Author Topic: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...  (Read 157786 times)

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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2007, 01:30:38 AM »


  Hmmm...this is odd, we all seem to collect various audio recordings of the Ring yet no one here has come back with an ideal candidate (One Ring to Rule Them All) for DVD/TV recordings.  Is Wagner's Ring so taxing on the singers that any live performance will always fall short of a studio audio recording (where the singers have ample time to rest between takes)??  From what I have read the MET Levine DVD recording seems to be the default choice for a DVD One Ring to rule them all recording.

  marvin   

Hector

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2007, 04:48:45 AM »

  Hmmm...this is odd, we all seem to collect various audio recordings of the Ring yet no one here has come back with an ideal candidate (One Ring to Rule Them All) for DVD/TV recordings.  Is Wagner's Ring so taxing on the singers that any live performance will always fall short of a studio audio recording (where the singers have ample time to rest between takes)??  From what I have read the MET Levine DVD recording seems to be the default choice for a DVD One Ring to rule them all recording.

  marvin   

But it is so boring.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2007, 04:55:27 AM »
But it is so boring.


  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2007, 05:13:48 AM »

  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin

Only alternative?  What about:

Bertrand de Billy, Harry Kupfer, Barcelona 2004 (Opus Arte)
Lothar Zagrosek, various directors, Stuttgart 2003 (EuroArts/TDK)
Hartmut Haenchen, Pierre Audi, Amsterdam 1998 (Opus Arte)
Daniel Barenboim, Harry Kupfer, Bayreuth 1992 (Warner Classics)

The Levine's "good enough" for me.  Someday, I intend to start renting the Boulez, which I haven't seen since it was telecast, from Netflix.  Several people I know say the Barenboim's their favorite.  I did rent the Stuttgart Siegfried, and wasn't tempted to explore that Ring further.

Really, the whole concept of "one Ring to rule them all" is ridiculous.  It's largely a matter of taste, and I'm sure any performance, audio or visual, will have weaknesses.
“Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” ― Mark Twain

uffeviking

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #44 on: October 04, 2007, 05:45:23 AM »
In total agreement!

Even to the extent of deleting the Stuttgart/Zagrosek production from the list of possibles! I watched it, some parts are good, especially the singing - Juanita DeVol is a wonderful Brünnhilde - but not even she can save the productions.

The Barenboim/Kupfer was No. 1 on my list until I saw the Haenchen/Audi. Now they are side by side. There will always be new productions coming up, changing the 'favourite' or 'best' list.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #45 on: October 05, 2007, 12:13:19 AM »
Only alternative?  What about:

Bertrand de Billy, Harry Kupfer, Barcelona 2004 (Opus Arte)
Lothar Zagrosek, various directors, Stuttgart 2003 (EuroArts/TDK)
Hartmut Haenchen, Pierre Audi, Amsterdam 1998 (Opus Arte)
Daniel Barenboim, Harry Kupfer, Bayreuth 1992 (Warner Classics)



  I was not aware there were so many recordings and two directed by Kupfer.  Kupfer is quite radical in his approach to Wagner's operas (I have his Flying Dutchman) I wonder what angles he has taken with the Ring.....definitely worth checking out. 

  marvin 

Hector

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #46 on: October 05, 2007, 03:35:43 AM »

  Well the only other alternative that I am aware of is the Boulez recording which I have not seen, is that the DVD "to rule them all"?

  marvin

Chereau's production will not be to all tastes and the singing is not up to scratch in some major areas but it is never boring (except in the usual boring parts, of course).

I enjoyed Sawallisch more than the Met production and have only heard the Barenboim.

Uffe is right as far as DVDs go, I suspect.

Offline max

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #47 on: October 05, 2007, 09:02:35 PM »
A few Karajanesque inflections and refinements would certainly have enhanced the Solti recording as good as it is on it's own terms. It would, imo, have made the sound texture clearer, cleaner, more chromatic and consequently more elevated and even more beautiful. There are many such possibilities for enhancement in Solti's Ring.

The performances of all great musical accomplishments engender a NET EFFECT regardless of how one strives to represent or recreate the ideal of the work. It remains a variable of the imagination always subsidiary like to one of Plato's Forms. That's one reason why videos and stage productions get in the way - even though there's some I really enjoy - and why Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to the Master's works in Bayreuth.



Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #48 on: October 06, 2007, 01:17:57 AM »


The performances of all great musical accomplishments engender a NET EFFECT regardless of how one strives to represent or recreate the ideal of the work. It remains a variable of the imagination always subsidiary like to one of Plato's Forms. That's one reason why videos and stage productions get in the way - even though there's some I really enjoy - and why Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to the Master's works in Bayreuth.


  While I agree with you that there is nothing quite like the human imagination I am not sure how Wagner would have felt if told that Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to his (the Master's) works in Bayreuth, seeing as how Wagner in his essays defined  Gesamtkunstwerk "total work of art" as an operatic performance encompassing music, theater, and the visual arts.  Somehow I get the feeling he would have been displeased!  I could be wrong though...

  marvin


Offline max

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #49 on: October 06, 2007, 09:10:31 PM »
  While I agree with you that there is nothing quite like the human imagination I am not sure how Wagner would have felt if told that Bruckner closed his eyes when listening to his (the Master's) works in Bayreuth, seeing as how Wagner in his essays defined  Gesamtkunstwerk "total work of art" as an operatic performance encompassing music, theater, and the visual arts.  Somehow I get the feeling he would have been displeased!  I could be wrong though...

  marvin


I think that Wagner being the egomaniac he was demanding absolute respect which he certainly received from Bruckner would have forgiven Bruckner's lack of understanding of any Wagnerian theory of Gesamtkunstwerk. Even this is not clear! Bruckner may have had some idea of Wagner's extra-musical ideas but have remained completely indifferent to them.

Any philosophy behind this idea would be far more amenable to the likes of Nietzsche than to Bruckner. I think Wagner was fairly well cognizant of the individuals he was dealing with - the exception being Nietzsche himself - and would not have expected this kind of understanding of his theories from a God-intoxicated composer like Bruckner. The sound world of Wagner is what inspired Bruckner not the multimedia impact Wagner wished to accomplish.

One thing I'm certain of! Wagner, had he lived long enough, would have been astounded at Bruckner's 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies, not to mention the Te Deum! The incredible aura of these works would justifiably have made even Wagner jealous.

Offline Shrunk

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #50 on: November 06, 2007, 01:13:31 PM »
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #51 on: November 06, 2007, 01:58:35 PM »
Good for Gramophone.  I hardly know 33 different recorded performances, but I like the Janowski.  M forever recommended it some time ago when various sellers offered it for next to nothing.  I gambled and won.  This recording is alive--no mean feat, it seems.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #52 on: November 06, 2007, 02:10:07 PM »
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.

  WOW the Krauss Ring as the top recommendation! I thought the Solti Ring would win hands down....were they factoring in price by any chance? because Solti can be quite dear.

  marvin

PerfectWagnerite

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #53 on: November 06, 2007, 04:34:16 PM »
As it turns out, the current issue of Gramophone contains a survey of all available Rings.  Their top recommendation is Krauss, with Marek Janowski the modern version of choice, Barenboim for DVD and Kempe also being recommended.  Solti, Keilberth and Furtwangler are also highly praised, though without making the final cut.  Take it FWIW.

BTW, I'd always considered music critic to be something of a dream job; the idea of getting paid to just sit at home and listen to music.  However, I realize that the author of this column, Mike Ashman, had to listen to 33 complete versions of the Ring!  I'm sure that felt like work at some point.

I am not a big fan of the Janowski for some reason. It strikes me as very nondescript. It is a bit better than the Haitink which is god-awful. Barenboim is okay, some good orchestral playing but at times over-the-top. For modern DDD versions I would recommend the Sawallisch, an overlooked choice that features Hildegard Behrens in fabulous voice. Robert Hale is a strong and youthful Wotan and Julia Varady a ravishing Sieglinde (okay so her scream when Siegmund draws the sword from the tree is more like a whimper). The sound is excellent with none of the stage noise you hear from the Barenboim set.

I am not sure what the merits of the Kempe set are (from 1960 Bayreuth I presume). The sound is an okay mono and the cast is mediocre at best.

Offline Solitary Wanderer

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #54 on: November 06, 2007, 04:38:03 PM »
Good for Gramophone.  I hardly know 33 different recorded performances, but I like the Janowski.  M forever recommended it some time ago when various sellers offered it for next to nothing.  I gambled and won.  This recording is alive--no mean feat, it seems.

Yes, I bought it at that time too. Its excellent, but then I have nothing to compare it to...yet  ;)
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Offline Shrunk

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #55 on: November 06, 2007, 06:09:03 PM »
  WOW the Krauss Ring as the top recommendation! I thought the Solti Ring would win hands down....were they factoring in price by any chance? because Solti can be quite dear.

  marvin

Price wasn't a factor.

I might also mention that he praises the Adelaide Symphony/Asher Fisch as "the best sounding cycle on the market to date, bar none."  I've never even heard of that one, but it seems to be the only one available on SACD.

Offline yashin

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #56 on: November 12, 2007, 02:23:28 AM »
I have just managed to add to my collection of Ring cycle on DVD with completed Stuttgart, Barcelona and Amsterdam Ring cycles -you can tell i love modern productions.  I am not finished with them yet but have dipped into them already.  I added the Liceu Walkure and Siegfried and the complete set of the Amsterdam ring.

I have resisted forking out for the Boulez or the Levine Ring DVDs as yet-although am sure at some point i will need to get the Boulez one as most people rave about it.

Here are my initial thoughts.

The Stuttgart Ring is not half bad. Am not sure if that is saying something about the other two!

I actually enjoyed the Das Rheingold from Stuttgart.  I think that this is the one i would return to.  The Giant killing on the other two was laughable to be honest.

I also prefer the Stuttgart Siegfried.  Not only for the Mime but also for Siegfried of Jon Frederic West-much prefer his singing to the other sets.  Again, the Stuttgart setting seems to be better.

However, the others score for Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung.  I really enjoyed the ending of the Amsterdam Ring where Altmeyer is covered in a red cloth which moves around to simulate flames-i thought this was very effective and similar to the La Scala Madame Butterfly some years ago where they used coloured cloth to show butterfly killing herself.  The Liceu Gotterdammerung ends powerfully as well.

So far i am enjoying all the new productions.  Each is not perfect in setting or cast but each illuminates this great work with each watching.

Any thoughts  on these DVDs?

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #57 on: November 12, 2007, 02:49:09 AM »
I have just managed to add to my collection of Ring cycle on DVD with completed Stuttgart, Barcelona and Amsterdam Ring cycles -you can tell i love modern productions.  I am not finished with them yet but have dipped into them already.  I added the Liceu Walkure and Siegfried and the complete set of the Amsterdam ring.

I have resisted forking out for the Boulez or the Levine Ring DVDs as yet-although am sure at some point i will need to get the Boulez one as most people rave about it.

Here are my initial thoughts.

The Stuttgart Ring is not half bad. Am not sure if that is saying something about the other two!

I actually enjoyed the Das Rheingold from Stuttgart.  I think that this is the one i would return to.  The Giant killing on the other two was laughable to be honest.

I also prefer the Stuttgart Siegfried.  Not only for the Mime but also for Siegfried of Jon Frederic West-much prefer his singing to the other sets.  Again, the Stuttgart setting seems to be better.

However, the others score for Die Walkure and Gotterdammerung.  I really enjoyed the ending of the Amsterdam Ring where Altmeyer is covered in a red cloth which moves around to simulate flames-i thought this was very effective and similar to the La Scala Madame Butterfly some years ago where they used coloured cloth to show butterfly killing herself.  The Liceu Gotterdammerung ends powerfully as well.

So far i am enjoying all the new productions.  Each is not perfect in setting or cast but each illuminates this great work with each watching.

Any thoughts  on these DVDs?

  Yashin, the only thing I can say is that if you like modern adaptations of the Ring, the Levine Ring (MET) is far from it.  This is a VERY TRADITIONAL adaptation of the Ring (in essence it is the Ring most true to Wagner's text in terms of setting, costumes etc.) I have heard many people criticize it as being too boring, etc.  I tend love it because I have a problem with modern adapations, to each his own I guess.

  marvin

Offline yashin

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #58 on: November 12, 2007, 03:49:00 AM »
I guess one consideration is financial as the Levine or the Boulez ring is cheaper than at least 2 of the others i believe.  I first got the Stuttgart set at a bargain price and then i found 2 of the Liceu sets for about 10 Euro each in a sale-yes, amazing!  So i wanted to complete that Ring cycle.  The i had to choose between buying one of the older ones or splashing out on the Amsterdam Ring cycle.  Since i lived in Holland but did not see the recent cycle...for various reasons ......i decided to go for the DVD.

I quite like modern productions-eurotrash or not.  What i tend not to like is the stand-and -deliver opera of the old Met productions.  I have some like the Luisa Miller and the Il Trovatore......where overbloated productions with stars with huge shoulder pads and huge hair look like they would rather be somewhere else.  At least in modern productions some of the acting (not all!) is better, the sound is better and the visuals are not grainy like on some of the Video transfers.

I will certainly look out for the Boulez and if at the right price the Levine would be nice.

The one i am waiting for is the Copenhagen Ring cycle which is promised for release but no date as yet.

How many rings can someone have on DVD? 

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Wagner One Ring to rule them all...
« Reply #59 on: November 12, 2007, 03:57:04 AM »

How many rings can someone have on DVD? 

  As much as is needed to keep one happy  ;).

  marvin