The first thing that strikes me about this filmed opera performance is how watchable it is. If you can enjoy a foreign movie with subtitles, you will likely enjoy this DAS RHEINGOLD. DAS RHEINGOLD is an action flick of an opera, tough like a gangster movie and fast-moving like a comic book. It follows a logical plot, and explains things pretty well as it goes along. This performance is especially remarkable when you consider it's not lip-synching or film-acting over a recording; you're actually seeing the singers vocalize and act. And from big-gestures to subtle facial expressions, almost all of them act extremely well, delivering performances you might expect from good movie-actors. They are supported with sensitive cinematic camera-work from Brian Large. He keeps the camera moving, and uses close-ups very well. The only things which make you forget it's not a movie are the giants' shoddy, rubber-handed costumes.
Alberich, when he loses his Ring, really looks as if he had had one of his hands hacked off, or a pencil stabbed into his eye: surprised and puzzled by extreme pain, uncertain whether to remain absolutely still or to try to find a less painful position.
Loge looks and acts like Riff-Raff in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.
Young Matti Salminen makes his character, who is usually a secondary character, into a tragic protagonist in his own right. He's absolutely in his prime and his voice is volcanic but also beautiful and even romantic.
In fact the only flaws are wobbly Erda and Fritz Hubner's woolly Fafner. A weak Fafner is a serious defect, but it's one of very few.
The "industrial-revolution" sets and costumes shocked audiences at the time, and were often described as "infamous", but they are conservative in comparison with some of the absurdities one sees today.
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