or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Wagner Operas Favorite Recordings
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Wagner Operas Favorite Recordings - Page 5

post #61 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottder
Yeah I don't think I'll be picking up full cycles, but the individuals. Thanks



Yes, in fact there is only the Boulez and another with looks like a modernazation avaialble on Netflix, thanks!

Scott
I would not sit down and view the Boulez as my first Ring experience. The staging is just too far out there IMO.

Here's how I would approach it (after listening to a "bleeding chunks" CD as a primer):

1. Listen to the Solti ring and read a synopsis/analysis (I've listed several in this thread) in order to get familiar with the music, plot, and motives;
2. Watch the Levine (traditional production that I did not find boring at all - neither has anyone else I've exposed it to);
3. Then - and only then - would I venture into the waters of the Boulez video.

I've not seen any other video productions so I can't comment. The point is this: I believe we owe it to the Wagner performance history to watch a relatively traditional production first. Boulez ain't it. His conducting is great (and so is the music) but I loathed the production the first time I saw it. Only after I was much more familiar with the Ring could I return to it with a sense of enjoyment.

YMMV of course. BTW, Wagner fans have never been known for placid agreement on things...

Side note: Everybody hates Behrens, but at least she sort of looks like what Wagner must have had in mind for Brunhilde. And, Morris and Jerusalem both do respectable jobs.
post #62 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
I would not sit down and view the Boulez as my first Ring experience. The staging is just too far out there IMO.

Here's how I would approach it (after listening to a "bleeding chunks" CD as a primer):

1. Listen to the Solti ring and read a synopsis/analysis (I've listed several in this thread) in order to get familiar with the music, plot, and motives;
"Bleeding chunks" CD? I may try and find a used copy of Rheingold by Solti. BTW, has anyone hear the Furtwangler set on EMI, seems cheap, if mono, for what it offers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
2. Watch the Levine (traditional production that I did not find boring at all - neither has anyone else I've exposed it to);
Will have to see if I can find an inexpensive used copy here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
3. Then - and only then - would I venture into the waters of the Boulez video.
So the Boulez is really "Out there" huh? Ok...thanks for the heads up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
I've not seen any other video productions so I can't comment. The point is this: I believe we owe it to the Wagner performance history to watch a relatively traditional production first. Boulez ain't it. His conducting is great (and so is the music) but I loathed the production the first time I saw it. Only after I was much more familiar with the Ring could I return to it with a sense of enjoyment.

YMMV of course. BTW, Wagner fans have never been known for placid agreement on things...

Side note: Everybody hates Behrens, but at least she sort of looks like what Wagner must have had in mind for Brunhilde. And, Morris and Jerusalem both do respectable jobs.
Thanks for helping out a Wagner nube. Wagner, for me anyway, is a hard nut to crack, but seems worth the effort.

Scott
post #63 of 150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
I would not sit down and view the Boulez as my first Ring experience. The staging is just too far out there IMO.
Really? In the traditional Wagnerian idiom, it is pretty far out there. However, the Chereau production looks hopelessly stodgy compared to the later Bayreuth production with Barenboim at the stick. Also, given things like the Schlingensief Parsifal show and some of Levine's stuff, it is incredibly blase. Heck, compared to Wieland's New Bayreuth shows, it is pretty bland. However, I can understand why one wouldn't approve.

Quote:
Here's how I would approach it (after listening to a "bleeding chunks" CD as a primer):

1. Listen to the Solti ring and read a synopsis/analysis (I've listed several in this thread) in order to get familiar with the music, plot, and motives;
2. Watch the Levine (traditional production that I did not find boring at all - neither has anyone else I've exposed it to);
3. Then - and only then - would I venture into the waters of the Boulez video.

I've not seen any other video productions so I can't comment. The point is this: I believe we owe it to the Wagner performance history to watch a relatively traditional production first. Boulez ain't it. His conducting is great (and so is the music) but I loathed the production the first time I saw it. Only after I was much more familiar with the Ring could I return to it with a sense of enjoyment.
This is all very good advice. Starting with Solti is probably the best thing to do. However, if you become a hard-core Wagnerian, you'll probably end up with many, many Ring cycles.

Quote:
YMMV of course. BTW, Wagner fans have never been known for placid agreement on things...

Side note: Everybody hates Behrens, but at least she sort of looks like what Wagner must have had in mind for Brunhilde. And, Morris and Jerusalem both do respectable jobs.
Hildegard and Dame Gwyneth are probably on the very short list of singers who actually look the part (Altmeyer, too).
post #64 of 150
The Boulez ring isn't at all eccentric compared with most other current stagings. It's only eccentric compared to the moth eaten Met production. Everything Chrerau introduced makes sense in the context of the story. It's not arbitrary like a lot of the other cycles I've seen and heard about. The big problem with Levine's video cycle is that I can't picture anyone making it past the first opera.

See ya
Steve
post #65 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
The big problem with Levine's video cycle is that I can't picture anyone making it past the first opera.
Why do you say that?
post #66 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
Really? In the traditional Wagnerian idiom, it is pretty far out there. However, the Chereau production looks hopelessly stodgy compared to the later Bayreuth production with Barenboim at the stick. Also, given things like the Schlingensief Parsifal show and some of Levine's stuff, it is incredibly blase. Heck, compared to Wieland's New Bayreuth shows, it is pretty bland. However, I can understand why one wouldn't approve.
I actually like the Boulez production (although I didn't at first), I just think it's too nontraditional for a first exposure to Der Ring. Scott: The staging recasts the Ring as an industrial revolution metaphor (someting I actually wrote a college paper on after seeing this production back in the early 80s!), my point is that The Ring deserves a traditional production for one's first viewing.

psmith, is there a different traditional production on DVD or video besides Levine?
post #67 of 150

Q

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
The big problem with Levine's video cycle is that I can't picture anyone making it past the first opera.
Aah, a good old fashioned Ring debate!

My three kids loved the Levine Rhinegold at ages 11, 7, and 2. What greater test of holding attention span do you need?

The Met production is considered "traditional" because it follows the performance tradition established by Wagner himself at Bayreuth. Doesn't it?

Remember, we are talking about someone who has not seen a complete Ring production. Don't you think the Industrial Revolution/Marxist metaphor is a little heavy handed for the first go?

Ah, what the hell - they're all good! Is there a different "traditional" production on video to compare it with?
post #68 of 150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
The Boulez ring isn't at all eccentric compared with most other current stagings. It's only eccentric compared to the moth eaten Met production. Everything Chrerau introduced makes sense in the context of the story. It's not arbitrary like a lot of the other cycles I've seen and heard about. The big problem with Levine's video cycle is that I can't picture anyone making it past the first opera.

See ya
Steve
That's a very fair assessment. In 1976, I can understand why people were scandalized by the production. However, it is increasingly tame; in fact, I would say that if things keep going the way they are, the Chereau staging will be hopelessly conservative.


As to Levine, his Rheingold is notoriously slow.
post #69 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
As to Levine, his Rheingold is notoriously slow.
Perhaps, but compared to Goodall it's on crystal meth...
post #70 of 150
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Aah, a good old fashioned Ring debate!

My three kids loved the Levine Rhinegold at ages 11, 7, and 2. What greater test of holding attention span do you need?

The Met production is considered "traditional" because it follows the performance tradition established by Wagner himself at Bayreuth. Doesn't it?

Remember, we are talking about someone who has not seen a complete Ring production. Don't you think the Industrial Revolution/Marxist metaphor is a little heavy handed for the first go?

Ah, what the hell - they're all good! Is there a different "traditional" production on video to compare it with?


I was waiting for someone to bring up the subtext to the Chereau production. As an exercise in theater, it is best saved until one has done a lot of listening to, reading of, and general thinking on Wagner and Wagnerian production. Given Wagner's early politics and the general prinicples of Romanticism and nationalism, Chereau perhaps has a point. A traditional production, though, is indeed closer to Wagner's intent.


I am not sure what all is out there right now. There is a Barcelona production, but I don't know how traditional it is.
post #71 of 150
Deleted.
post #72 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottder
Why do you say that?
Because Rhinegold is so deadly dull... and it's my favorite Wagner opera. The orchestra sounds nice and the singing is fine... It's just completely devoid of drama and energy. Part of that is the leaden conducting, and the other part is the leaden acting.

See ya
Steve
post #73 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
The Met production is considered "traditional" because it follows the performance tradition established by Wagner himself at Bayreuth. Doesn't it?
Yes and no.

Wagner himself gave very specific instructions on how the operas should be conducted, staged and performed, but he also said that he wanted the work to grow and change as time passed. Cosima Wagner was the one that became hide-bound to tradition, enforcing all sorts of rules about what gestures were acceptible, and how the staging should be accomplished.

When it comes right down to it, it's most likely impossible to stage the Ring the way Wagner himself described it. A few obvious examples are the vertical lift to raise the Walhalla set into the rafters as the Nibelung set appears from underneath in the descent to Nibelheim in Rhinegold, the chariot of rams that brings Fricka into the scene in Act 2 of Walkure, the references to Grane the horse in the immolation, etc... Some compromises are inevitable.

That said, I don't think a Ring set in Wagner's own time, or even in modern dress is out of the question, even for a first timer. I think the adaptation just has to make sense from within the arc of the story and the personalities of the characters. Certainly, the characterization of Gunther as an aristocrat and Hagen as a labor leader isn't out of line from the way Wagner presented them.

The only places you'll see a "traditional helmets with wings" production is in the USA. The rest of the world have abandoned that approach, usually for the worse. I've seen two Rings... in Seattle and in San Francisco. They were both traditional stagings, and to be honest, papier mache rocks and castles aren't as wonderful in practice as they might seem in concept. I'd much rather see some sort of artistic stylization.

See ya
Steve
post #74 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Sarvis
Perhaps, but compared to Goodall it's on crystal meth...
That isn't true. I'm not just talking about timings... I'm talking about pacing. Goodall has more of a sense of the overall structure. He misses the boat on the Rhine music, but everything else is paced well. Levine lets the tension droop terribly between the "highlights". It's this kind of presentation that leads people to think that the Ring would be better if it was half the length. But that isn't true. It's all important, and a great conductor like Goodall is able to make that clear.

See ya
Steve
post #75 of 150
That Damingo Tristan und Isolde is available for preorder at Arkivmusic




Not cheap, but it does include the DVD as well.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Music
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Music › Wagner Operas Favorite Recordings