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Der Ring Des Nibelungen [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: German
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 7
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00068WRH0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 530,706 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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If you're looking for a traditional version of Der Ring Des Nibelungen, don't expect to find it in this austere production by the Stuttgart State Opera. Not only is it in modern dress, but the costumes and sets are the very antithesis of 'chic.' Low lighting, shabby sets, and a complete absence of heroic action, keeps a tight rein on romance. Indeed, the whole tone of this production would be more suitable for Wozzek than for the Ring.

Why do this, when Wagner's work in general and the Ring in particular, is built around the triumph of human romantic love over all other human failings. Nearly 15 hours of skulduggery, subterfuge, robbing, swindling, fudging, fiddling, folly, arrogance, murder and mayhem ends up with a sublime redemption. Love, says the music, conquers all! But the music is out of kilter with the visuals, in this version.

Modern takes on Wagner abound, but one can usually overcome the irritation of inappropriate sets, actions or costumes by allowing the music to woo. To an extent this is possible with the Stuttgart production, but some of the singing is really not that good. There are three different Wotans, among whom Jan-Hendrik Rootering is the least weak. Jon Fredric West's Siegfried is positively comic. This splendid boy hero is is supposed to erupt onto the stage, full of youthful zest but in this production, he wears baggy jeans and looks like a superannuated Mid-West Trucker on a diet of beer and hamburgers. It becomes increasingly clear as the act continues, that he is finding the role rather demanding.

But it's not all bad. Attila Jun makes a sombrely magnificent Hunding and Angela Denoke a totally convincing Sieglinde. Renate Behle is wonderfully stern as Brunnhilde and the closing moments of Die Walkure, despite the infuriatingly pointless staging, is genuinely moving.

This is an interesting Ring to own, but not, perhaps, as one's only version.
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The Stuttgart Ring is a bit of a challenge.
Its parts are too unequal and too different to allow for a globalised review. What unites the parts is a more or less common iconoclastic approach which works better with some than with others. Directors too full of themselves make a travesty of Wagner in a futile attempt to replace natural genius by artificial originality.
In short, as I feel it : Rheingold **** is a good version all round, Walküre *** and Siegfried *** have their good moments as well as their weak ones : Walküre's Act I is really good, Acts II and III require some effort; I did in fact like Siegfried from beginning to end but this may have been facilitated by the comic element which Wagner built into it.
However, Götterdämmerung * is a travesty destined to show off how brilliant Konwitschny is (according to himself) but which by constantly irritating the viewer spoils the (few) moments when one might be favorably impressed with what is thrusted upon one's unsuspecting eyes.
The orchestra is always good, the singers are never less than adequate.
Still, all in all an interesting experience for the real Wagner lover (or collector). I haven't regretted its purchase but then I'm a collecting lover.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misconceived Ring Cycle 3 April 2005
By Bruce M. Stigers - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
It's no secret that opera in Europe is suffering from directors who are described as avant-garde, when in fact they are very probably just incompetent. I bought this DVD set through Amazon and as a former opera singer and musician and an aficionado of opera, I am not sorry I did because it is very interesting academically though I consider it an artistic travesty. Wagner conceived these characters as mythological archetypes and suffused the music he composed for them with incredible grandeur. It is difficult to view Brünnhilde's horse Grane as magnificent when it is represented on stage by a hobby horse, a cutout horse head on a stick! Albert Bonnema, the Siegfried in Götterdämmerung was by the end of the opera unable to sustain his high notes on pitch. Having all the men in contemporary business suits but carrying swords and spears was ludicrous. But the last straw was ringing down the curtain when Brünnhilde ends the Immolation and during all the final music depicting the burning of Walhalla and the surging of the Rhine over its banks, the collapse of the old order, to project a written description onto the screen. The fact that the casting of the four pieces and the direction of each were utterly unconnected makes Wagner's intention completely ignored. Only a seasoned Wagnerite should see these productions because they will understand how to evaluate them against proper and correct renditions. A novice will be driven away. They should buy the Met production from 1990 as they make sense.
38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Warning!..Read the individual reviews before you purchase! 17 Nov. 2004
By J P Falcon - Published on Amazon.com
If you are looking to purchase a complete version of Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen, then I would advise that you consider either the Boulez/Patrice Chéreau "Industrial Age" version, or the more traditional James Levine MET production...I only reviewed Das Rhinegold in this Stuttgart series, and once I discovered that the remaining 3 operas were no better, I saved my money rather than endure anymore of the nonsence I initially witnessed...I urge you to at least read the reviews of each opera that are posted here at Amazon, before plunging into this purchase...I'll summarize how the four operas were rated...Das Rhinegold averaged a 2star rating, with one-1star, three-2star and one-3star review.... Die Walkure averaged a 2 1/2 star rating with two-1star, one-2 star, one-3star, and one-5star review....Siegfried averaged a 2 star rating with three-1star, one-2star, and one-4star review, and finally, Gotterdammerung had a 3 1/2 star average rating with two-2star, one-4star, and one 5star rating....so there you have it, and I should point out that most professional magazine reviews criticized the Stuttgart production as well, so it is not simply the Amazon reviewers who feel this way...obviously the decision comes down to your own tastes, and there were a few reviewers who liked these performances, so who knows?...if you do not mind the investment of the money, and you are an adventurous soul who wants his Wagner way way off the beaten path, with generally average artists, then you might find something to enjoy here...you will be in the minority if you do, so consider that before discovering that you bought something that you will be selling at auction one day for a bargain basement price....not at all recommended!
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting presentation ? 27 Dec. 2004
By Lucy and Barney - Published on Amazon.com
Having seen three different ring cycles this fourth one came as an interesting diversion. It's with a smaller orchestra than normal so it's not 'big' Wagner. And it's presented on a smaller stage so it's much more intimate. While this 'intimacy' is not very Wagnerian it does seem to get one closer to the script in execution if not in design, at least for me. Strangely the subtitle translation seems to diverge from the norm which also adds a little interest. One specific complaint is for Das Reingold where there's no transformations during the transformation music. Oh well. And this is not a consistant 'back-to-back' production so doesn't meet Wagner's vision for the full scope of the Ring. But this should not be ones first Ring cycle DVD set anyway - either the Bayreuth or Met cycles are much more satisfying. But damn, it's nice to have the choice !
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not for anyone looking for true gesamtkunstwerk... 12 May 2011
By jsnbnks - Published on Amazon.com
Let me begin by saying that the orchestra and singers are wonderful. Siegfried, in particular, is quite strong. But unfortunately this is nothing short of a farcical stage production. I borrowed this set from my local library, as it's the only complete DVD set they have of the cycle, to use for my high school music history course. Especially for students who have no exposure to The Ring, this is a TERRIBLE way to give it to them. The strange combination of men in business attire with swords, the extremely cheap-looking set design, and, worst of all, the most intense dramatic moments are made into nonevents by the dismal visuals. The wall of impenetrable magic fire surrounding Brunhilde on a rock is reduced to tea light candles around her head while she naps on a tabletop, and Wotan wheels out an old spotlight to flood her in light. Lame. And Grane, the noble steed, is a stick horse. He gets passed through a window, and seems to double as an oar for Siegfried's boat. The world-tree, from which Wotan's spear was carved, and which symbolizes so much that is important and life-giving, is literally drawn in crayon on a flattened cardboard box. I have no words. Don't buy this. Especially since it's $200, and the Met version is $90 and good.
14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars onother point of view 1 May 2006
By Amadeo Figari Internet - Published on Amazon.com
Dear sirs:

Looking at the titles that you are offering in DVD, I realize that the 4 operas of the Wagner's Ring from Stuttgart ( Zagrosek version) are considered with 2 ? stars, extremely bad evaluation according to me (and several friends).

I think that it is very important to point out that the musical and singing level of the production are wonderful, no matter that the super modern staging can be offensive to the opera lovers to day.

If this Ring is considered a bad production for reasons other than musicals, opera goers will be induced to avoid it.
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