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Schreker: Die Gezeichneten [DVD] [2006]

3.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Berlin German Symphony Orchestra, Kent Nagano, Robert Hale, Michael Volle, Wolfgang Schone
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Classical, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, PAL, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 3 July 2006
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FVQUN0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 159,374 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Nikolaus Lehnhoff's production of Franz Schreker's three-act opera, recorded live at the opening of the Salzburg Festival in 2005. Kent Nagano leads the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, with soloists including Anne Schwanewilms, Robert Brubaker, Robert Hale and Michael Volle.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Franz Schreker's "Die Gezeichneten" was composed between 1911 and 1915 and enjoyed wide public success following its premiere in 1918. The music of the opera is melodic, romantic, and orchestrated on a grand scale with chromatic harmonies. The result is not dissimilar to the styles of Schreker's Austrian near-contemporaries, Zemlinsky and Korngold.

Like Zemlinsky and Korngold, Schreker had Jewish origins and his career was largely derailed by the rise of antisemitism under the Nazis. His music subsequently sunk into a long period of obscurity, not helped by his early death aged 55 in 1934. However, Schreker's reputation has been gradually improving over the last couple of decades and it is excellent that Euroarts have released this performance of "Die Gezeichneten", recorded at the Salzburg Festival in 2005.

The first thing to say is that the opera receives a sumptuous and evocative performance by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Kent Nagano. Incidentally, the same orchestra performed in the Decca recording under Zagrosek in the 1990s, and that recording, like this one, was sponsored by ZDF. (Perhaps there is someone in the German television company who is a Schreker fan.) If anything, Nagano's performance is even more impressive than the Zagrosek one. I also thought the performances of the American tenor Robert Brubaker and the German soprano Anne Schwanewilms were excellent. Their performance of the duet between Alviano and Carlotta at the end of Act 1 is exquisitely beautiful.

What the booklet note neglects to mention is that this staging involves a cut version of the opera. Some 4 minutes is missing from Act 1 and over 20 minutes from the first half of Act 3.
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This is a composer who slipped under my radar. The music like Strauss is a worthy successor of Wagner. I found this production very well sung and conducted- well we do have Kent Nagano so could it be otherwise. However I found the set wearisome and this spoiled for me an otherwise excellent performance.
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Format: DVD
Even for music lovers, the eye tires more quickly than the ear, and despite the rapturous music and supremely accomplished, powerhouse singing on display, I was already wearied by this Salzburg production of The Branded Ones before the end of Act One.

Why must euro-producers meddle so. The music and the libretto talk of enchanting grottos, golden sunsets and other idealised sumptuous visuals. But what do we see? A vast fallen Grecian statue and what looks like the exterior of the Colisseum. Everyone is dressed in mourning - sci-fi black vinyl garments like something out of Dune - and all the men have ludicrous long blonde Teutonic hair. I do believe the setting is meant to be 16th Century Genoa.

It doesn't make much sense to buy a DVD and then play it with your eyes shut, so it must be the better option to get a CD of Die Gezeichneten. The singing and orchestral accompaniment are delicious, but the production is just too drab to watch more than once.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x930a0438) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x931cee7c) out of 5 stars Close your eyes and listen..... 18 Sept. 2006
By Ian C. Punter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As the strains of Schreker's sumptuous prelude crept in, I was already in 5-star mood. This is a beautiful work from 1918, of which I've already had the Decca CD set for some ten years, (same orchestra as the DVD, under conductor Lothar Zagrosek), along with some other Schreker operas, and as is happening more and more at present one is so grateful for the 'goodies' that are appearing on DVD.

By the end of the 12 minute prelude I was down to 4 stars. Alviano, the main protagonist of this fascinating opera, is alone on stage for the 12 minutes, making himself up and wearing woman's clothes, (close-up, wide shot, close-up, wide shot....), but at least the music didn't drag! (Nagano, as on his recent 'Le Coq d'Or' DVD, on terrific form). Comparing timings for several identical sections on the CD and DVD, Nagano is quite 'spacious', but comparing the total timing, I found that the Decca CD set has 25 minutes more music, - (The Act I Prelude for example: Nagano 12 minutes, Zagrosek 10), so the actual cuts may total 30 minutes or more, given the latter's generally faster speeds. Also the complete 'pantomime' section in Act III is cut....come on Salzburg, you can afford it!

Quite a bit of 'sub-plot' is missing, and in the main part of Act II when Carlotta is supposedly painting the 'hideous humpback' Alviano, which is what causes her to fall in love with him, there is nary an easel in sight, - instead she is slowly removing all the feminine items of apparel from him until he is left wearing a body stocking, - (any of her sung references to how Alviano should be posing also subject to cuts).

There's no space here to recount the plot, but the same set serves all three acts, quite adequately for the first two, but for Act III which takes place on Alviano's island, in a grotto after an orgy, well, 'here we are again!' The orgy is over, but I think I'll look for my orgies elsewhere, thanks. (Whoever is the main Salzburg body-stocking retailer has probably taken a very comfortable early retirement!)

I'm a great admirer of Lehnhoff's Janacek DVDs from Glyndebourne, but although this isn't one of those 'Konzept' productions that blindly ignores the music, it's symptomatic that when Alviano, looking more and more like Elton John in his baggy, shiny white, modern suit, kills his rival, it's with a revolver. And for an opera in part about the 'artist's place in society', the choral contributions from the Genoese crowd have been reduced to a minimum.

Wonderful music, beautifully played, crisp 16:9 pictures, good singing from most if not all the cast, - by all means try it, - but listen to the Decca CD set (from their 'Entartete Musik' series), and let your imagination do the rest.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92f820e4) out of 5 stars An interesting, but little heard music 3 May 2008
By DDD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With the advent of Decca's CD series "degenerate" art the name of Schreker has (along with Zelimsky) gathered some momentum in CD recordings but less so as far as DVD. I gather that Der Ferne Klang is his masterpiece, but the only DVD is Die Gezeichneten. I would have preferred the former, but in a "leap of faith" bought the latter. At this point I have only listened to it once, hardly putting me in a position to make critical judgements but that's never stopped me before but I can claim to have listened to opera for over sixty years so that I am far from being a tyro.

First off I read the comments posted regarding the cutting of around twenty minutes of the score. I gather that most of cuts are instrumental and given Schreker's great mastery of orchestration it is a pity that these cuts were made. Additionally I would have preferred a more conventional representation. I usually have enjoyed Lenhoff's productions of Lohengrin and Parsifal, but the libretto of the opera under consideration is not a model of clarity given the changes made, e.g., Salvago's cross dressing. On the basis of one viewing I see no sense other than it gives the artist something to do.

The vocal line is not one that Schreker is inspired to invest much in the way of melody although repeated viewings may change my feeling in this area. Even Richard Strauss at his most arid moments brought more to his operas than Schreker, while they both share a mastery of opulence and orchestral beauty. Of course the story is not one that would appeal to Strauss, but I think his (Schreker's) inability to come up with some vocally memorable "tunes" will keep this opera from ever entering the repertoire of most companies; hence, a festival such as Salzburg will probably remain its sole venue. Perhaps Munich or Berlin would also consider it.

I confess that one of the main reasons I was intersted in acquiring the set for was for Schwanewilms; her recording of the View Letze Lieder is quite beautiful. Alas Schreker has not given her any moments of transcendent beauty, but then that is a fault he shares with the remainder of the artists, all of whom are superior singing actors.

Even though DVD's have been with us a short time, it is now quite easy to end up of multiples of many works, and I am guilty already of this. I am interested in hearing other works from composers (for whatever reason) who have been given short shrift from opera houses and recording companies and the DVD is an ideal medium of enlarging the experience of seeing works that one has only read about--many times as only a footnote. For this reason I would probably invest in a DVD of Der Ferne Klang.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x92f820a8) out of 5 stars don't think about the cuts, EVERYTHING IS GORGEOUS, one of the overall best modern opera prods DVDs 17 Dec. 2013
By Leo Marillier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've first learned and listened to die Gezeichneten with Zagrosek's Decca recording, which has no cuts. I've then discovered this production. Guys, stop being peaky about cuts or no cuts - one still understands the storyline, and even though you'd miss some beautiful moments in this DVD, there's enough gorgeous beauty. Brubaker's acting is TERRIFIC, Schwanewilms is gorgeous, and their second act scene is incredible. But the winnner is the orchestra. Nagano OWNS this kind of complex score. From the very first bars of the prelude, and with the help of very good recording qualities - even on my primitive computer - one can seize all that's going on - with more lushness and depth than in any recordings of the piece. So just let you be taken away by this immense opera - the staging is really convincing, the singing top-notch, and the end... well, it's more moving than anything else... This is a great production.
HASH(0x92f8239c) out of 5 stars An Excellent Opera Staged in an Average Manner 29 Oct. 2012
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I largely support the comments of the first reviewer who arrived here. I found this production to be pretty much a loss visually. The set with the huge reclining statue had possibilities, perhaps, but not much came of it -- in medium shots it looked like an empty desert. Although I liked Carlotta's costumes very much, all the noblemen in the beginning looked like extras from David Lynch's film version of Dune, dressed in high leather. The central character of Alviano is no longer deformed in this version; at least, not physically. A glam cross-dresser here, he is portrayed in a manner not very compelling to me. All in all, there wasn't that much for the eye. That leaves us, of course with Schreker's music, which is lush and enveloping, but since this DVD isn't all that wonderful visually, except perhaps for Carlotta, I'd suggest you just get a cd of the opera -- the rendition on Decca conducted by Zagrosek is recommended -- and wrap yourself in sound.
HASH(0x92f823fc) out of 5 stars one of the best I have ever seen. 26 Dec. 2013
By leo l. castillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Extraordinary recording. Visuals, costumes, sets cannot be surpassed. Singing, unquestionably, the best. Schreker is a forgotten composer. Sometimes surpasses Richard Strauss, a contemporary.
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