9.2 C
New York
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Advertisement

Wagner: Tannhauser [Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim] (TheaterByte Blu-ray Review)

Tannhauser has now received a half-dozen Blu-ray productions and this is its second release with veteran heldentenor Peter Seiffert in the title role. With Der Fliegender Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) and Lohengrin this work completes the trio of Wagner’s so-called “romantic” operas that deal with love (spiritual and carnal), sin and redemption. Venerable maestro Daniel Barenboim leads the Staatskapelle Berlin and Staatsopernchor in a 2014 performance from Berlin’s Staatsoper im Schiller Theater. With the exception of the opening Paris Venusberg scene, this performance presents the original Dresden version.

Tann3The minstrel Tannhauser has been living as a sex slave to Venus (Marina Prudenskaya) in her magic realm. He eventually breaks the goddess’s spell and on his return to Wartburg is reconnected with his friend Wolfram von Eschenbach (Peter Mattei) who is out hunting with Heinrich, Landgrave of Thuringia (Rene Pape), and nobles Walther von der Vogelweide (Peter Sonn), and Biterolf (Tobias Schabel). The Landrave’s niece Elizabeth (Ann Petersen) loves Tannhauser but to win her hand, he needs to win a song contest in which all songs must express the true essence of love. Things go terribly wrong when Tannhauser sings a hymn to the joys of the flesh that offends those in attendance. He is spared from death but the Landgrave banishes him until he makes a pilgrimage to Rome and receives the Pope’s forgiveness. Elizabeth waits patiently for Tannhauser’s return but as years go by, she gives up hope. Finally, Tannhauser returns bearing a staff that must sprout leaves for his soul to be saved. Elizabeth’s funeral cortege passes by, and as the minstrel lies dying, pilgrims appear and announce a miracle: the staff has bloomed and Tannhauser is redeemed.

This Tannhauser like a number of its Blu-ray predecessors receives a major makeover. Here, Bernd Skodzig’s costumes are quasi-20th century while Sasha Waltz’s stage is sparsely set and dimly lit. Waltz’s corps de ballet invades each act and, with the exception of the Venusberg scene, does not recall any Tannhauser that I have seen. Peter Seiffert delivers a heroic sing with sustained vocal power belying his 60 years. The other principal male roles of Wolfram and Heinrich are superbly rendered by baritone Mattei and bass Pape. The Russian mezzo Prudenskaya is a sexy-looking if dramatically a somewhat one-dimensional Venus. Danish soprano Petersen is more assertive than usual Elizabeth and, in so doing, becomes a real flesh and blood character. The real star of the show is conductor Barenboim who paces this lush score perfectly and, as is often the case, extracts orchestral details that are too often submerged by other batons.

The Video

Vincent Bataillon’s videographers were constantly challenged by David Finn’s lighting (or lack thereof) in each scene. Under such circumstances, the images and colors are often muted and details less than sharp. Camera coverage is excellent and well-balanced between close and distant shots.

The Audio

The Schiller Theater has good acoustics and these are well served by the surround version. Both width and depth of the soundstage are close to what one would get in a premium seat.

The Supplements

BelAir Classiques offers only a program booklet with cast and production credits, track listing, a synopsis and some performance photos.

The Final Assessment

wagner-tannauser-belair-barenboim-ftr-sldr

I am now accustomed to seeing my favorite Wagner opera reinvented by today’s stage directors, and, gratuitous choreography aside, the minimalism of this version is probably the least objectionable of the Blu-ray releases. With a cast as good as one is likely to get today and with leadership by one of the great Wagnerians of our time, it goes to the top of my Blu-ray Tannhauser list.

Wagner: Tannhauser [Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim] (TheaterByte Blu-ray Review)
3.3 / 5 TheaterByte Rating
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 User Rating (0 votes)
Not RatedRating Certificate
BelAir ClassiquesStudios & Distributors
Sasha WaltzDirector
Richard WagnerWriter
192 MinutesRun Time
$39.99MSRP
29 January 2016Release Date
1.78:1Aspect Ratio
AVC/1080iVideo
DTS-HD MA 5.1(48kHz/24-bit)Audio
The Creative Content
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Summary
A seriously revised version of Tannhauser that, in spite of copious interpolated and gratuitous dance sequences, a dark mostly bare stage, and 20th-century costumes,triumphs on the vocal and orchestral strengths of its cast and conductor.
What people say... Login to rate
Order by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar User Avatar
Verified
{{{ review.rating_title }}}
{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

This review has no replies yet.

Avatar
Show more
Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}

Advertisement

Related Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.
%d bloggers like this: