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Die Walküre (I) (2004)

TV Movie  |   |  Music  |  20 April 2004 (Germany)
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The performances of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle in Stuttgart created a sensation unheard of since the monumental century Ring in Bayreuth in the late seventies. "Four operas - four stage ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Renate Behle ...
Angela Denoke ...
Sieglinde
Margit Diefenthal ...
Rossweisse
Robert Gambill ...
Wiebke Göetjes ...
Ortlinde
Attila Jun ...
Stella Kleindienst ...
Waltraute
Nidia Palacios ...
Siegrune
Helene Ranada ...
Schwertleite
Jan-Hendrik Rootering ...
Magdalena Schäfer ...
Helmwige
Maria Theresa Ullrich ...
Grimgerde
Tachina Vaughn ...
Fricka
Eva-Maria Westbroek ...
Gerhilde
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Storyline

The performances of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle in Stuttgart created a sensation unheard of since the monumental century Ring in Bayreuth in the late seventies. "Four operas - four stage directors" was the artistic idea behind the 1999/2000 cycle under the musical direction of Lothar Zagrosek. Appreciating the individual operas of Der Ring des Nibelungenwithout having to relate to previous or subsequent storylines enabled the stage directors - handpicked among the successful Stuttgart Opera team surrounding Artistic Director Klaus Zehelein - to express their individual insights into the well-known drama of Siegfried and Wotan. In 2002 German critics voted Stuttgart's Staatsoper "Opera House of the Year" for the fourth time in five years. This series was recorded live at revival performances in 2002 and 2003, and it pays tribute to the artistic and musical achievement of the Stuttgart Opera House and a wonderful cast of singers. The production was directed by the "psychoanalyst" ... Written by Anonymous

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A pretty poor Walkure
17 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I love all four operas of the Ring Cycle, and while my personal favourite is Siegfried, Die Walkure is a close second and perhaps the most accessible of the four. Previously I had seen the 1990 Met, 2011 Met, 1980 Bayreuth, 1992 Bayreuth and 2008/9 Valencia productions, and especially 1990 and 1992 I put every single one of those over this one. Of the Stuttgart performances of the Ring, Gotterdammerung was the least problematic to me, though still problematic. Die Walkure is not a complete travesty and better than their Siegfried, which was disgusting in my view.

Like I said with Das Rheingold, it does get brownie points for the magnificent music, as is always the case with Wagner, and a couple of good performances. Best of the lot is the affecting Sieglinde of Angela Denoke, though, although I hated his costuming, Robert Gambill has a great virile voice as Siegmund and is a good actor. There's also a very well sung and acted Fricka from Tichina Vaughn, if not quite my definition of thrilling.

However, Jan Hendrik Rootering is a very unconvincing Wotan. And no I don't mean his appearance. He is never firm or authoritative enough in the role, in fact he looks very uncomfortable especially in Act 2, and his voice has a weak-pushed-up-bass quality to it, the necessary high notes for the scene in Act 2 between him and Brunnhilde and Wotan's Farewell sound seriously strained. Renate Behle didn't work for me as Brunnhilde either. Her voice was too shrill for my liking with some big notes missed, she has a bad habit of contorting her face at times and her small stature and constantly buckling knees is not really Walkure material.

Musically, it is not bad, with the orchestra quite powerful when they need to be though I got the sense I was listening to a version of Walkure rather than a true Wagnerian sound, but the conducting often plods such as in Wotan's Act 2 monologue and some parts of the music before climaxes come across as overly-bombastic, almost as if he was rushing to get to them. The Walkures sound underpowered, and the staging of Ride of the Valkyries was so ridiculously awful I couldn't help laughing aloud.

Visually, that's another story. The sets look either stark or silly, and really don't reflect the mood of the score often. This is particularly true in Act 3. The costumes aren't much better, Siegmund's and the Walkures are just horrible for my tastes, but it's nothing compared to Hunding and sadly the performance in this role was nothing to write about either(alright I wasn't expecting another Salminen or Holle but at least give us a bass that didn't sound underpowered). Dramatically this Walkure never really comes to life, Ride of the Valkyries is very ineptly done, but that is not all. Wotan's Farewell, one of the highlights of any of Wagner's work, is nowhere near as monumental as it should be, they really have got to do better than candles for the Magic Fire. The scenes between Brunnhilde and Wotan as far as I'm concerned were emotionally stillborn. Some of the staging doesn't make sense even, like in Act 1 with the sword.

The technical values(picture and sound quality) were fine though. The video directing is also not bad, few of the scenes here are as badly handled as Alberich's curse from Rheingold in this respect. All in all, pretty poor. 4/10 Bethany Cox


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