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Richard Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae [Deutsche Oper] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: PCM 2.0, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean
  • Region: A
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Blu-ray Release Date: November 15, 2011
  • List Price: $39.99

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005OV1MRK[/amazon-product]

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Die Liebe der Danae (Deutsche Oper Berlin) -

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Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Performance

[Rating:3/5]


Die Liebe der Danae (The Love of Danae) is a Straussian oddity, as it was completed in 1940 but never performed in a staged production during the composer’s lifetime. The opera finally came to life at a Salzburg performance in 1952 but has never achieved a secure place in the standard repertory. The plot hearkens back to Strauss’s fascination with mythologic subjects, previously addressed in his operas Daphne, Die Frau ohne Schatten, and Elektra. Danae is the daughter of bankrupt King Pollux who seeks a wealthy suitor to solve his debt problems. He arranges for the legendary King Midas to assume that role. However, Midas comes disguised as a commoner. The two fall in love but their romance is derailed by the arrival of Jupiter who is identified as the real Midas. Jupiter proceeds to claim Danae as his bride until he fears discovery by his real wife Juno. Danae is transformed into a golden statue only to be saved by her call for Midas’s help.  Jupiter curses the couple with poverty. Pollux’s debts are relieved by Jupiter who makes a final vain effort to win back Danae before accepting defeat.

This 2011 Deutsche Oper Berlin performance, directed by Kristen Harms, is transported to the 20th century with minimalist sets and generally attractive costumes. The score has wave after wave of gorgeous music, vividly conducted by Andrew Litton. The cast is uneven with less than stellar performances by Mark Delavan (Jupiter) and Manuela Uhl (Danae) and an even more stressful outing for tenor Matthias Klink (Midas) who appears out of his vocal element. Visually, there is a bluish cast to much of the proceedings with striking contrasts to the golden elements. Sound recording is adequate.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

There is a generous amount of blue lighting used here with occasional flashes of light.  This darkish hue makes much of the opera monochromatic.  The visual highlight is Danae’s golden gown, but outside of that, there is not much excitement in the costumes. The picture has a bit of softness to the edges. Close ups are judicious with generous use of stage panoramas.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 soundtrack yields a proscenium perspective to the presentation. The voices sounded a bit distant although, having been in this house, I can vouch for sonic picture captured here. I was a bit surprised by the lack of vocal power by baritone Delavan, a veteran Wagnerian and soprano Uhl, who is no stranger to this role but was working under apparent duress for most of the evening. Tenor Klink, a Mozart specialist is overparted for the nearly Wagnerian demands for his role. Maestro Litton and his Deutsche Oper forces held up their end of the bargain with some great orchestral playing.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:1.5/5]

There are some behind the scenes interviews with directors Harms and Andreas Meyer which do  little to enlighten those new to this work. There is also a filmed synopsis.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Richard Strauss was nearing the end of this long composing career when he put the supposed final touches to Die Liebe der Danae. Since he did not have the chance to see this opera fully staged, there is no telling what revisions he would have made, something this work desperately needs. Joseph Gregor, a replacement for Strauss’s long-time librettist Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, lacked his predecessor’s often inspired lyrics which often kept unwieldy scores from going over the edge. Despite Danae’s flaws, it does have a number of redeeming moments and true believers in the Strauss oeuvre will find some pleasure here. Unfortunately, the cause for this operatic rarity is not helped by this, the only BD version. I have less trouble accepting modernization of the costumes than I do with the decision to use sets which do not convey much sense of place. In the end, however, you go to the opera to get great singing and this is where this production really fails to launch. So this is one for Strauss completists. For Strauss newbies, seek out Salome or Der Rosenkavalier of which there are some great video options.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B005OV1MRK[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B005OV1MRK[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Die Liebe der Danae (Deutsche Oper Berlin) -

Purchase Richard Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Performance
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:1.5/5]

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