Three concerts from the outdoor Waldbühren concert series all featuring the Berlin Philharmonic with conductors Sir Simon Rattle, Ion Martin and Riccardo Chailly, with soloists Renée Fleming, soprano and Yefim Bronfman, piano.
EUROARTS DVD 2859083 (3 disks) PT: 334 min

WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman
Franz-Josepoh Selig (Daland). Ricarda Macbeth (Senta). Tomislav Muzek (Erik). Christa Meyer (Mary). Benjamin Bruns (The Steersman). Samuel Youri (The Dutchman). Chorus and Orchestra of Bayreuth Festival/Christian Thielemann, cond.
OPUS ARTE DVD TT: 148 min. + 25 min. bonus

VIOLIN MASTERCLASS - LARA ST. JOHN - BRUCH: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26

This Waldbühren 3-disk set is contains three previously issued concerts, all of which have been reviewed enthusiastically on this site: music of Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff with Sir Simon Rattle and pianist Yefim Bronfman (REVIEW), Renée Fleming with the Berlin Philharmonic directed by Ion Martin in a program featuring operatic arias (REVIEW), and Riccardo Chailly conducting Respighi and other works (REVIEW). All are superb—and here is your opportunity to acquire them at a reduced price. Recommended!

Here's another recent Wagner misguided production from the Bayreuth Festival July 25, 2013. It isn't as obnoxious as some others, particularly their travesty of The Ring, bur t it surely strips Wagner's music of its grandeur. Jean Philipp Gloger directed with stage design by Christopher Hetzer, costumes by Karin Jud. The stage is virtually empty with lighting providing various effects. When we first see Daland, he is in a small rowboat. Costumes are contemporary, all of the effects of storm etc. are done with flashing lights. Senta and her associates are not spinning, they are packing small electric fans into cardboard boxes (some of which are used as platforms for the singers). I cannot imagine why anyone would wish to experience this when they can watch the superb Met performance conducted by James Levine. I'm rather surprised that Christian Thielemann would be involved in a production such as this. The cast is reasonably good, but soprano Ricarda Macbeth often is uneven, and is adorned with a pair of odd "wings" during the conclusion of her encounter with the Dutchman. She has a habit of opening her eyes very wide, appearing rather startled, vividly captured in the superb video. Audio is excellent. It is inexcusable that producers did not include a track listing in the DVD booklet; you can find them on the DVD, but even there no timings are given. Skip this one!

If you are a student of the violin or simply wish to know more about the varied techniques of playing the instrument, this is for you. The fine young violinist Lara St. John dissects the work, bar by bar, explaining technical problem and how to solve them. The two-disk set includes a complete performance of the work with St. John accompanied by pianist Eduard Laurel. Students have the opportunity of playing the solo part to piano accompaniment provided, and there are many hints and suggestions about the art of playing the violin. There are dozens of superb performances of this famous Bruch concerto, several on DVD. This new set is for students - and is super-premium priced—but then it is a masterclass.

R.E.B. (July 2014).