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At last we venture into Wagner!
This is the first of his monumental “Ring” cycle (only 2.5 hours long… ) It tells how how the Ring of the Niebelungen is stolen from the Rhinemaidens.
This breathtaking production by La Fura dels Baus from Valencia’s Queen Sofia Palace of Arts uses the latest video techniques and organic structures to actually make Wagners dream of ’Gesumptkunstverk” (Total work of art) a reality.
World-class singers such as Christa Mayer, Mati Salminen and Juhav Uusitalo make up the cast. Zubin Mehta conducts.
This Jury was quite sharply divided into two camps for this one — the Wagnerians and the “non” Wagnerians. The devotees were almost all very enthusiastic about the production, seeing it as a “revelation” Those less familiar with this monumental work were less certain. But a significant number of them found it a much more moving and amazing experience than they had expected…
What can I say? Surprising! Unexpected! This can make you get to like Wagner — and understand him! Staging adapted to Wagner’s music.
Loved the costumes, special effects and orchestra so much, sometimes forgetting to look at the subtitles and so not understanding what had happened. The subtitles were a little obscure.
Super fantastic staging. But as a non-native English speaker, the subtitles, and indeed the story in general, were rather difficult for me to understand.
Unbelievable staging, especially the third scene. Now the origin of all the Lord of the Rings is clear. The ring around the Earth, the aureole, and the clever costumes and wigs were just awesome.
The costumes of the “Horde” and their acrobatic skills were among the most visual highlights of a most physical performance.
The voices were excellent but somewhat overshadowed by the effects, except for Loge.
It’s difficult to know whether the set enhanced and underscored the opera, illustrating the otherworldliness - or if it was all just a little bit too clever and contrived, and so detracted from it. A bit of both I imagine! Interesting, but I’m probably too old to really appreciate the optical effects!
The use of projected images was very effective and lent meaningful movement to the staging. Elements of technical / mechanical innovation served to delineate the hierarchy of characters very effectively. So that what could have been hopelessly too far out, was instead very inspiring.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a production of any opera where the totality of music, staging, lighting, technology, etc., etc. was so brilliantly expressive of meaning, psychological underpinning, etc., etc., etc.
Finally a production that does justice to all that Wagner meant.
I am truly overwhelmed!
This is the first non-static Wagner I’ve ever seen. I have given a 20/20 rating while still under the spell, but I don’t think I’ll change my mind. Fantastic staging. Very enjoyable.
Subtitles were very difficult to understand.
Orchestra and singers were excellent. Staging—definitely different and seemed to suit the story very well. Some scenes would not be out of place on the Las Vegas stage.
I liked most parts, except the fact that poor people were tortured. A great deal of thought had gone into the costumes which were Very successful. The musicians and singers were perfect, sometimes I closed my eyes to be able to appreciate them.
Fabulous staging! But slow and difficult to understand.
I didn’t much like the actual opera itself — very dark plot, very German, very Wagner and no chorus. I could imagine it would be DIRE without the special effects. However, as this was a first experience I did in fact enjoy it very much.
Singing / performance: B+
HDVD production: B
Overall ranking: B+
In addition to the Jury ratings we also conducted a survey into whether Jury members want to see this production again, would buy or recommend the disc and how they feel it compares with “being there”.
Here are the main findings for “Das Rhinegold”.
"Would you like to see this production again, on TV or in the cinema?"
82 % answered "Significantly better, rather better or comparable.
NB: This Jury included at least 8 frequent opera-goers.
38% of them found this experience better than a live performance.