Notes and Editorial Reviews
Filmed at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu in 2004.
Region Code: All regions
Picture format: 16:9 Anamorphic
Sound format: DTS Surround, PCM Stereo
Menu languages: English
SUBTITLES: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian.
R E V I E W S
"May the gods be praised: a DVD Rheingold that works...we finally have a decent modern staging on DVD, recorded in vivid surround-sound..."
"Das Rheingold can be a diverting presentation of the Ring’s back story, casually enjoyed before three more strenuous evenings—or it can get right to the heart of the matter. Harry Kupfer’s production is definitely of
the latter variety. Kupfer is an experienced Wagnerian, having created a Ring at Bayreuth in the 1980s. The more recent production on this two-DVD set, filmed in 2004 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, was originally introduced at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. It begins, even before the low E flat sounds in the orchestra, with Wotan walking on stage to break off a branch from the ancient ash tree for his treaty-inscribed spear—Nature violated for the sake of society’s rules. What makes this Rheingold so compelling, though, is the representation of Alberich and Wotan as two more-or-less equal, ambiguous forces... As excellent as Struckmann and von Kannen are, the real spark plug for this Das Rheingold is Graham Clark as Loge. Clark...plays the trickster demigod to perfection... Bertrand de Billy keeps things moving along from the pit... Visually, the production is stunning, with evocative sets, imaginative costumes, and some striking lighting effects, as when the gold first gives off its light in the opening scene. The video transfer is excellent, with luminous colors. Audio-wise, in addition to PCM stereo, there’s a 5.1 DTS multichannel option but no Dolby Digital program. The surround sound is superb, with the voices seemingly embedded in the orchestral fabric, an experience approximating the unique acoustic of Bayreuth’s Festspielhaus. Voices are accurately positioned, in terms of where the singers are located on stage. There’s occasionally direct sound from behind—when Donner summons up some thunder in the final scene, for instance. Subtitles are available not only in English, German, French, Italian, and Spanish but also in Catalan."
- Andrew Quint, FANFARE
"The third installment of Harry Kupfer’s Ring, as performed in Barcelona at the Gran Theatre del Liceu during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, impresses with both musical and production values, as did the two previous releases... Falk Struckmann is a majestic yet calmly resigned Wanderer, Deborah Polaski a lyrically vulnerable Brünnhilde, Günter von Kannen a short-of-entirely-contemptible Alberich, and Andrea Bönig, entangled in glowing ropes, is a timelessly knowing Erde. Thankfully, Graham Clark, who stole the show as Loge in Das Rheingold, returns as Mime, here looking like that skanky auto mechanic who overcharged you for your last brake job. As always, his facial expressions are priceless and the gracefully mobile Clark is all over the set. Eric Halfvarson, Walküre’s Hunding, is back as Fafner. After Siegfried has mortally wounded him, he’s transformed back to his earlier incarnation as a giant and, as a result, his dying words to the clueless hero are more poignant than usual."
- Andrew Quint, FANFARE
"With Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, the Liceu crowned the Ring cycle with complete success at all levels, beginning with Harry Kupfer’s clever production from Berlin. Bertrand de Billy, in his last performances as music director of the theatre, enjoyed a well-deserved personal triumph."
- OPERA, September 2004
"The final installment of director Harry Kupfer’s second Ring — the first was a Bayreuth production in the late 1980s — completes his vision of the dramas as an object lesson on how humankind destroys itself as it destroys the natural world. The giant ash tree from which Wotan appropriated a branch to fashion his treaty-inscribed spear has progressively dwindled and very little remains when the curtain comes up on the Norns. Instead, the stage is stark with hard, cold metallic surfaces and features suggesting an impersonal and heartless technology... The entire Ring is open to multiple interpretations but nothing is as ambiguous as the very end. Kupfer’s take is inspired and immensely satisfying—at least for those who see in Wagner’s work a glimmer of hope for humanity. For much of her final scene, Deborah Polaski sings with a firm tenderness, her finest moment in the three operas she’s been in. When the hall of the Gibichungs is swept away and the flames have consumed Valhalla, we find Alberich center-stage, having retrieved his ring and holding the prize at arms length to admire it in ecstatic triumph. Then, as the curtain descends, the ring crumbles in his hand, an event witnessed by two young children clutching onto a small, new sapling of an ash tree: the world has been reborn."
- Andrew Quint, FANFARE
Works on This Recording
Der Ring des Nibelungen by Richard Wagner
Deborah Polaski (Soprano),
Matti Salminen (Bass),
Cristina Obregón (Soprano),
Andrea Bönig (Voice),
Eric Halfvarson (Bass),
Linda Watson (Soprano),
John Treleaven (Tenor),
Richard Berkeley-Steele (Tenor),
Günter von Kannen (Bass),
Lioba Braun (Alto),
Falk Struckmann (Baritone),
Graham Clark (Tenor),
Kwangchul Youn (Bass),
Elisabete Matos (Mezzo Soprano),
Julia Juon (Mezzo Soprano),
Leandra Overmann (Mezzo Soprano),
Maria Rodriguez (Soprano)
Bertrand De Billy
Barcelona Teatro Liceu Orchestra
Written: 1853-1874; Germany
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