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Strauss: Die Liebe Der Danae (Arthaus: 101580) [DVD] [2011] [NTSC]

Manuela Uhl , Mark Delevan    Exempt   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £29.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Strauss: Die Liebe Der Danae (Arthaus: 101580) [DVD] [2011] [NTSC] + Strauss, Richard - Intermezzo [DVD] [2011] + Richard Strauss - Daphne [2005] [DVD] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: Manuela Uhl, Mark Delevan, Matthias Klink, Thomas Blondelle, Burkhard Ulrich
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Nov 2011
  • Run Time: 150 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005OV1MW0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,841 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Richard Strauss completed his second-to-last opera Die Liebe der Danae in 1940. Written under war clouds, the merry mythology based on an idea by Hugo von Hofmannsthal was given a provisional, by-invitation-only dress rehearsal premiere at the 1944 Salzburg Festival the day before all theaters in the Reich were closed by order of the Ministry of Propaganda. The offi cial world premiere took place at the 1952 Salzburg Festival now no longer in the presence of the composer, who passed away in 1949. As Europe was about to go up in flames, Strauss was pouring his entire arsenal of melodic beauty and lushness into the score of Die Liebe der Danae. The rarely performed opera is nothing if not a feast for Strauss lovers, with arias, ensembles and orchestral interludes blazing with sumptuous colors and rich textures. A kind of compendium of Strauss most inspired musical ideas, it is like the swan song of an aged composer who is taking leave from the world on the eve of the catastrophe that will engulf it. Embodying the composer, in a way, is the role of Jupiter, an aging god who realizes that he will never win the love of the beautiful Danae. This timeless production from the Deutsche Oper Berlin can also be seen as the mirror of a changing world order, with a wonderfully suggestive symbol dominating the stage during all three acts: a grand piano suspended upside-down from the rafters. This image can be seen as an allegory for high and noble art (Frankfurter Rundschau) or as the symbol of a world turned upside down, ready to come crashing down at any second. Starring Manuela Uhl, Mark Delavan and Matthias Klink in the lead roles, this production does full justice to this rarely performed but exceptionally moving work.

Product Description

Liebe Der Danae (Die) (2 Dvd)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The man with the golden touch 7 Dec 2011
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Never before released on DVD and scarcely ever performed (according to the notes on this release there have been only 16 productions worldwide in the last 60 years), the time it seems has never been right for the playful nature of Die Liebe der Danae's mythological subject. Composed in 1940 but not premiered until 1952 after Strauss' death, it would appeared to have had even less relevance in the post-war years and in an world of German opera that was embracing the earthier, discordant sounds of Berg, Hindemith and Weill. This wonderful 2011 production at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin certainly makes a persuasive case that the time is finally right for Strauss' neglected late masterwork.

The classical subject of the opera relates to another of Jupiter's mythological liaisons (one or two of his other conquests also appear in this opera), disguising himself as Midas in order to seduce Danae, the daughter of the bankrupt King Pollux of Eos. Danae however, against the odds and her love of gold, rejects the disguised Jupiter and falls in love with the real Midas instead, unaware of who he really is. It's a choice that is to have grave repercussions. The mythological elements of the opera have some similarity to Die Walküre - the allure and the power of the Gods diminishing, the strength of human love that takes its place expressed in the union of Midas and Danae taking its place - and the score accordingly sees some of Strauss' most Wagnerian touches, certainly in Act II at least. It's tempting to see, as the author of the booklet notes on this release points out, Strauss in the role of Jupiter, considering his position at this stage in his life and concerned about his legacy in a world that may no longer need him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Superb opera 25 Jun 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A lesser known Strauss opera, Danae is superb. As far as I know this is the only DVD available and it is vg.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rediscovered masterpiece 13 Dec 2011
By Ultrarunner - Published on
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Die Liebe der Danae was completed by Strauss in 1940 and had five Librettists-Hofmannsthal,Zweig,Gregor,Krauss and himself.The offical first performance of the opera was at the 1952 Salzburg festival,three years after Strauss's death.Since then there have only been 20 performances.Possibly the libretto was seen as out of touch with the times. Also,Strauss stated about the opera" that he sought not lyricism,not poetry,not sentimentality,but a theatre of reason,full of brains and dry wit"The music is mainly light in texture ,but in the last act Strauss regains the warmth and richness of his last works, Capriccio and the Last four songs,and throughout the opera, looks back at Daphne.Jupiters Renunciation stands alongside his most beautiful pieces he ever wrote.

This opera is right in tune with today. For example, Act one, Scene 1: The throne room of King Pollux. A state crisis:there is no money in the coffers.To soothe his creditors, King Pollux sends his four nephews to King Midas,in the hope of being able to interest Midas in a marriage with his daughter Danae. Throughout her trials Jupiter falls in love with her,but Danae decides against him and decides in favour of Midas, even when he is turned into a poor donkey driver. She herself is turned from a vain, self loving girl into a woman who bravely defies poverty and hardship. Even Jupiter is touched and becomes a fatherly friend and then leaves the world.

The scenery is set in an undefined period and hung from the ceiling is an upturned piano which can symbolize that Art is as important as life itself. Also, that the period in which the opera is set is in chaos. This point is made clear when pages of the score drop upon Danae's head instead of gold.Andrew Litton conducts the orchestra and Choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin to bring out the emotion and long lines of the music.Jupiter is the major part in this opera, the first and only time it was not a woman. Mark Delavan catches the Strausian line beautifully as does Matthias Klink as Midas. Manuela Uhl sings well and is a beautiful looking young woman, but she has not a Strauss voice like Lucia Popp, Schwarzkopf,even Anne Schwanewilms.I can recommend this opera to traditionalists,for there is unlikely to be another production of this opera for a long time. Dont miss this if you like Richard Strauss.

Region Worldwide. Stereo.HD master Audio 5.o. 1080i full HD. Subtitles, English etc.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD DVD 11 Dec 2011
By F. FUNES - Published on
I partially agree in some points with the previous two reviewers.In a nutshell,this is not a bad DVD and perhaps the only one we're gonna come across of this forgotten opera by a long shot,that is in the commercial market,of course.
Granted,the production is silly,score sheets instead of gold rain,Midas in trenchcoat and shirt and so on. But basically regisseur Kristin Harms respected the main elements of Gregor's libretto and transported the action from mythological times to an undetermined timeframe.That doesn't bother me that much. Even the suspended piano represents for her the state in which art found itself in the time of the composer. This last detail is completely unnecessary,yet not quite frugal.

In terms of the singers: Regarding german soprano Manuela Uhl,I beg to disagree with the previous reviewer.She navigates through the tough role with easiness,and she seems to have learnt from having sung it for many years,i.e. the previous CPO
audio set where she also stars. Strong singing from american baritone Mark Delavan in the beautiful role of Jupiter.
Only tenor Matthias Klink sounds uneven. He does pretty good in the first two acts,specially singing the high C that culminates his duo with Danae in the second act.But in his arioso at the beginning of the third act he seems to crack and he
almost drowns two notes.

The only downside of this version is the stupid cut that was imposed in the last scene of the third act,a long duet for Danae and Jupiter of extreme melodic beauty,written by a composer who was saying farewell to this life and had the hope of meeting his dear close ones in a better world (verbatim). All this is wonderfully expressed also in the symphonic interlude that precedes the scene,which some people call STRAUSSENS ABSCHIED.
This cut was not necessary and I don't see what difference does it make for an institution like the DEUTSCHE OPER BERLIN.
They can afford it. And if the opera was only 10 minutes longer it would not have affected anyone who sat already for the
rest of it.

Bottomline,I give it 4 stars for the effort of bringing about this magnificent jewel,which many despise but which I love,like
all the operas of the wonderful bavarian master.

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars lyrically luscious, visually vacuous 3 Dec 2011
By Michael Schulman - Published on
Richard Strauss's rarely performed penultimate opera here makes its commercial DVD debut. The true star of this release is Strauss's seamless, rhapsodic score, thrillingly conducted by Andrew Litton with an assist from the sonics, heavily balanced in favor of the orchestra though never drowning out the soloists. Of the 3 principals, Mark Delavan excels as the Wotanesque Jupiter, Matthias Klink's Midas is pleasant to look at & listen to, while Manuela Uhl, who was also the Danae in the opera's 1st commercial CD release (on cpo), is often troubled by a pronounced wobble, even more noticeable in this 2011 performance than on the CD set recorded in 2003.

But it's the staging that makes viewing this CD so disconcerting, the mythical characters in ugly modern dress, principals moving this way & that with no dramatic logic, pages of music score somehow representing both golden rain & a gold hair-clip, other objects referred to in the text but nowhere in sight &, above all (in every sense), an inverted piano inexplicably suspended over the stage throughout the opera (see box photo). I kept waiting for it to come crashing down, a la the chandelier in Phantom of the Opera. It didn't.

The "bonus" material consists of brief excerpts from a public rehearsal & narrated "program notes" that add nothing to the information contained in the printed booklet. I'd hoped that among her comments, stage director Kirsten Harms would say something about the dangling piano. She didn't, leaving both the piano, & me, dangling.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superconductor DVD Review: Getting Out of the 1% 28 Dec 2011
By Paul Pelkonen - Published on
A new recording or performance of Die Liebe der DanaŽ, the penultimate opera by Richard Strauss, is a rare thing. But thanks to curiosity and scholarship, recent years have been kinder to Strauss' "cheerful mythology," a bittersweet comic tale of the god Jupiter (Mark Delavan) and his quest to bed the title character. This production, from the Deutschen Oper Berlin is staged by Kirsten Harms with a minimum of regie interference. Andrew Litton conducts this elaborate score.

Strauss worked on DanaŽ during the Second World War, and the opera has some of his most inspired orchestral ideas and complex writing for his favorite instrument: the female voice. The title role is taken here by Manuela Uhl, who has made it something of a specialty. She brings powerful, mostly pleasing tone to the high-lying vocal line, although the vibrato widens when the voice is put under pressure The last scene, with some of Strauss' most demanding writing for the soprano, is sung with transcendent, ecstatic power and warmth.

The hardest part to cast in DanaŽ is that of Midas, the donkey driver turned pretend-king. Tenor Matthias Klink impressed in the role, surmounting the heavy orchestration and reaching a dizzying height. The treacherous part is Act II, with two challenging, back-to-back duets. The first, a face-off with Jupiter, demands heroic singing from both men over a bellowing brass section. The second is the long love duet that ends in DanaŽ's brief death.

Mr. Delavan is familiar to New Yorkers from the halÁyon days of the New York City Opera, is Jupiter. This is Strauss' version of Wagner's Wotan, all hubris in the early going, all regret in the last act. The angry passages are a little much for Mr. Delavan's voice, and he fights admirably against the orchestral clamor. But he brings warmth and resignation to the last scene, when DanaŽ and Midas are settled in a humble hut, away from all that gold.

The large supporting cast is solid. A pair of character tenors: Burkhard Ulrich and Thomas Blundelle do well here as the bankrupt King Pollux and Mercury, the gods' playful messenger. The four princesses (Semele, Alkmene, Leda and Europa) are past victims of Jupiter's advances, married off now to mortal princes. These parts are taken by an impressive quartet of singers, who look magnificent in white wigs.

DanaŽ has the (justified) reputation of being a tough opera to stage. For starters, the libretto describes Jupiter's entrance as a shower of golden coins. Here, that image takes the form of sheet music, dropped slowly from heaven like divine inspiration. The transformations caused by Midas' deadly golden touch are handled by Manfred Voss' skillful lighting. Why a piano hangs suspended above the stage for the entire opera is anyone's guess.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good case made for some lesser known Strauss! 27 Dec 2011
By Daniel R. Coombs - Published on
Richard Strauss did not write a lot of operas and, of those, the names most are familiar are "Der Rosenkavalier", "Elektra" and "Salome." Yet, according to writings and notes from the time, he personally considered "Der Liebe der Danae" (The Love of Danae) his greatest. In fact, he had died but three years before its premiere in 1952. Some reasons "Danae" has not enjoyed a greater production life to date may be its length (at just under three hours - although hardly the behemoth of operas) and it may be that the use of a fairly familiar Greek mythological tale of greed - as it existed in a bankrupt and corrupt state - interfering with true love and pure ethics was a bit much for post war Germany (and beyond). Regardless, this new production from the Berlin Opera is fun to watch and makes a compelling case for the revival of this lesser known masterpiece. Most are somewhat familiar with the basic tale of the God of gods, Jupiter, using his God of prosperity, Midas, to help Jupiter get the woman of his desire, Danae. Only when Jupiter discovers that Danae has not only discovered Jupiter's deceptions but has fallen in love with Midas does Jupiter put the famous curse on Midas whereby everything the latter touches turns to solid gold is - therefore - unattainable. In the end, Jupiter tests Danae's true devotions and Midas' allegiance by allowing Danae to choose and - in so doing - Midas and Dane become lovers, yet powerless and Jupiter becomes saddened and awakened to the reality that neither power nor gold will influence true love. The performances here are great. Manuela Uhl as Danae, Mark Delavan as Jupiter and Matthias Klink as Midas are all gifted singers as well as actors. The secondary roles, in a relatively small cast, are also quite good; most notably that of Thomas Blondelle as Mercury. The stage design and direction by Kirsten Harms is also arresting. Huge sections of palace wall provide a minimalist backdrop and - later - serve as the wreckage to the palace. Large paintings of unclear reference are toted off during the initial cast off of Pollux's wealth (whom Jupiter has gypped) as is his grand piano. The piano, in fact, makes for the single most strange stage prop throughout. Take from Pollux during the 'liquidation' of the initial scene (by being hoisted from its normal position to then hang suspended from the stage upside down, lid ajar) it then serves as some sort of symbol for - perhaps - the fleeting attraction of material wealth. Art Haus does its usual fine job of artistic packaging, superb video quality and very helpful booklet information. It is also a welcome benefit to have an additional 22' of film interviews with Kirsten Harms and dramaturge Andreas K.W. Meyer. I recommend this to anyone wanting to explore wonderful yet lesser known opera in a familiar tonal world but with contemporary and visually stunning vision.
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