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Egils (Sweden)

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Cover-Up Sony Reader PRS-T1 / PRS-T2 Leather Cover Case (Book Style) - (Black)
Cover-Up Sony Reader PRS-T1 / PRS-T2 Leather Cover Case (Book Style) - (Black)

5.0 out of 5 stars Well designed, 20 Aug. 2012
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The cover looks good, fits well and gives good protection to the reader. I also like that it has a place for the pointer.

My case actually had a cosmetic imperfection, but the Cover-Up team gladly sent me a replacement. I am therefore completely satisfied.

Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten (Opus Arte: OABD7104D) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Strauss: Die Frau Ohne Schatten (Opus Arte: OABD7104D) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Stephen Gould
Price: £29.99

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking one dimension, 10 Jun. 2012
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Die Frau ohne Schatten is my favourite opera. It has everything I could wish - tons of incredibly beautiful and fascinating music, and an imaginative and moving libretto. I have seen several great performances and I have listened to good audio recordings (Böhm and Solti). I am not very fond of near-VHS quality old recordings on DVD, so I have been looking forward to a modern blu-ray issue. And here it is. I knew however that this one would be different, kind of semi-concertant, and I don't want to see my favourite opera spoilt by a bad staging. But finally I gave in to my curiosity and bought it.

And yes, different it is. The setting is a recording studio. Soon after the recording has started the drama takes over. I was immediately dazzled - I felt this was good, really good. The orchestra under Thielemann played so beautifully, and the singing and acting was very good too. What was lacking in the visuals was well compensated by the focus on the relationships. Just as an example: In the beginning of Act III Barak and his wife, die Färberin, usually sit in two different caves, isolated from each other. Here the isolation is mental, the couple refuses to talk to each other; Barak reads a book while trying to keep his mind off the marital crisis.

The "Frosch" is sometimes criticised for being pretentious, unclear and difficult, but I don't agree with that at all. I like to think that the spirit world with the emperor and empress actually represents the Färberin's unconscious mind, in the Freudian sense. It is populated by her desires, fears and fantasies, by unborn children, and by a lot of archetypal symbols. The unconscious mind lives its own life and sometimes interacts with the Färberin's normal ego, often via the nurse. Frosch is the story of a woman in a very tough situation, living in hardship with a nice man who does not see or understand her. Her unconscious fantasies want something different and drive the couple to the crisis, but eventually her unconscious and normal egos mature and unite, and this is the grand finale. There are other ways to understand Frosch, but this one is simple and logical. Anyway, the visualisation of the spirit world is one of the things that makes Frosch so interesting.

Back to the performance. I think that Loy's ideas work fairly well until after the "Mir anvertraut". Then one moves to the spirit world and this is simply impossible to get into the studio, so the drama more or less ends and the actors return to recording. And here I feel that the opera is crippled. It is simply not enough just to sing about the boat, the door, the golden well, the emperor turned to stone, and all that. Some kind of visualisation is needed. An opera without visuals is only part of an opera.

And then the disaster becomes even worse in the final scene, which is staged as a Christmas concert. In Loy's setting it is supposed to be a 'statement' and not part of the plot. I don't buy it. The audience booed when Loy appeared on stage.

However, there is also the absolutely wonderful musical performance, especially by Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker. The audio engineers must be commended; the sound quality is superb with clarity and detail at a level one seldom hears. The video is generally excellent although not completely flawless.

And as explained before, the first two acts are interesting and enjoyable, but the lack of one dimension - the visualisation of the spiritual world - is, especially in Act III, too disturbing, and the finish is horrible. I am still waiting for a blu-ray where the composers' intentions are convincingly realised with the help of modern technology.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 12, 2013 10:03 PM GMT

Richard Strauss: Salome (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 2008) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Richard Strauss: Salome (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden 2008) [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Nadja Michael
Price: £29.99

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating approach, 6 Mar. 2011
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"Tanz für mich, Salome"! And you know what will soon take place: A more or less embarrassing strip dance by Salome where she runs around and drops veils in front of Herod and the other men.

Not so this time. "Tanzen" is here an euphemism for something really outrageous. Herod takes Salome for a private session, and what this is about is revealed by a sequence of symbols that are not always totally clear to me, but it is evident that Herod abused Salome when she was a little child, and has then continued to do so all her life. In every phase of her life, symbolised by seven rooms, that man was there, and a totally skewed relationship developed culminating by a waltz. All this is accompanied by Strauss' mesmerising music. Afterwards, Herod comes out exclaiming "Wundervoll!", and a little later Salome stumbles out in a rather bad shape.

To me this scene is deeply disturbing. It is an ingenious and totally credible approach to the drama, and moreover, it may explain why Salome has developed her perverted attitude to sex and to Jokanaan.

I don't mind moving the setting of a drama to a different time and place, but it has to make sense, otherwise the result will be weakened impact. Here the events take place in a basement of a fascist palace in the fourties, inspired by Salò. Because of all the references to biblical persons and events, I am not convinced that this is for the best.

The singing and acting are very good, but not at a level without competitors. The orchestra may sometimes sound a bit dull, but this is well compensated by tremendous heights. Together with very good audio and video quality, and with the somewhat questionable staging, I would give it four stars; however I think it deserves an extra star for the dance scene. I can really recommend this recording.

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