After watching Wagner’s “Ring” in early September, 2012 on PBS for 4 consecutive nights, I felt like I had self-immolated at the end! What an immensely gut-wrenching final scene! It took me a week to decompress.
It wasn’t that I was just being introduced to Wagner for the first time; I had studied his work in Music Composition class at university (both the musical scores; the stories built on old legends, going back to the times of the Gods, creating half-men/ half-gods; discussing main themes like ‘immortality’; all within the context of old German legends). Besides this, I come from a strand of German lineage (I was born into a family with the name of one of the characters in this group of operas), so studying and performing music from my original ‘homeland’ drew me in like a duck to water.
This “Ring” set is comprised of 4 operas: ‘Das Reingold’, ‘Die Walkure’, ‘Siegfried’, and ‘Gotterdammerung’.
The 4 operas recorded from this set were first performed and filmed live at The Metropolitan Opera Company in New York in 2011. They were then broadcast on PBS in early September, 2012. This box set not only contains BluRays of performances of the 4 operas; it also contains a 5th one – dealing with LePage’s ‘mobile’/ IT-enhanced stage and how it worked, to perfectly integrate into scenery that was so vivid that it looked almost out of this world. I don’t think that I can ever see another opera again that isn’t performed with LePage’s ‘plank’ (lever-like) set, which is built and operated by LePage’s Canadian company, creating a wonderful collaboration between companies for the sake of art.
The operas had 2 different conductors: James Levine and then Fabio Luisi, who had to take over because of Levine’s health problems.
At the last moment, Texan Jay Hunter Morris also had to take over the entire role of Siegfried. The understudy of the sick original cast member was too afraid to take on this huge role and didn’t want to damage his reputation, but Morris (3rd in line) stepped right up to the plate. He was absolutely riveting in his vocal timbre and performance. He performed in a state of being ‘in the zone’, and everyone watching and listening felt this, too. This role/ performance propelled him into international stardom. What a joy that this box set captures this.
Internationally acclaimed soprano Deborah Voigt in the role of Brunnhilde had just lost over 100 pounds before she took this role. The plank set had her exercising while working in these operas! She looked and sounded magnificent.
The other operatic singers also shined.
Run an internet search for the Metropolitan Opera and look for short video clips of these 4 operas, rehearsals, outtakes, and the behind-the-scenes happenings of LePage’s plank set. Especially look for ‘The Ride of the Valkyries’, which will be the finest rendition of this that you have ever seen! This will whet your appetite for purchasing this amazing boxed set.
The entire 5 disc BluRay set is manufactured by Deutsch Grammophone (there are subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Chinese, so that listeners/ viewers understand the context of the story in a language that they can comprehend [all of the operas are sung in German]). The video is shot in HD, and there is a total of 1111 minutes (18 hours and 51.6 Minutes) in the 5 discs. Broken down into sections: the 4 operas contain 920 minutes (15.33 hours); the 5th disc, called ‘Wagner’s Dream’, dealing with the making of the ‘Ring’ opera, is 114 minutes (1.9 hours). A final 72 minutes (1.28 hours) is devoted to extras.
(Note: One of my friends bought this box set for her family one Christmas, because funnily enough, she, too, comes from a German lineage, and her maiden name is also a part of “The Ring”! She bought this set so that her kids could learn more about their German heritage.)
This “Ring” box set should be part of every music and opera-lover’s collection. People who are just being introduced to opera (including children and teens and adults who aren’t yet fans) will find this rendition with the plank sets very believable and enjoyable to watch. This is the finest opera video set that I own, and I am very happy that I bought it.
I would give this boxed set 10 stars if I could!
- Format: Blu-ray, Classical, DVD, Multiple Formats, NTSC, Widescreen
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, German
- Region: All Regions
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Number of discs: 5
- Studio: Uni Dist Corp (Music)
- DVD Release Date: 11 Sep 2012
- Run Time: 114 minutes
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- ASIN: B008ER9QLK
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
16,767 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #11867 in Movies (Movies & TV)