intended. One also hoped that Carsen, unlike earlier stage directors, could have come up with a reasonable explanation for how the Marschallin came to make her entrance at the low-down inn (or, in this case, brothel). But no explanation is indicated. Ah, well.

Musically, this is a good 'Rosenkavalier.' Semyon Bychkov leads an energetic, skillful performance. The Vienna Philharmonic is absolutely world-class in this complex score -- which surely they have played more than any other opera orchestra in the world. Only rarely are the singers' voices covered by the orchestra. Bychkov catches the echt-Viennese waltz rhythms perfectly in that string of waltzes that surely account for much of this opera's popularity.

The three leading female singers are excellent and well-matched. Adrianne Pieczonka is a noble yet intense Feldmarschallin. Her Act I monolog is moving, and beautifully sung. Angelika Kirchschlager's Octavian is suitably impetuous and passionate. She is particularly effective in the Act II presentation of the rose scene. And in her Mariandel impersonation, she gulls the Baron with comic style. Miah Persson, a beautiful woman (who looks a lot like Renée Fleming), manages the treacherous tessitura of the part of Sophie with grace and delicacy, yet she is not a chocolate box figure; she has spunk and fire. In both the Presentation of the Rose and the final Trio and Duet her high notes are pure and ethereally beautiful.

Franz Hawlata's Baron is only moderately good. His bass voice is not sonorous enough for the part, especially in its lower reaches. But he acts the part without resorting to hammy stereotypes and he even imparts some humanity to the role. Franz Grundheber makes the most of his Faninal but the voice sounds a bit worn at times. The minor roles are reasonably well-taken, and one must make special mention of the Police Commissar, sung by Florian Boesch. The cameo appearance of the Italian Singer, in the levee scene, is sung by tenor Piotr Beczala with both good voice and style and more than a touch of humor.

Sets are excellent, stage movement is relatively minimal. Particularly impressive is the huge banquet table in Act II and Carsen's choreography of the hordes of servants who attend the Faninal establishment.

There are numerous Rosenkavaliers on DVD. For me the best of the lot is still the Carlos Kleiber/Vienna/Lott/Bonney/Von Otter DVD from 1994.

Scott Morrison
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL 11 Mar. 2008
By Paco Rivero - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's a vivid recording; the next best thing to live. Robert Carson, the stage director, and Peter Pabst, the set and costume designer, fumble Act II by setting it in a dinning hall, and really push the bounds of propriety in Act III by setting it in the best little whorehouse in Germany. Obviously, we buy opera on DVD to see as well as to hear, but the conductor, orchestra, and singers are all so good that I have to recommend it despite its drawbacks. Given what European opera companies have been getting away with for decades, this updating (to the Weimar Republic) actually isn't that bad relative to some of the atrocities I've seen. Actually, I found Act III quite effective, despite the fact that the director/designers got jeers as well as cheers when they came out on stage at the end.

The cast is terrific. Adrianne Pieczonka, as Princess Werdenberg, has a rich, clear voice that brims with pathos and longing (she gave me goosebumps at the end of Act I). Just about the whole cast soars. Even the Singer receives sustained applause. This "Rosenkavalier" doesn't quite rise to the sublime heights of Karajan's (on Sony), which contains the best duet between Octavian and Sophie you're likely to hear. Miah Persson, no matter how good she is as Sophie in this Bychkov production, simply doesn't match what Herbert von Karajan was able to squeeze out of Janet Perry, whose singing during the duet becomes ethereal (she goes so high, she's almost inaudible at one point).

In any case, despite the racy, adult-oriented staging (with full frontal nudity, simulated sex, and cross dressing), musically this one from the Salzburger Festspiele 2004 deserves five stars. There is some gorgeous playing from the orchestra. The ubiquitous Brian Large does a solid job directing it for TV. I recommend it as an excellent addition to (though not a replacement for) Karajan's, Solti's, and two from Kleiber. There is now a wealth of worthy Rosenkavaliers on DVD. But Karajan's is king. Enjoy!
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