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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lohengrin at its best, 16 Mar. 2010
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R. W. E. Merchant (Liverpool, Merseyside, GB) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Lohengrin [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Wagner - Lohengrin [DVD] [2006]

Fabulously sung Lohengrin. Connell as Ortrud is stunning. Bayreuth at its best. You want to be there.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good overall performance and sound. Poor picture., 9 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: Wagner: Lohengrin [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
The nearest Wagner ever got to religion was worshipping himself. Using opulent music he delivers his audience to an easy, pseudo-mystical experience. In this, one of his earlier operas, he is already showing signs of the mastery of the superlative that later would blossom fully together with his egomania.
Elsa is dreamy, mystical. The problem with staging the opera is that her dreams are superimposed on historical reality. Henry 1 (The Fowler, 876-936) united all the German tribes into a single kingdom. In the opera he is recruiting for another victorious campaign. So the ideal staging is abstract with period flavour providing it does not turn into a director's opera with all the infuriating self-indulgence that implies. (For example, Lohengrin composing at the piano on his wedding night, an out-of-place reference to the way Wagner saw himself. The great artist, to be accepted as such without question, arriving as if heaven sent with inspired musical creativity for the benefit of the world. Get it?)
Happily, Gotz Friedrich provides visual interpretation without excess. The men-at-arms wear steel helmets and hold long spears upright. The knights wear breast plates and have heavy swords. These would have been used for hacking as much as thrusting. Well that would have been too dangerous on stage so combat between Lohengrin and Count Telramund is just stylised sword clashing above heads.
All the parts are well taken. If you want the thrilling power of great voices then hard luck. As consolation, they are accomplished actors and actresses and look their part.
The chorus has a large role and the Bayreuth Chorus is simply the best for Wagner. The conducting and orchestral playing are first class.
This was a performance without audience. The sound recording is digital and very good. Although the camera work is well done it was a mistake to shoot it onto analogue videotape instead of film. The unsharp picture has a flickering haze overlaid on it making it tiring to watch. Almost bad enough to drop the rating to 3 stars.
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Wagner: Lohengrin [DVD] [2006]
Wagner: Lohengrin [DVD] [2006] by Peter Hofmann (DVD - 2006)
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