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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great "Siegfried" - but is this a Ring I see before me?
If there's a tenor active today who can really do full justice to the near-impossible part of Siegfried, I haven't heard him. Lance Ryan is better than most. He makes a convincingly handsome, virile hero, but there's a lot of shouting, dodgy pitch and, at times, an alarming vibrato. But, like I say, that seems to be par for the course these days. All the other singers...
Published 9 months ago by David Garrett

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Une déception
Siégeriez chevrote de manière insupportable et brun gilde est à peine regardable. Dommage car la qualité du son et de l'image est remarquable
Published 8 months ago by eric fisitzky


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great "Siegfried" - but is this a Ring I see before me?, 9 Jan 2014
By 
David Garrett (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Siegfried [Lance Ryan, Peter Bronder, Terje Stensvold, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
If there's a tenor active today who can really do full justice to the near-impossible part of Siegfried, I haven't heard him. Lance Ryan is better than most. He makes a convincingly handsome, virile hero, but there's a lot of shouting, dodgy pitch and, at times, an alarming vibrato. But, like I say, that seems to be par for the course these days. All the other singers here are superb. Nina Stemme is, for my money, the best Brünnhilde of recent times, delivering the drama and the power as well as beautifully musical singing. Terje Stensvold makes a suitably authoritative Wanderer, and Peter Bronder is probably the best Mime around today.
There's nothing in the production to alarm traditionalists - it's not set on the Moon or Kazakhstan, and all the swords and spears etc are in the right places. Mostly it's attractive/interesting to look at, without offering any particular insights or anything particularly memorable. What I'm really not getting from this Ring Cycle so far is any sense of a unified concept - anything to make it a CYCLE as opposed to random productions of the four separate operas. There are a few things which keep cropping up such as a spinning ball (a bit like a giant egg whisk) in Rheingold and Walküre and a lot of weighted red ropes in Walküre and Siegfried - as if just to remind us that the same designer is still there. There are however, some major lapses in continuity. The rock and the hard place where Siegfried discovers Brünnhilde are totally different to where Wotan left her at the end of Walküre. She also seems to have changed outfits - although the "new" one looks suitably slept-in! The costumes have been a strange mixture. Most have been Victorian, but Siegfried wouldn't be out of place in a Heavy Metal Rock Band. The Tarnhelm, although still a team of "dancers", has also changed significantly since we last saw it in Rheingold. They've obviously whiled away their long years stuck in Fafner's cave practicing sword-dancing and are determined to show us their new skill - quite why, I'm not sure. It doesn't help that there is also a major lack of continuity in the singers - so far we've had three Wotans, two Frickas, two Mimes etc.
To summarise, despite my reservations about Lance Ryan, I think this is an excellent "Siegfried" taken by itself, although I have my doubts as to whether this is turning out to be a great "Ring".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly solid but unexceptional continuation of the Scala Ring cycle, 25 Feb 2014
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Siegfried [Lance Ryan, Peter Bronder, Terje Stensvold, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
Siegfried, the second day opera in La Scala's new Ring Cycle doesn't reveal any new angle on what has come before or expand on any identifiable concept, but even with variations in casting it remains consistent in look and feel and has the appropriate sense of the epic scale that is required for this part of Wagner's masterwork. It benefits however from another robust performance from the orchestra under the direction of Daniel Barenboim, from some good singing performances and even one or two exceptional ones. When it comes to a work as challenging as Siegfried, you can't really ask for much more than that.

Guy Cassiers' direction and stage design is however is also a crucial supporting element that brings a sense of wholeness and consistency to this Ring cycle. The production design remains fairly abstract, with little sense that there's any deeper meaning behind the concept, but it has a fine dark and otherworldly mythological quality that suits the presentation. It may not be naturalistic, relying more on lighting effects, projections, and dancers, but it creates an impressive spectacle. At the same time however, it's a fairly basic and static staging that gives Siegfried and Brünnhilde very little to work with. This is a failing throughout Cassiers' Ring cycle, with very little attention paid to the acting and stage direction and only Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui's dancers providing any sense of flow and movement.

Lance Ryan's Siegfried is far from perfect, but he at least remains undaunted by the challenge and comes through the experience here relatively well. He's often imprecise and strained in pitch, but he has stamina and enough character to fill the role in the absence of any real acting direction. On occasion, such as his fine soliloquy outside Fafner's cave, he's often good or at least good enough, which in itself is no small matter. Peter Bronder is a superb Mime; singing well and full of character he pretty much carries Act I. The third Wotan/Wanderer in this Ring Cycle, Terje Stensvold is also good, but it's a static performance that shows little personality or emotional engagement. Johannes Martin Kränzle reprises his excellent Alberich from Das Rheingold, injecting the Dwarf with the necessary darker edge here.

What really raises this Siegfried however and is worth waiting for is Nina Stemme's Brünnhilde. In Cassiers' vacant but spectacular production, Lance Ryan alone could never carry the weight of the third Act, but with Barenboim directing the musical force and Nina Stemme's beautiful rich tone giving it real emotional meaning, it gets there in some style. The specifications of the Arthaus Blu-ray remain very fine for this series of Ring operas. Despite the darkness of the stage and the complex nature of the lighting and projections, the image is clear and stable. The audio tracks too present the singing and orchestral performance well in the PCM stereo and the DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 surround. Other than trailers for other works, there are no extra features on the disc. Subtitles are in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian and Korean. The disc is region-free.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This lyrical Siegfried., 10 Jan 2014
By 
Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wagner: Siegfried [Lance Ryan, Peter Bronder, Terje Stensvold, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
The staging,costumes and singing is of a high standard;Barenboim is one of the great Ring conductors alive today. But the problem is the concept of the Ring by Guy Cassiers,which is muddled and is best ignored as I have explained in my reviews on Das Rhinegold and Die Walkure.Read them if possible.However,Cassiers vision does not interfere with this Ring cycle and is very traditional and worth while obtaining.Just see it as a myth,primarly about us.Actually,Wagner admitted that even he did not really understand what he had written. I own 10 Bluray and DVD ring Cycles and you can understand the Directors aim. For example,in the Valencia,Chereau,Dutch even the Frankfurter ring, I understand what is behind the concept,but even then you can read what you like into it.The Ring cycle even today has the ability to cause debate.

Wagner wrote that he left Siegfried under a tree in Act 2, 1856-7. He returned in 1864-5 to finish the Act,completing Act 3 1869-71 and then Gotterdammerung. He left the ring for a period to write Tristan and Isolde and the Meistersingers, to get the ideas he had about the German Philosopher Schopenhauer out of his system. Wagner realized he could not change the Feuerbach version of his Ring cycle.

The staging in Act I Siegfried,has swords piled up on each side of the stage.The bear is a skin worn by Siegfried. In the forging scene TV sets are joined together by fencing material;fire is projected on to the background.In Act 2 there are chains put together to look like individual trees,very effective when light is shone on them,or film of green leaves projected on the chains. It is here where Alberich meets Wotan. The Dragon is a snakes head projected on a screen, with cloth made to look like its body;first grey,then red when Siegfried kills it. The bird is a woman following Siegfried. She is dressed in a 1860's dress,to remind us,that this is when Wagner wrote the music.In otherwords,the past,meets the present,can effect the future,unless we recognize this fact.If only Cassiers had stuck to this original concept there would be no trouble.There are ballet dancers with swords making a statement.This is an imaginative touch. The fire seems to come out of trees,and when the rock is reached,they leap up very high.The rock is made of cloth that is made to look like it comes from the 1860's.The backdrops are very artistic and created by projecting fire on the backdrops.

The costumes are highly traditional especially in Siegfried,they would be more at home in the latest Met Ring cycle.The long skirts are worn for a reason as I explained.In the Frankfurter Ring the Walkuries are dressed in 1876 costumes. The conductor Daniel Barenboim knows the score and can see the whole,not simply conduct act by act. With this La Scala orchestra,he is able to bring out the marvellous melodies in this score.Because it is an Italian orchestra,the music becomes more lyrical,then we are familar with,especially when a German orchestra plays the score.

Mime Peter Bronder is very good,acting and singing in the general tone that most Mimes adopt.Only in one ring I have,the Lubeck ring,does Mime actually sing the part. Alberich Johannes Martin Kranzle, is Sixtus Beckmesser in the excellent Glyndebourne, Bluray Die Meistersingers. Fafner Alexander Tsymbalyuk.There have been three Wotans in this Ring,the first in Das Rhinegold was Rene Pape,then in Die Walkure Vitalij Kowaljow, now Siegfried Terje Stensvold.There is no problem because we get to hear and see,the best Wotans of today. Also,in the Ring cycle,people age,especially Wotan; when Siegmund dies Wotan is reasonably young,then in Siegfried,as he states he is older,and should look like he is.Generally they do not. Stensvold is at least 65 and so fits the part of the Wanderer. I own the Frankfurter Ring cycle where he is Wotan and he is marvellous.People change in life,so they should in the Ring cycle which really takes place over many years,so changes to the singers do not worry me. In the Weimar Ring the Wotans were interchanged,and the next one was flat and out of tune,but I still like it. As for Lance Ryan,he was great in the Valencia Ring,shocking in the Frankfurter Ring,but better in Siegfried.He only has a bit of trouble in the awakening scene with Nina Stemme who is a great Brunnhilde.I like this Ring.Gotterdammerung should be mind blowing.We might have a new tenor.

In the DVD Lubeck Ring conducted by Roman Brogli-Sacker,Jurgen Muller Siegfried and Rebecca Teem Brunnhilde,show how the great awakening scene should be sung.Why we have never heard any more of Teem is amazing,she is a young lady;small with a huge voice and perfect pitch. In this much underrated ring, the Siegfried Jurgen Muller,was changed and the replacement had bad moments in Gotterdammerung. So the point is,many ring cycles are not perfect. Another good pair in the awakening scene is Jeannine Altmeyer and Heinz Kruse in the DVD Dutch ring conducted by Hartmut Haenchen, directed by Audi.One of my favourites.Very emotional.This duet is hard to bring off.Siegfried is tired from singing the three acts and Brunnhilde has just come on stage. I am told,even these dramatic soprano's have trouble with this love duet,and they are on stage for a short time.A famous disaster averted in this Act 3 love duet,at La Scala,1950,Siegfried,conducted by Furtwangler was recorded;now on CD.What happened was that Set Svanholm, who was 50,was in fairly dire straits having put in so much effort into the Forging of Nothung in Act 1.Flagstad realizing this as did Furtwangler,managed to get him through the Act.You should hear the noises coming from Set.The Ring is a difficult opera and is hard to produce and have all the singers in good voice on the night.There are often replacements.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Une déception, 7 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Wagner: Siegfried [Lance Ryan, Peter Bronder, Terje Stensvold, Johannes Martin Kränzle] [Blu-ray] [2013] (Blu-ray)
Siégeriez chevrote de manière insupportable et brun gilde est à peine regardable. Dommage car la qualité du son et de l'image est remarquable
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