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Das Rheingold: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [Blu-ray]  [NTSC]
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Bryn Terfel, Stephanie Blythe and Eric Owens star in James Lepage's sumptuous production of the first part of Wagner's 'Ring Cycle' at New York's Metropolitan Opera. The high-tech stage set is based around 45 tons of hydraulically-engineered aluminium, dubbed 'The Machine' by cast and crew. James Levine conducts the Metropolitan Orchestra and Chorus.
Top Customer Reviews
So whats so special (other than the blu ray clarity) about this one ?
It is a truly evolved 21st century production making great use of technology but at the same time devoid of trashy 20th century costumes, un-necessary nudity and the need to make it different for the sake of being different.
Mehta with Fura dels Baus with a young orchestra brought out the Velrncia Ring, which although musically and Vocally were just short of great, was a little overdone with unwieldy and clumsy crude mechanical sets that had people on stage operating them, distracting one from the performance itself. Even the projections there were tending to being a tad glitzy and tacky at the same time.
Most of those kinds of hiccups are overcome in this one, unless one were to psych oneself that 'those are just planks' being operated and so on. The sets must have cost a bomb, and surprisingly look both minimal as well as gorgeously elaborate at the same time, thanks to the deft use of tech.
The trailers I saw of these do not do justice to the production.
Why I am elaborating on these aspects is because this theatrical cycle was and is meant to be Visually great in addition to the rest of the drama and music ax Wagner had intended.
COMING TO THIS VIDEO OF RHEINGOLD:
Brynn Terfel is almost a perfect Wotan. Looks, sings and acts the part. Never mind that Wagner intended this part for a Bassy Baritone rather than Terfel's timbre.
Eric Owens as Alberich is another perfect casting for the role.Read more ›
The artistes. Eric Owens is in turn lecherous, bullying and vindictive, his dark voice is equal to any of those in my 6 other versions.
The Rhinemaidens, Ok but there are better blends of voices in other productions, still they are pretty good.
Stephanie Bylthes Fricka is as good as any, she is fully equal to her task.
Bryn Tervil does quite a good job as Wotan, but Donald Macintyre, John Tomlinson and Lames Morris all have the edge on him.
Selig and Konig are quite reasonable Giants, but watch out in other productions for Matti Salminen.
Wendy Bryn Harmer is the best Freia of all in my opinion, both in voice and presentation. I could eat her golden apples any day.
Diegel and Croft are not outstanding as Froh and Donner, but are up to the job.
Richard Croft has an absolutely pleasing voice, he is to my ears a lyric tenor, as Logi I would have preferred a more sly voice which other productions have used.
Gerhard Siegal is not bad as Mime but most other productions have an artiste that can outwhine him. Think Heinz Zednik.
Lastly Patricia Bardons mezzo Erda is very good on the ear.
To sum up it is good enough for me to add it to my list of future additions to my library, but if you are new to the work there are better. The Met 1990 or Bayreuth 1991.
Musically a mostly excellent performance, but the interesting production design doesn't always add to the experience and has proved controversial. It replaces the superb 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, under the Rhine, the Nibelung cavern, etc., and you get water bubbles, scudding clouds and stuff like that. When effective it's all very nice, but sometimes prior knowledge and imagination are required. The rainbow bridge is ineffective despite a vivid overhead spectrum. The production is more impressionist than literal, and looks both naturalistic and artificial, if that makes any sense. Fortunately there are plenty of close-ups of the singers and superb costumes, because the singers act well.
The cast is excellent. Bryn Terfel conveys the introspective side as well as the impatient, brutish nature of the young ambitious Wotan, he has a strong pleasing voice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Apart from Terfel, this is a weak cast. An often interesting set but not for repeated viewings.Published 22 months ago by MR LINKS
Another great in the 4 blu-ray set of Wagner. A most delightful blu-ray to watch. Great sound as the others in the set. I would recommend this one also.Published on 4 Sept. 2013 by julie
I have never attended any performance of THE RING. I was drawn to it by the cast, especially Bryn Terfel and I felt that it was about time that I took a look at Wagner's work. Read morePublished on 17 July 2013 by John R.