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9 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant suprise, 18 May 2013
By 
I. Zaneres (west midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
First I watched "THe Making Of" on sky arts. It was rather off putting, and concentrated on the awkward looking staging. I thought that I would give Das Rheingold a try and was quite taken with it. So Die Valkurie of course had to have a chance.
Westbroek and Kaufman as Seigmund and Seiglinde turned out to be quite the best that I have seen and heard, I never thought of them as Wagnerian, though I do have a Gotterdamerung with Westbroek as a very seductive Gutrune. They are an excellent choice and have a magic spark between them. They as Hunding says have a similar look, a viable brother and sister.
Koenig is a credible Hunding with a good base voice, he sings as well as any, but does not have a sinister presence. He looks like a benevolent uncle.
Debra Voight starts with the best opening blast of any Brunhilde that I have heard, it is not a false dawn. After catching the ear she goes on to be the best Brunhilde of any of my versions, strong and exciting, sensitive and loving and finally wounded and appealing. She has it all.
Tervil proves to be an excellent Wotan, this is the best that I have seen him in any role. He is absolutely inside the character. He takes us through the gods emotional turmoil in away that some of the other greats have not achieved, he really acts his socks off.
Stephanie Blythe in her chariot drawn by rams is a formidable Fricka. She is on a par with the best of my other versions.
The Walkuries, too many to mention are as attractive a set of godesses that I have seen and heard. Best dressed maidens that I have seen as well, they could coax me into Valhalla without too much trouble.
The costumes are all appropriate and meet my approval.
The strange mobile planks with lighting effects work very well, something that was not obvious in "The Making Of" where it was looking pretty dire.
To be honest the staging was upstaged by the perfectly chosen cast and dramatic singing. I shall be buying this shortly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for Wagner lovers, and for everyone else., 14 April 2013
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
This is the most humanly moving and poignant of Wagner's music dramas, and this is a powerful and, despite the searing tragedy of its story lines, uplifting performance.
Sieglinde and Siegmund are both beautifully sung and acted by Eva Maria Westbrock and Jonas Kaufman - the latter in particular has a stage presence enough to blow any girl's knickers off (I should guess) but all the cast are great, Bryn Terfel as Wotan, Stephanie Blythe as Fricka, Deborah Voigt as Brunhilde... they all make the dilemmas and complexites in their dialogues enthralling and never heavy going.
It's as though, in these Met. performances, Wagner is at last free of a sort of apologetic embarrassment that has tended to hang over performances of his music dramas since the second world war. Of course, with the English subtitles, it's also free of Wagner's High German, and the plot is lucid and fairly skips along: the Walkeries themselves are electrifying. Anyone who thinks Wagner leaves one feeling exhausted (as I recently heard John Eliot Gardiner suggest) should take a look - It's a MUST for Wagner lovers, but for everyone else too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular, 12 Jun 2014
By 
J. Whitehead (Basingstoke, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
As a newcomer to Wagner's operas was concerned this would be a little challenging but from the opening bars and visual impact of the Robert Lepage staging through to the dramatic conclusion, I was spellbound. It helps to have a truly wonderful cast of Bryn Terfel, Jonas Kaufmann, Eva Maria Westbroek and Deborah Voight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Tech-Operas of the future!, 18 Jan 2014
By 
K. S. Narayanan "Mohan Narayanan" (Chennai, South India) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Adding today's Technologies to traditional Opera performances can be tricky....and not welcome by all. But this is a great effort by Robert Lepage and I admire his courage. MET's next RING will be a total Visual Graphics - Laser, 3G, no live actors, VFX etc. however with real singers' voices recorded and played in the background to lip synch. Peter Gelb should try that! With that live Opera performances will become closest to Movies!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Our own Eva Maria Westbroek in the Met, 13 Nov 2013
By 
GJ Veenbrink - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
A wonderfull performance!
Of course our Dutch Diva as Sieglinde, but also Jonas Kaufmann as Siegmund.
He is of course a real Heldentenor in my opinion, better in the German Opera's than in de Italian repertoire.
Like it very much!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Walkure Met 2011 - performance 5 stars, staging 3 to 4 stars, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Glad to have the opportunity to review a Ring recording, one of the biggest works of art, and whether you love or loathe Wagner, music or man, it is a challenging and rewarding experience, every music lover should tackle it. With such a rich, complex work of art, there are probably as many meanings and interpretations as listeners, and as an allegorical struggle between good and evil, love and power, of relevance to us all. This will be interesting because we have a change of conductor mid-cycle, and I have these big Wagner works for breakfast. So. Here we go....

Superb orchestral performance under James Levine, powerful and atmospheric, terrific cast. The interesting production design doesn't always add much to the experience. It replaces the excellent naturalistic Otto Schenk / Gunther Schneider-Siemssen production, and revolves (pun intended) around the so-called Machine stage, basically a series of motor driven planks which can be rotated around an axis, allowing infinite placement and fluid movement. With interactive projections it represents, for example, walls, tree trunks, rocky crags and mountain tops, with variable success. Hunding's 'house' appears to be centred by an overgrown telegraph pole - I guess that's the ash tree - shouldn't the bole splay out? The interactive light projections depict the storm at the very start, but the graphically onomatopeic music renders the effect superfluous. The staging works better depicting the terrain in Acts 2 and 3. The huge 'mind's eye' during Wotan's Act 2 narration depicts his thoughts in flashback, but the powerful symbiosis of text and music does this for us, however the eyeball is effective, so I'm okay with it. The production is more impressionist than literal, and looks both naturalistic and artificial, if that makes any sense.

The cast is terrific. Good stage chemistry between Jonas Kaufmann and Eva-Maria Westbroek (Siegmund and Sieglinde) - you don't need to know the story to know these two are meant to be together. Excellent singing from both. Westbroek is luscious and Kaufmann's rich baritonal heft makes him ideal for this awkward low-tessitura role. Stephanie Blythe is an implacable, trenchant Fricka in her key scene with Wotan. Deborah Voigt (Brunnhilde) is a good actress, attentive to character development, her voice is pleasing and has femininity and power when needed. Brunnhilde begins a warrior maiden but by the end of the act her empathy for her father's true wishes and witnessing the Walsungs' true love sees her develop into a true woman. Bryn Terfel (Wotan) is magnificent, getting all the rage and torment, also plenty of nuances, vocally splendid, a pleasure to hear. Wotan's Act 2 narrative is central to the whole Ring, he rails against the boundaries he has set himself, Terfel brings it off well - Wotan's anguish as he recounts grasping Alberich's ring, how Alberich gained by power what Wotan could not gain by love, the desire to give up the gods' work. Awesome. Blistering Act 3, very moving in emotional intensity throughout, culminating in a heartbreaking final scene when Wotan forces himself to say goodbye to his favourite daughter, punishing her for doing his true will. Great interaction between Voigt and Terfel. Hoping not to over-hype this recording, but it felt like one of those terrific Walkure performances of old, though it's hard not to enjoy the music anyway!

Whatever ones view of the knowingly incestuous Walsung relationship which must have really shocked audiences in the past, the rich soaring romantic music in Act 1 makes you actually approve and enjoy. As typical with Wagner, it's extreme love which is of interest and worth to him. In the story the alternative is forced abduction, forced marriage, basically rape. Siegmund is an outcast because he battles accepted rules and conventions. Their love is genuine so I'm cool with it (though not advocating taking it as far as they do). All genuine love, whatever form it takes, is to be celebrated.

I found I got most from the experience concentrating on the terrific music, singing, text, costumes and acting, and not paying too much attention to the staging at times. The stage plinth emphasises voices, despite the excellent cast, I would prefer more orchestral volume, though I'm just using a standard TV. The DVDs are chaptered copiously and there are subtitles, so now I know what they're all singing about! Looking forward to Siegfried, more Bryn Terfel and an intriguing new tenor Jay Hunter Morris in the title role (he's very good)....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price for Terfel and Kaufmann, 13 Aug 2013
By 
D. Elvin (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I have to confess that I don't find the Lepage production convincing (as with the others in the cycle) which seeks oddly to combine very traditional elements (costume for example) with a production (the revolving "planks") which appears to me to amount over the cycle to an attempt to shoehorn the Ring into s concept which does not work for significant parts of the cycle (the documentaries show just how difficult the Met found it to operate). A few striking scenes are not enough to justify the constant use of the device. However, production aside, Kaufmann and Westbroek are wonderful as the Wolsungs (I could listen to Kaufmann singing Winterstürme until the cows come home), as is Blythe as Fricka, and Terfel is as ever superb as Wotan, maybe not always in the best voice, but always convincing, always at the heart of the drama. I do not like Voight as Brunnhilde at all, her voice seems far too shrill with too much vibrato and she can't match Terfel for the acting. Bullock and Terfel at Covent Garden were far more moving in Act III. Interestingly, I watched the Met disks while revisiting the Keith Warner/Royal Opera production last year and, notwithstanding some of the oddities in that production, found it a far more convincing whole and overall presentation of the drama rather than this one. Pity it has not been filmed. Even more so was the stupendous Barenboim Ring at the BBC Proms a few weeks ago (August 2013)- Stemme outshining her rivals as Brunnhilde (and a glorious Anja Kampe as Sieglinde) and as a whole the semi-stages concert performance demonstrating how little production is needed to conjure up the magic of the drama and the music. On DVD, better to get the Barenboim/Bayreuth Ring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Wagner, 19 July 2013
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Carolyn Calcutt (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
A DVD to treasure with some amazing singing and a truly memorable production with Jonas Kaufmann in splendid voice and really looking like his twin sister!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kaufmann makes it!, 9 Jun 2013
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W. Kennedy (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
I found this exhilarating although Terfel seemed a little less God Like than I would have preferred. The lyricism Kaufmann brings to his Wagner makes a pleasant change from some of the 'shouters' we sometimes hear.
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Die Walkure [DVD] [2013]
Die Walkure [DVD] [2013] by Robert Lepage (DVD - 2013)
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