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Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae / Uhl, Delavan, Klink, Litton [Blu-ray]

Strauss / Uhl / Delavan / Klink / Blondelle
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Arthaus Musik   Catalog #: 108032  
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Thomas BlondelleManuela UhlMatthias KlinkMark Delavan,   ... 
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper ChorusBerlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available on standard DVD

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Richard Strauss

Danae – Manuela Uhl
Jupiter – Mark Delavan
Midas – Matthias Klink
Merkur – Thomas Blondelle
Pollux – Burkhard Ulrich
Xanthe – Hulkar Sabirova
4 Könige – Paul Kaufmann / Clemens Bieber / Nathan De’Shon Myers / Hyung-Wook Lee
Semele – Hila Fahima
Europa – Martina Welschenbach
Alkmene – Julia Benzinger
Leda – Katarina Bradi?

Berlin Deutsche Opera Chorus and
Read more Orchestra
(chorus master: William Spaulding)
Andrew Litton, conductor

Kirsten Harms, stage director
Bernd Damovsky, stage designer
Dorothea Katzer, costume designer
Manfred Voss, lighting designer

Recorded live from the Deutsche Oper Berlin, 2011

- Behind the Scenes – Including interviews with Kirsten Harms and Andreas KW Meyer as well as backstage and rehearsal footage.

Picture format: 1080i Full-HD
Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean
Running time: 155 mins (opera) + 22 mins (bonus)
No of Discs: 1 (BD 50)

R E V I E W:

There is a 22 minute bonus on this disc, both parts of which really should be watched first. It will at least reduce the sense of confusion caused by the production and allow one to enjoy a rather lovely work. The engineering of audio and video is excellent. The menu system - unfortunately backed by music as usual - silence please Arthaus, this is not a pop video! - is sensible if a little long-winded. By the time one has gone to and from the main menu to set sound, then subtitles and finally chosen the act one wishes to watch, it feels a bit like an obstacle course.
The story is, loosely speaking, as follows. King Pollux is bankrupt and being stripped of his possessions by his creditors. He really needs his daughter Danae to be married off to a rich man. A poor man, Midas, who has been granted the power to turn everything he touches to gold - for reasons too obscure to relate here -) and thus is temporarily feted by all, acts as proxy to his master Jupiter with an offer to marry her. Jupiter is simply out to add the beautiful Danae to his list of conquests. Midas is attracted to Danae and embraces her, thus turning her to gold. Jupiter insists he wants her and when he wakes her from the spell she has to choose either the god or the temporarily rich Midas. She chooses Midas. Jupiter angrily removes all Midas's powers, reduces him to poverty and wrecks Pollux's palace but is eventually forced to realise that godly powers are nothing compared to the human love of Danae and Midas. The whole is an allegory of the gradual detachment of man from his gods, as well as the cultural bankruptcy and detachment of Germany from its glorious cultural past - as experienced by Strauss during the Third Reich. This can explain the production which shows Pollux seeing all his precious possessions carried off with the sole exception of his piano. This is suspended upside-down above the stage during act one as a reminder, I assume, of what can happen to the financially incautious - very apposite for this era. It stays there until the end of the opera. This also doubles as the figurative source from which Strauss poured out his beautiful music all over this bizarre concoction. A copy of the paper score is used as a prop throughout, getting spread over the stage and variously bundled and mistreated. Yes, this is a director's konzept, explained slightly in the aforementioned bonus items.
Fortunately there is Strauss' gorgeous, if somewhat directionless music which everyone sings and plays beautifully. Andrew Litton is a good Straussian and conducts a lovely account of the score, so the odd activities on the stage can, with difficulty, be overlooked. If there were lots of other performances to enjoy one might be able to ignore this one. But this is the least performed of Strauss' output, just 16 productions since 1944, and one has to take the opportunity to watch, and try to enjoy, a very well recorded effort.
-- Dave Billinge, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Die Liebe der Danae, Op. 83 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Thomas Blondelle (Tenor), Manuela Uhl (Soprano), Matthias Klink (Tenor),
Mark Delavan (Baritone), Burkhard Ulrich (Tenor)
Conductor:  Andrew Litton
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1938-1940; Germany 

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