Customer Reviews

3
4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
1
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
Alban Berg: Wozzeck [DVD] [2007] [NTSC] [2010]
Price:£18.00+Free shipping with Amazon Prime

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2009
Wow! This is an assault on the senses, in every respect. Start with what Buchner wrote - itself pretty grueling for most tastes. Add Berg, perhaps the most lyrical of the Second Viennese School but hardly ring-a-ring-o-roses. Then get bad-boy director Calixto Bieito to apply his art. The result is unlikely to be Mary Poppins.

I find the result to be a triumphant success. If you know Berg, Buchner or Bieito you'll have a good idea of what's coming. For others it's fair to warn that you're in for 100 minutes of man's inhumanity to man, the crassness of modern society, exploitation, insensitivity, love and lovelessness, loss, despair. Is it all worth watching? Surely it isn't just worth watching, it's essential we do so.

As I turned this on I happened to have just finished viewing the old BBC Upstairs Downstairs series, whose story finishes in the late 1920s. Exactly contemporaneous with Berg's Wozzeck and at first sight two worlds at polar opposites. Except that they're not. Wozzeck rubs your nose into all the things Upstairs Downstairs glosses over. A fascinating contrast, two views of the same world.

Bieito changes Buchner's setting. We are in something like a petrol refinery so the Captain, soldier, Drum Major references don't quite fit. If you can get over that, the situation envisaged by Buchner fits this setting exactly. After all, is modern industrial/commercial life not a close counterpart of military life a century ago, with its exploitation, class structure, hard-heartedness, ethics sacrificed for convenience? In no way did I find Bieito's concept at odds with the story. Other minor touches help update the action from 1925 to 2008. Andres' music is in his headphones rather than his head, the Drum Major is a kind of slimeball version of Elton John, Marie's son wears some kind of respirator similar to today's legion of asthma-prone kids. We do not have to use imagination to relate to what we see. It's out there everywhere, on our streets or TV screens.

The doctor scenes will be tough for some people to take. Bodies, gore, surgical obscenities, necrophilia, all are on show. If Bieito could be accused of going over the top, it's here. But how else do you portray a doctor conducting live experiments and isn't the past 100 years choc-a-bloc with real-life examples?

Hawlata, as Wozzeck, fully justifies the praise he has earned worldwide for his portrayal of this role. Both singing and acting are breathtaking. Supporting roles are all superbly taken, with special mention for the Marie/son scenes. If this isn't a portrayal of a derelict parent and lost child, all outward caring and no real, self-effacing love, I don't know what is. Chorus adds weight and dimension to the drama, whether mindlessly raving to the Drum Major's catwalk directions or wandering the stage like the refugees we see every night on our newscasts, somewhere in the world.

Sebastian Weigle brings out the colours and lyricism of Berg's score without pulling punches in the heavier moments. Sound is first class and visuals excellent, if you can bear to look at them. Berg's Wozzeck was never meant to be entertainment in its simplest sense. We subject ourselves to it because of its art; the way Buchner turns a historical event into a story that asks questions about the way we live; the way Berg illustrates Buchner's apparent and hidden text; the way its performers lock us to our seats and send us away changed, emotionally and intellectually. In all these ways this performance succeeds triumphantly.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2008
This is an assault on the senses, in every respect. Start with what Buchner wrote - itself pretty grueling for most tastes. Add Berg, perhaps the most lyrical of the Second Viennese School but hardly ring-a-ring-o-roses. Then get bad-boy director Calixto Bieito to apply his art. The result is unlikely to be Mary Poppins.

I find the result to be a triumphant success. If you know Berg, Buchner or Bieito you'll have a good idea of what's coming. For others it's fair to warn that you're in for 100 minutes of man's inhumanity to man, the crassness of modern society, exploitation, insensitivity, love and lovelessness, loss, despair. Is it all worth watching? Surely it isn't just worth watching, it's essential we do so.

As I turned this on I happened to have just finished viewing the old BBC Upstairs Downstairs series, whose story finishes in the late 1920s. Exactly contemporaneous with Berg's Wozzeck and at first sight two worlds at polar opposites. Except that they're not. Wozzeck rubs your nose into all the things Upstairs Downstairs glosses over. A fascinating contrast, two views of the same world.

Bieito changes Buchner's setting. We are in something like a petrol refinery so the Captain, soldier, Drum Major references don't quite fit. If you can get over that, the situation envisaged by Buchner fits this setting exactly. After all, is modern industrial/commercial life not a close counterpart of military life a century ago, with its exploitation, class structure, hard-heartedness, ethics sacrificed for convenience? In no way did I find Bieito's concept at odds with the story. Other minor touches help update the action from 1925 to 2008. Andres' music is in his headphones rather than his head, the Drum Major is a kind of slimeball version of Elton John, Marie's son wears some kind of respirator similar to today's legion of asthma-prone kids. We do not have to use imagination to relate to what we see. It's out there everywhere, on our streets or TV screens.

The doctor scenes will be tough for some people to take. Bodies, gore, surgical obscenities, necrophilia, all are on show. If Bieito could be accused of going over the top, it's here. But how else do you portray a doctor conducting live experiments and isn't the past 100 years choc-a-bloc with real-life examples?

Hawlata, as Wozzeck, fully justifies the praise he has earned worldwide for his portrayal of this role. Both singing and acting are breathtaking. Supporting roles are all superbly taken, with special mention for the Marie/son scenes. If this isn't a portrayal of a derelict parent and lost child, all outward caring and no real, self-effacing love, I don't know what is. Chorus adds weight and dimension to the drama, whether mindlessly raving to the Drum Major's catwalk directions or wandering the stage like the refugees we see every night on our newscasts, somewhere in the world.

Sebastian Weigle brings out the colours and lyricism of Berg's score without pulling punches in the heavier moments. Sound is first class and visuals excellent, if you can bear to look at them. Berg's Wozzeck was never meant to be entertainment in its simplest sense. We subject ourselves to it because of its art; the way Buchner turns a historical event into a story that asks questions about the way we live; the way Berg illustrates Buchner's apparent and hidden text; the way its performers lock us to our seats and send us away changed, emotionally and intellectually. In all these ways this performance succeeds triumphantly.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 6 July 2014
Calixto Bieito’s controversial but visually stunning production of Wozzeck is set in a grisly, chaotic, post-industrial maze, giving a contemporary edge to the disturbing and hair-raising intensity of Alban Berg’s expressionistic masterpiece. The all too human drama is emphasised, with terrifying beauty, by the stupendous cast of singing actors with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, producing a strong, relentless musical experience under the inspired baton of maestro Sebastian Weigle.

Wozzeck: Franz Hawlata Marie: Angela Denoke Drum Major: Reiner Goldberg Margret: Vivian Tierney Doctor: Johann Tilli Captain: Hubert Delamboye Andres: David Kuebler Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu Vivaldi Chorus – IPSI – Petits Cantors de Catalunya Musical Director: Sebastian Weigle Stage Director: Calixto Bieito
Plus Documentary, including interviews with Sebastian Weigle & Calixto Bieito Illustrated synopsis & cast gallery OPUS ARTE CAT NO: OA0985D
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed

Berg: Wozzeck [DVD] [2007]
Berg: Wozzeck [DVD] [2007] by Rolf Liebermann (DVD - 2007)
£20.43

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.