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Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Opera > Concert > Richard Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen The Ring Cycle (Naxos/ArtHaus DVD Box Set)

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen The Ring Cycle (Naxos/ArtHaus DVD Box Set)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Concerts: B

 

 

Now collected in one box set, the Naxos/ArtHaus release of brings together the four Staatskapelle Weimar performances of the four parts of Wagner’s classic work allow for serious fans to enjoy the complete works without having to hunt them down.  Sold separately, we covered the Gotterdammerung performance in its Blu-ray edition at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9111/Thais+%E2%80%93+Massenet:+Nose

 

 

Here, we only have the DVD edition, but I was surprised that the only soundtracks available were Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes.  For the record, the four parts are:

 

1)     Das Rheingold

2)     Die Walkure

3)     Siegfried

4)     Gotterdammerung

 

 

For the record, I was not impressed with the performance of the Zubin Mehta versions of the first two parts from Unitel Classica on Blu-ray and DVD either, as this review will show:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/9503/Robert+Schumann+%E2%80%93+Gen

 

 

I do not think I am being picky, but the performance of the format is as important as what is on stage, especially when the work is this complex.  That is why the good news is that Stage Director Michael Schultz and Conductor Carl St, Clair have pulled off an amazing, complete performance of The Ring Cycle as rich, lively, creepy and vivid as any I have seen to date.  The first three parts are as impressive as I found the concluding part on Blu-ray a while ago and would put it on a list of definitive versions of the original work, though that is a trickier task in Classical genre than say Pop, Rock or Soul.  However, this is an amazing set, even without extras and unless you want to get the already released Blu-ray box, this is one you cannot go wrong with.

 

As for technical misgivings, I wish the sound was DTS 5.1, but you’ll have to get the Blu-rays for DTS as you only get Dolby Digital 5.1 as noted and though it sounds as good as that old codec can sound, you should know that more sound detail is in those soundmasters and the Gotterdammerung Blu-ray was warmer if not spectacularly better than the Blu-ray here.  As for the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image, all of it originates in 1080i High Definition video and the tradedown here is weaker than I would have expected considering how good the Blu-ray of Gotterdammerung looked.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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