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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Une réalisation majeure
Une qualité de son et d'image superlative. Des chanteurs de très haut niveaux et physiquement crédibles. Pas de grosses dondons comme dans d'autres réalisation. Se situe dans la même veine que la version Metha en moins imaginative toutefois et plus statique.
Une très belle réalisation, vivement la suite
Published 12 months ago by eric fisitzky

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Faulty disc too.
Like D. W Carver I also received a faulty copy of this disc. Maybe it was the one he returned!! I have a top quality blu ray player with the latest firmware. The top menu offers only "opera" or "trailers" as options. Selecting opera simply plays the trailers, as does selecting trailers. Arthaus have provided no "set up" audio / subtitle options, something which I have...
Published 9 months ago by M. Ward


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Une réalisation majeure, 7 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
Une qualité de son et d'image superlative. Des chanteurs de très haut niveaux et physiquement crédibles. Pas de grosses dondons comme dans d'autres réalisation. Se situe dans la même veine que la version Metha en moins imaginative toutefois et plus statique.
Une très belle réalisation, vivement la suite
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rheingold for all tastes, 25 Dec 2013
By 
david may (hawkesbury heights, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
The musical qualities of this Rheingold are extraordinary. Others have pointed out certain strengths and weakness, but averaged out over the whole performance, the buyer can rest assured he or she is getting a first class redition. Rene Pape produces such consistently beautiful tone quality as Wotan, you can comfortably disregard minor quibbles about a slight tiredness at a few points. Barenboim’s conducting , emphases the grandness of Wagner’s orchestration, especially in relation to the brass which is really quite earth shattering.

On the production side of this, I find this the perfect Rheingold for repeated home viewing. Having seen this Ring production in Berlin this year, I can vouch that this should apply to this whole cycle.

It is beautiful to look at; visual images and colour are stunning. It portrays the mythic spectacle of the drama while representing a valid modern interpretation of the themes. It is a perfect balance. Traditionalists will appreciate the clarity of story and spectacle, while those seeking a more contemporary interpretation of Wagner’s ideas will not be disappointed with what’s on offer. The use of water throughout enhances without intrusion. The representation of the giants as shadows is simple and effective, absolutely the most remarkable I have ever seen.

Much controversy and criticism has been leveled at the inclusion of dancers (at the performance I attended in Berlin, the dancers were booed while performing). To be fair, most people I know don’t like it. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I didn’t find them any more distracting than other scenic effects which might be employed in a modern Ring production. The idea of their “morphing” into the tarnhelm is very clever and looks brilliant.

I am looking forward to the rest of this cycle on blu ray with much excitement.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner wrote"myth is true for all time", 17 Sep 2013
By 
Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
According to Steinberg in this Rhinegold booklet, the mythic value of the Rhine,is the world before language and before meaning.The transition to the human world happens abruptly with the entrance of the first Rhine maiden,and the disruption comes as a shock.Something has been lost:the state of nature;the world before time.It is as if we had been given a momentary re-entry into a biological Eden,into our own infancy. We only understand this when it is over,and we understand this through the melancholy of loss which informs all earthly reality.What kind of human world are we in after Alberich's theft of the gold?The ring then examines three patterns of Human desire;lust,love;power;knowledge.However,Lee states"Original sinners of myth are ambivalent figures. Their primal offenses bring evil into the world but have ultimately positive effects. The wrestling of consciousness from Nature is associated with guilt,but the step had to be taken if the human race was to break with mothering Nature,keeping it unaware.The stage director and set designer Guy Cassiers views on Rhinegold and the Ring, require a lengthy explanation,so I will write the review first.I do own 10 Bluray and DVD rings,as well as Bohm,Solti,Keilberth 1955 Ring,also,the first Ring ever recorded 1926-1932,cond Blech & Coates-Gala Vol 1&2.So I can state this Rhinegold could suit the traditionalists.

The staging is not over complicated. The Rhinemaidens have a background of water beneath their feet and in the back ground.The next scene is a green rocky place.Underground,grey and red.Above ground there is a moon over the darken background,with what I think is Valhalla.When Erda comes into the scene she stands tall above everyone else behind a dark ultramarine background. Just before the Gods go into their new home,there is a blurred background of naked bodies. This could represent the dead heroes,or Greek Gods.The costumes are circa 1876(premiere of the Ring) or 1850,should be 1851 when Wagner started writing the Ring.Long skirts etc.Only Wotan wears a type of suit.There are dancers at various stages of the performances from the Eastman Ballet company,Antwerp.For example,when Alberich becomes a snake and a frog, they cover him and attempt to become those reptiles. The giants are represented by huge shadows,holding a shadow of Freia.Yet the singers taking the role of Fasolt and Fafner, are the usual size,and wear black suits.The Teatro alla Scala is conducted by Daniel Barenboim,who brings out the lyrical side of das Rhinegold.His tempo's are quick and the music seems to flow and float.Barenboim's insight is far greater then it was in the Bayreuth Ring DVD he conducted years ago.Having an Italianite sound makes a difference.

The singers are all good,and actually sing their roles;must be the Italian influence. Rene Pape is an excellent Wotan,who has a distinctive lyrical voice. Fricka-Doris Soffel is one of the best around and is up there with Randi Stene of the Copenhagen Ring cycle. I must make special mention of Loge Stephan Rugamer who makes much of the part with his beautiful tenor voice. Donner Jan Buchwald and Froh Marco Jentzsch are also very good. The Rhinemaidens are exceptional. Mime Wolfgang Sperrhacke makes much of his role. The outstanding Johannes Martin Kranzle is Alberich.He was Beckmesser in Glyndebourne's Meistersingers by Wagner.Fasolt Kwangchul Youn was Hunding in Thielemann's Bayreuth's Die Walkure. Fafner Timo Rihonen. Erda Anna Larsson has become a contralto and her voice suits the role.She was Fricka in the Valencia Ring.Freia Anna Samull has a great future ahead of her. There is not a weak link in the various roles. The HD sound is fine. I heard Das Rhinegold through earphones and without them. I could hear all the instruments in the orchestra and the voices perfectly.If you do not take much notice of the ideas behind Cassiers staging,you will enjoy this Rhinegold and the rest of the Ring cycle.It looks good.

Recorded 26th May 2010. PCM Stereo.dts-HD Master Audio 5.1. Subtitles: English.French,Spanish,Italian,Korean. 16.9. REGION: World wide. 1080i HD.

Wagner wrote the Ring's libretto backwards from Siegfrieds Tod,first written in 1848,becoming Gotterdammerung. In 1851 he decided to turn Siegfrieds Tod,into four dramas called the Ring of the Nibelungen.For he had read German,Scandinavian and Greek myths.But the idea of a four part cycle came from the ancient Greek festival of Dionysus at Athens. The related cycles of festival dramas were borrowed from Aeschylus.The blending of politics and myth:the interplay of Gods and humans he owed to Prometheus bound.Wagner adapted the technique of STABREIM(the linking of words and lines by alliteration instead of end rhyme) as a new way of writing the texts of the opera's. Modern speech was not suitable for mythic drama he thought.Also,Wagner thought that music cannot think-but she can materialize thoughts. So he created a system of musical motifs that both unify the drama and is capable of foreboding an emotion not yet defined in words.(leitmotif's).Though in Opera and Drama he writes that the poet dictates to the musician,however,apart from Rhinegold,he totally ignored the practice,music came first;especially after reading Schopenhauer in 1854.

But the German philosopher who most influenced Wagner in the writing of the Ring was Feuerbach,who wrote that Man created the idea of God,and that we have given him all the virtues we would like to have;perfect,eternal,almighty.He did think that instead of love of God we should love Man. For Feuerbach it was the I-you relationship,for without it we do not develop any social responsibility.Religion he thought told us about ourselves.Under this influence Wagner celebrated the fearless life-enhancing ethos of Greek culture in the Ring.Here Guy Cassiers the stage director, make a mistake,"the Ring explores human desire,or rather,human will,to use the Schopenhauerian word to which Wagner and his texts seemed ever more susceptible". The libretto was written in 1851-52 when he was under the influence of Feuerbach.He only came across Schopenhauer in 1854 when he was writing the music for Die walkure. Then he thought I have his views without knowing it.He only attempted to change the ending of Gotterdammerung;found he could not and used a beautiful theme from Die walkure.However,Wagner stopped at Act 2,Siegfried, and wrote Tristan und Isolde-a true Schopenhauer work,along with die Meistersingers,to enable him to complete the Feuerbach Ring.

Schopenhauer wrote that the world is evil,it is better not to be born,but do not commit suicide that only makes it worse. He stated be like the mystics,ignore life,take no part in it.He felt the will as he called it, was unknowable,and the world was a physical manifestation of this.When we die we all become one.Music he felt was uplifting and nearest to the unknowable. So after Wagner read this,music became more important then the poetry from Die Walkure onwards.

"Myth is timeless and is inexhaustible" stated Wagner.But Cassiers states "Myth must have history,or else it avoids history's specific traumas and crimes." "Chereau showed the way forward in 1976 with his Ring,recasting the Ring from 1870 -1930 at the moment of the unification of Germany to the Weimar crisis and the rise of Nazism". However,Chereau based his ideas on Shaws view on the subject,'In the Perfect Wagnerite',where he wrote that the Ring is about the evils of capitalism. Wagner started out with that in mind,but changed and saw it more as about Man and his inner world,that is why he used mythic symbols.For the director of Rhinegold, states that his Ring unfolds from the present day global moment,placing our present and our future in the context of the promises we have inherited from history.So the audience will interpret what they see and project it back on to the Ring,depending on how we view Wagner and his ring.Thus,we are influenced by the past,but interpret the now through this prism. Greed is here today and the artifical creation of desire in this world created by visual stimulation,like advertising.But there is hope. Maybe,through the experience of the Ring we will view our faults,and see ourselves as we are.I think Cassiers has missed the point, Myth is not about history,it is about our inner life.Symbols of Myths help us to get underneath the subconscious barriers we put up and get to that quiet essence of existence.

REFERENCES:Batta,A.(Ed)Opera.2005.Konemann. Donington,R. Wagner's Ring and his symbols 1976.Faber and Faber.Holden,A.(Ed) The Penguin opera Guide.1995.Viking. Lee,M. Turning the sky around.1994. Limelight productions.New York. Millington,B. Wagner the Sorcerer of Bayreuth.2012.Thames and Hudson. Watson,D. Richard Wagner.A biography. 1979. J.M. Dent and Sons.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid opening to the La Scala Ring, 2 Sep 2013
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
The true musical merit and the importance of Das Rheingold is often underestimated or at least overlooked on account of its designation as merely the Prologue to the three parts proper of Wagner's epic Ring saga but it's essential to establish a precise balance and a vision that will propel the audience compellingly into this unique musical journey. The first part of the new Teatro alla Scala Ring, created in 2010, fulfils that remit well, with Daniel Barenboim managing proceedings with precision and drive from the orchestra pit and director Guy Cassiers fulfilling all the requirements to establish a suitable tone that fully supports the work.

I don't know what Wagner would have made of ballet being incorporated into Das Rheingold, but choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's work does help to draw out those deeper premonitory resonances within the work. In addition to the fine performance of the work on the surface level of the stage direction and the singing, the greater significance of what is being played out here is projected in abstract shimmering colours, textures and shadows on the background and in the movements of the dancers. On a straightforward level that means that there are giant-sized shadow counterparts for the giants Fasolt and Fafner, while the dancers meld together to form the Tarnhelm and its transformations, but the use of lighting, colours and abstract shimmering projections of water, rocks and gold also manage to convey a brooding mythological quality to the locations with premonitions of the dark consequences to the epic events that are about to unfold.

I wasn't sure that Johannes Martin Kränzle benevolent slightly comical appearance could carry off Alberich, even with the disturbing disfigurement of a "permanent smile" scar at the edges of his mouth, but he sings the role well and also manages to convey the right impression and tone for each scene. Stephan Rügamer is a sprightly Loge, clever but cautious, a spring in his step and in his voice. The use of shadowplay helps visualise the size and actions of the giants, but it's all there already in Kwang Chul Youn's much bigger sounding performance. The capabilities of Wotan and Fricke aren't tested here to the same extent that they are Die Walküre, but René Pape and Doris Soffel are fine if not quite outstanding in these roles here. Pape doesn't always appear to be as comfortable or authoritative in the role of Wotan as he probably ought to be, but how well he eventually manages to fulfils the role and whether that uncertainty is part of his character's make-up should become apparent in the subsequent parts of the Ring.

A BD25 disc might seem a little tight to cover an opera that is close to three hours long, but I detected no issues at all with the image or the sound. It looks great. There's no great benefit to the surround mix, which might even be a little bit too echoing even if it is mainly front-speaker based, but the stereo mix is strong, particularly when listened to through headphones. There are no extras on the disc, just an essay in the booklet that seems to have some rather high-flown ideas about the production. Subtitles are in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Korean.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ballet and opera combined, 19 Jan 2014
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A very different Rheingold with dancers being very prominent throughout. Not for purists who may be irritated by the intrusion of the dancers but I enjoyed it very much indeed having seen dozens of performances of The Ring and finding this refreshing It goes without saying that the soloists and orchestra were excellent otherwise it would have been a disaster.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Faulty disc too., 9 Dec 2013
By 
M. Ward (Southampton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
Like D. W Carver I also received a faulty copy of this disc. Maybe it was the one he returned!! I have a top quality blu ray player with the latest firmware. The top menu offers only "opera" or "trailers" as options. Selecting opera simply plays the trailers, as does selecting trailers. Arthaus have provided no "set up" audio / subtitle options, something which I have experienced before with this label. I agree with one of the commentators this is lazy authoring. The companion La Scala Walkure from Arthaus offers the same minimal options on the top menu as the Rheingold but plays on my equipment, showing that this is not an equipment issue. I am returning the Rheingold to Amazon for refund. Caveat emptor.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Faulty blu-ray disc, 12 Sep 2013
By 
D. W. CARVER (Oxshott, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Das Rheingold [La Scala 2011] [Rene Pape, Timo Riihonen, Daniel Barenboim] [Arthaus: 108090] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
My rating refers not to the performance but the product. My blu-ray copy was sent the day it was published. I found that it was impossible to access the so-called 'Top Menu' (namely Audio format, Subtitles, Scenes, etc.) My option was simply "Opera" or "Trailers". However my player was able to detect that the different audio formats and, of course, the various subtitles were present on the disc.

Having been buying these discs for very many years my experience is that this type of fault is not isolated - it usually affects a complete production batch so purchasers should be wary. I'm sure it will be put right in due course.

I have notified the British distributor of the problem but, disappointingly, they have so far failed to reply.
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