Diskographie

Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Musikalische Leitung: Hartmut Haenchen, Regie: Pierre Audi, Bühnenbild: George Tsypin, Beleuchtung: Wolfgang Göbbel, Kostüme: Eiko Ishioka, Dramaturgie: Klaus Bertisch, Orchester: Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Siegmund: John Keyes, Hunding: Kurt Rydl, Wotan: John Bröcheler, Sieglinde: Nadine Secunde, Brünnhilde: Janine Altmeyer, Fricka: Reinhild Runkel

Videobeispiel unter www.haenchen.net - Portrait - Videos

OpusArte, 1999

Enthaltene Werke

Wagner, Richard: Der Ring des Nibelungen

Pressestimmen

The best 'live' Ring since Böhm's at Bayreuth 55 years ago.
Hartmut Haenchen's Ring cycle from Amsterdam is an important document of a wildly brilliant production by Pierre Audi. ... Haenchen's flexible yet profound leadership, an excellent orchestra and chorus and some very fine individual performances in the lead roles.

Linda Watson's Brünnhilde is outstanding as well. ... I enjoyed her Immolation more than any other soprano who has recorded this role commercially over the past 20 years. Not since Behrens (for Sawallisch on EMI) has this part been so vividly rendered on recording.

So I am grateful to Haenchen and Etcetera for preserving this purely aural example of this fine Danish tenor's art. (Stig Andersen)
pekinman
Ganze Rezension
www.amazon.com, 29. August 2014
Wagners "Ring" für daheim
Vergleich der verschiedenen Aufnahmen auf dem Schallplattenmarkt.

Nicht nur in Bayreuth wird derzeit eifrig an einem neuen „Ring des Nibelungen“ geschmiedet. Auch in der Schallplattenindustrie spielt Wagners vierteiliger Opernzyklus eine große Rolle.

Visuell hochwertig und mit einer intensiven Körpersprache hat Pierre Audi die Tetralogie zum Jahrtausend-Wechsel in Amsterdam inszeniert, nun von Opus Arte veröffentlicht. Auch musikalisch kommt man hier gut auf seine Kosten, da Hartmut Haenchen eine gelungene Interpretation vorweisen kann, die nur in Jeannine Altmeyer als Brünnhilde einen vokalen Schwachpunkt hat.
Ganze Rezension hier
Christoph Broermann
Ruhrnachrichten, 24. Juli 2013
Ein künstlerisch hervorragender Ring - Dirigat und Regie überzeugen !

Hartmut Haenchens Nibelungenring Dirigat ist exzellent. Die Gesangsleistungen überzeugen!
Kurt Rydl als Hunding (Walküre) und als Hagen (Götterdämerung) herausragend.
Graham Clark als Mime darstellerisch und gesanglich superlaiv ! Die Lichtregie ist
farblich wundervoll ! Ein grossartiger Ring !
Richard Schnaitl
5 Sterne
www.amazon.de, 23. Juli 2013
Synthese aus Klang und Raum

This is a Ring to remember“ steht zusammenfassend auf der Rückseite der Götterdämmerung-Box. Ein Versprechen, dass es einzulösen gilt. Keine leichte Aufgabe, angesichts der Zunahme von visuellen Ring-Gesamtaufnahmen. Die Neuerscheinung bei Opus Arte bannt die Inszenierung von Pierre Audi an De Nederlands Opera Amsterdam vom Ende des letzten Jahrtausends, als Wagners Ring gerade Hochkonjunktur an allen Opernhäusern hatte, auf 17 DVDs. Bis heute hat sich der Ring auf dem Spielplan in Amsterdam gehalten, und wer sich die DVD anschaut, überlegt sich genau, ob er die Reise dahin nicht antreten sollte.

Pierre Audis Regiekonzept gewinnt von Beginn an dadurch, dass er keinen politischen Ring auf die Bühne stellt, sondern eine Parabel erzählen will. Zeitlich legt er sich überhaupt nicht fest. Zwar deutet vieles auf einen mystischen Ring hin, doch daneben finden sich auch Fernseher und Zahnräder unter den Requisiten. Visuell gibt es in diesem Konzept eine ganze Menge zu sehen, was auch daran liegt, dass das gesamte Team ein optisches Gesamtkunstwerk und eine technisch aufwändige Meisterleistung erarbeitet hat. George Tsypin hat die Grenzen zwischen Bühne, Orchestergraben und Auditorium fast aufgebrochen. Eine Spielfläche, in jedem Teil variierend, zieht sich um das Orchester herum, immer nahe am Publikum. So entsteht ein fast magischer Raum aus Spiel und Klang, in den alle Beteiligten – und sei es nur durch passive Anwesenheit – mit eingebunden sind. Der Boden dieser Spielfläche erinnert dabei sehr oft an eine riesige Scheibe, die aus einen Baum herausgeschnitten ist, als würde die Handlung auf den Lebensringen der Weltesche stattfinden. Eiko Ishioka hat fantasiereiche Kostüme und Masken entworfen, von denen manche auf den ersten Blick befremdlich sind und doch immer wieder Sinn ergeben. Mimes insektartiger Leib und die Riesen, deren Körper aus Lehm oder Stein geformt zu sein scheinen, sind als großartige Beispiele zu nennen. Wolfgang Göbbel setzt Lichtgrenzen, um die Spielfläche nicht eindimensional stehen zu lassen, deutet Orte in Farben an, ohne dem Zuschauer etwas vorzuschreiben.

Dem Verdacht auf optische Beliebigkeit setzt das Regieteam eigene Gedanken entgegen. Wotans Speer beispielsweise wird nicht vom Göttervater in der Hand getragen. Er erscheint als Lichtblitz, um Nothung zu zerschmettern, bohrt sich aus dem Boden, um Hunding zu töten, und senkt sich bei Bedarf eindrucksvoll aus dem Bühnenhimmel hinab. Gerade im Siegfried während der Wissenswette zwischen dem Wanderer und Mime macht das großen Effekt. Auch das Element des Feuers wird sehr unterschiedlich eingesetzt. Audi scheut sich nicht, manche Szene wie den Walkürenritt oder den Kampf mit dem Drachen mit Pyroeffekten zu bereichern. Das für die Handlung relevante Feuer in den Finali der Opern Walküre und Götterdämmerung wird dagegen durch Licht und Bühnenveränderungen sowie ein rotes Tuch, das Brünnhilde zum Erlösungstod verschlingt, symbolisiert. Die Personenführung von Audi hat schwankenden Erfolg. Teilweise verlangt er abstrakte Gesten, teilweise auch wieder ein entfesselndes Spiel. Durch letzteres wird beispielweise der erste Siegfried-Akt zu einem großen Erfolg. Nicht jede Szene ist auf gleichem atmosphärischen Niveau, doch das kann man verschmerzen angesichts einer sehr stringenten Auslegung, die zu jedem Zeitpunkt Musik und Szene miteinander verbindet.

Der Betrachter der DVD hat natürlich den Nachteil, dass er die Bühne nie in einer totalen Ansicht erfassen kann, doch gibt sich TV-Regisseur Misjel Vermeiren alle Mühe, auch dem Zuschauer zu Hause viel von dem zu vermitteln, was sich abspielt. Gut vorbereitet auf den Bühnenaktionismus, setzt er geschickte Bildüberblendungen, Zoomeffekte und angemessene Schnitte ein, weiß aber auch das Auge der Kamera einfach mal auf einem Punkt ruhen zu lassen. Dem Zuschauer wird oben beschriebene Einheit aus Bühne, Publikum und Orchester schnell, wenn er in der einen Einstellung noch ein Instrument im Bildhintergrund, in der nächsten schon wieder die Zuschauer auf dem Balkon des Auditoriums hat. Nicht gelungen ist das schnelle Abblenden beim Applaus. Tontechnisch sind die vier Aufführungen nicht ideal erfasst. Die großen Bewegungsmöglichkeiten auf der Bühne wirken sich auf die Mikrophone aus, so dass die Sänger nicht optimal eingefangen werden. Zuweilen kommt es vor, dass die ersten Töne einer Phrase wie aus weiter Entfernung erklingen, was dann durch eine Körperdrehung wieder aufgehoben wird.

Rein gesanglich ist die DVD freilich nicht das Maß aller Dinge, doch die meisten Solisten überzeugen als mitreißende Sängerdarsteller. Wirklich ärgerlich ist nur, dass ausgerechnet die zentrale Rolle der Brünnhilde mit Jeannine Altmeyer besetzt wurde. Verquollene Diktion, brüchige Töne und forcierte Höhen führen den Zuschauer schnell in Versuchung, die Stummtaste der Fernbedienung zu benutzen. Ansonsten gibt es viel Spannendes, wenn auch nicht immer Schönes zu hören: Paradebeispiel dafür ist Kurt Rydl. Als Hunding, aber vor allem als Hagen ist er eine unaufhaltsame Naturgewalt, eine gnadenlose Inkarnation des Bösen. Eine Ausnahme ist Heinz Kruse als Siegfried. Körperlich noch nicht auf der Höhe durch eine vorangegangene Knieoperation, mimisch eher blass, besticht er durch konzentrierten, hochwertigen Gesang. John Bröcheler singt zuweilen mit viel zu viel Material, doch sein starker Wotan gewinnt von Abend zu Abend an Götterformat. Graham Clark ist ein intonationsschwacher, dafür aber vitaler, mitreißender Mime. Chris Merritt als Loge und Henk Smit als Alberich setzen zu sehr auf pointierte Deklamation zu Lasten einer sauberen Gesangslinie. Aus dem großen, insgesamt soliden Solistenensemble bleiben Wolfgang Schönes markanter Gunther und Nadine Sekundes intensive Sieglinde nachhaltig in Erinnerung. Auch Peter Mikulas und Carsten Stabell sind als Riesen Fasolt und Fafner würdige Rollenvertreter. Der Chor der De Nederlandse Opera hat einen packenden Auftritt in der Götterdämmerung, wenn er wie eine Klonarmee aufmarschiert.

Gleich drei verschiedene Orchester werden für den Ring aufgefahren. Das hervorragende Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra kommt in der Walküre sowie in der Götterdämmerung zum Einsatz. Im Rheingold spielt die etwas blecherne Hague Philharmonic auf, und im Siegfried sorgt das Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra für Wagner-Wonnen. Von gelegentlichen Unsauberkeiten abgesehen, gelingt ihnen eine musikalisch großartige Widergabe, an der ihr Dirigent Hartmut Haenchen großen Anteil hat. Der dramatische, zügige Zugriff auf das Werk hat große Wirkung. Haenchen unterstützt das visuelle Konzept, in dem er musikalische Räume aufmacht. Da fügen sich Stimmen und Instrumente zu einer geschlossenen Form zusammen, in der Leitmotive nicht eine übergeordnete Rolle spielen, sondern klug eingebunden werden.

Die DVD-Box hat nicht nur eine sehenswerte Ring-Produktion zu bieten. Jeder Teil hat mit einer zusätzlichen Dokumentation ein interessantes Extra zu bieten. Die werden überdies attraktiv, indem mit Stefan Mickisch einer der versiertesten Wagner-Kenner zu Wort kommt. Auf die Frage des Moderators, ob Mickisch den ganzen Ring auswendig auf dem Flügel spielen könne, antwortet dieser: „Nein, nur etwa drei Stunden.“ Aber selbst an die muss man sich erst mal erinnern können.
Christoph Broermann
www.opernetz.de, 23. März 2013
Fesselndes Musiktheater auf - 5- Bühnenebenen direkt am Publikum, 15. März 2013

Das Gesamtkonzept dieser Ring Inszenierung von Pierre Audi in mythischer Struktur und Kostümgestaltung, aber auf um das Publikum herumgeführten Bühnen liefert einzigartig, hautnahe Bilder. Das mittig platzierte Orchester und die bis zu fünf Bühnenebenen sind konzeptionell innovativ und bieten Musiktheater direkt am Publikum.
Sängerisch ist dieser Ring durchmischt besetzt, sicher hat man jede Rolle schon mal "besser gehört", aber das Gesamtkonzept ist das Entscheidende.
Hartmut Haenchen dirigiert nach neuesten Tempi-Erkenntnissen der Wagner Forschung. Konzeptionell zügig und eher schlank zupackend.
Diesen Ring habe ich seinerzeit schon ausführlicher rezensiert, deshalb beschränke ich mich hier auf das Wesentliche.
Dieses mythische Ring- Konzept leistet einen Beitrag zu modernem Musiktheater. Es funktioniert durchaus den Mythos mit singschauspielerischer Aktion zu verbinden. Kein Regietheater, wenn man das negativ belegt, schlicht herausragendes Interaktionstheater mit sängerischen Schwächen, ohne Zweifel. Aber als Gesamtpaket schlicht - 5 - Sterne.
Hans-Georg Seidel
www.amazon.de, 15. März 2013
5 Star
Hartmut Haenchen is a very fine Wagnerian and his orchestras (which change with each opera) are superb. They easily survive comparison with the more famous orchestras that have recorded this work, though clearly they aren't the Vienna Philharmonic, nor is the fine Dutch chorus on the same level as the chorus of the Bayreuth Festival or Bavarian State opera.
What is most appreciated in Haenchen's direction is his high-lighting of many beautiful details, especially in the woodwind section. He is fleet-footed in his direction, like Boulez and Böhm, but never glip, or merely sliding over the surface of the more profound moments.
Pekinman
www.amazon.com, 19. November 2009
www.amazon.com Mai 2008

The third part of the Amsterdam cycle continues the fine form established from the first two productions. The set is striking in not only it's sheer size but it's simplicity. The second act comes alive with uses of a balcony and a flying fox and the first act also has a really great look about it.
John Brochelor's final outing as Wotan (or The Wanderer) is as good as his others. He portrays the world weary and tired head of the Gods with superb clarity and pathos. His scene with Erda (played by Anne Gjevang) is quite hypnotic, whereas in other productions it pretty much is a stagnant moment of the act.
Despite the bee-keeper hats that most of the cast wear (and the reappearance of the genitalia shaped Giant Fafner from Rheingold) the costumes are great. Graham Clark virtually steals everything not nailed down as Mime. His performance harkens back to some of the finest performers in the role- Stolze and Zednick come to mind. His menacing actions and facial exprerssions show the real villan and leaves us in no doubt who to is the real menace here.
Heinz Kruse provides a solid performance as Siegfried despite looking far too old (but then again, any singer even beginning to tackle the role of Siegfried should be at least 40) and perhaps a little chunky. As William Berger once noted, is there really anyone who is the perfect Siegfried?
Jeannine Altmeyer does a fine job in her brief stint as Brunnhilde at the end of the evening and the final duet is gloriously sung and staged.
One of the more curious decisions in this production is to have a male treble, Stefan Pangratz, singing the role of the woodbird. Whilst he's certainly nimble and very good at acting the part, his voice cannot handle Wagner's intricate lines all that well and it comes across as a little hokey.
All along, conductor Hartmut Haenschen keeps a tight rein on the Rotterdam Philahrmonic and the entire performance just rockets along (all three acts clocking in under 80 minutes each!) without losing the clarity and focus needed to highlight Wagner's complex score.
This was certainly the most invigorating of the three operas so far and with one more to go, I can't wait for the final installment.
Rodney Hrvatin
www.amazon.com, 06. Juni 2008
Fanfare Magazine, 21.12.2007
The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors

Wagnerians, get out your credit cards; this is a Ring you cannot be without.
I reviewed the DVD account of Hartmut Haenchen’s Ring cycle, directed for The Netherlands Opera by Pierre Audi, in Fanfare issues 30:1, 30:2, and 30:5 and refer you to those write-ups for a sense of the production’s musico-dramatic spirit. (The best reason, perhaps, for actually subscribing to this magazine, rather than purchasing occasional copies at a bookstore—or, heaven forbid, borrowing them from someone else—is access to the Fanfare archives. You could have the four reviews in a matter of seconds.) Those videos date from 1999. The current sets of SACDs were recorded live in 2004 and 2005 and though the casts are different, the spectacular orchestral playing is courtesy of just one ensemble, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, whereas the 1999 recording split the duties among three groups—the NPO, the Residentie Orchestra, and the Rotterdam PO. By rights, I should be writing a five or six page review here, as these performances have not been covered in Fanfare. But I won’t, because the essence of what makes this Ring so special is the conductor and, especially, the very significant reexamination of the music itself.
Haenchen’s cycle is based on the Neue Richard-Wagner-Gesamtausgabe, but the conductor and his collaborators at The Netherlands Opera went well beyond that, making a serious effort to get at the nature of the first performances, and even at Wagner’s unrealized intentions. Extensive notes taken by the composer’s Bayreuth assistants in 1876—especially Heinrich Porges, but also Felix Mottl, Hermann Levi, and Julius Kniese—were scrutinized to inform these performances. Wagner made changes to pitches, rhythms, and texts at rehearsals and gave copious instructions regarding tempo, inflection, and other interpretative matters. It’s on the issue of tempo that Haenchen’s leadership most immediately registers as something different. In an essay appearing in Rheingold ’s liner notes, Haenchen, who reveals himself to be enormously knowledgeable about Wagner performance history, lays the “blame” for the slow tempos that have become the norm at the feet of the Bayreuth-approved conductors Toscanini and Furtwängler. But evidently, Wagner was having a hard time in this regard even when he was around to supervise at the Festspielhaus. “If you were not all such tedious fellows,” he said in 1876, “ Das Rheingold would be finished within two hours.” An overstatement, perhaps, but Haenchen clearly got the message.
These performances move along with a sense of inevitability and dramatic thrust, yet never feel rushed. Rheingold is edge-of-your-seat theater: I resented the interruption imposed by the single disc change required. A good example of the value of Haenchen’s pacing comes in Götterdämmerung. Even the most devoted Wagnerians can find themselves growing a little impatient when the Waltraute/Brünnhilde scene comes around. We have been sitting for well over an hour by this point and there’s still plenty to go before one can get some coffee and hit the restroom. Haenchen fits this scene into the dramatic arch of the Prologue/act I in a way that makes it feel utterly necessary: we’re hanging on Waltraute’s every word as she expansively recounts the grim scene back at Valhalla to an unmoved Brünnhilde. Likewise, Wotan’s act II monologue in Walküre won’t have you looking at your watch. Siegfried’ s first act is truly a scherzo, relentlessly moving forward.
The casts on these sets are actually an improvement over the not inconsiderable ones from 1999. Albert Dohmen is every bit as authoritative a Wotan/Wanderer as John Bröcheler was for the DVDs. Raging at the Valkyries in Walküre ’s final act, his voice has focus and muscle, though he’s capable of tender singing too, as when saying goodbye to his errant daughter. Linda Watson does an excellent job tracking the transformation of her character from warrior to wife to world redeemer. Stig Andersen, this cycle’s Siegfried, is the biggest improvement over the Opus Arte videos, where Heinz Kruse took on the part. Günther von Kannan is a darkly intelligent Alberich for Siegfried and Götterdämmerung (Werner Van Mechelen serves well in Das Rheingold ) and Graham Clark is simply the best Mime there is these days—maybe ever. The other important roles, and the subsidiary ones, are all covered more than adequately, so that the dramatic points of this realization come through loud and clear.
The sound is quite good. If you can do multichannel, that option is a vast improvement over what we get on the Opus Arte DVDs, a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS. Here, of course, we get high-resolution DSD-mastered sonics in five channels. Voices are beautifully characterized and orchestral textures are transparently defined so we can savor the progress Wagner made in his treatment of the orchestra as the tetralogy progressed. The booklets hold fascinating essays on the musical scholarship involved in creating these performances.
Andrew Quint
Fanfare-Magazine, 21. Dezember 2007
Wiener Zeitung

Opernberichte

Wer keine Karte für die "Walküre" bekommt, kann "Ring"-Liebhabern anderes schenken: rare DVD-Aufnahmen
Frohe Weihnachten für Wagnerianer

Dem "Ring" begegnet man am besten in der Oper – oder auf DVD.
Klassiker und Geheimtipps von Audi, Chéreau, Schenk.

Wien. Im Zuge der "Walküre"-Premiere an der Wiener Staatsoper ist ein richtiger Hype um Richard Wagners "Ring des Nibelungen" entstanden. Der vielleicht auch in den Weihnachtsgeschenken seinen Niederschlag finden will. Ein paar Tipps für "Ring"-Freunde und alle, die es werden wollen.
Dem "Ring" begegnet man am besten auf DVD, Wagner dachte szenisch. Ohne Bühne, nur akustisch genossen, ist die Musik immer noch genial. Aber es fehlt etwas.

Konservativer "Ring"

Wer es konservativ mag, greift am besten zum "Ring" aus der Met. Otto Schenk hat eine Märchenbuch-Inszenierung ohne Deutung geliefert, Dirigent James Levine sorgt für behäbige bis bleischwere Tempi, das Ensemble übt sich in lautstarkem Wagner-Gesang, wie er früher Gang und Gäbe war. Eine Auferstehung des Wagner-Stils von gestern (Deutsche Grammophon, 7 DVDs, ca. 110 Euro).

Einen wesentlich aufregenderen "Ring" ebenfalls konservativerer Machart lieferte Pierre Audi für Amsterdam. Es sind wunderbare magische Bilder, in denen der Mythos erzählt wird. Audi verwandelt die Szene in Poesie und trägt das Epos mit klarer Stimme vor. Nur die Verlagerung des Spiels in den Raum kann die DVD nicht ganz wiedergeben. Musikalisch ist alles nahezu ideal, vor allem dank Hartmut Haenchen, der einen sehr analytischen und doch leidenschaftlichen Wagner dirigiert. Auch die sängerischen Leistungen sind atemberaubend, nur Jeannine Altmeyer als Brünnhilde ist etwas überfordert (wird nicht als komplettes Paket angeboten, insgesamt ca. 180 Euro).

"Ring" der "Ringe"

Der "Ring", an dem sich alle modernen Regiearbeiten messen lassen müssen, ist die Bayreuther Inszenierung von Patrice Chéreau mit ihrer politischen Deutung und ihrer zutiefst menschlichen Sicht auf die Tragödie des Individuums. Pierre Boulez mit seinem auf weite Räume gerichteten analytischen Denken ist immer noch der beste "Ring"-Dirigent, die Gesangsleistungen sind etwas ungleichmäßig. Dennoch: Auch rund 30 Jahre nach der Premiere: Das ist der "Ring" der "Ringe" (8 DVDs, ca. 90 Euro).

Fast ebenso aufregend ist die Stuttgarter Inszenierung mit dem irritierenden, aber letzten Endes unerwartet spannenden Konzept, jeden Abend einem anderen Regisseur anzuvertrauen. Damit gibt es keine oberflächlichen Querverweise. Und doch zieht sich der Mythos am Reibebaum der Gegenwart wie ein roter Faden durch das auch musikalisch sehr befriedigende Experiment (7 DVDs, ca. 180 Euro).

Der Beste in Stereo

Der beste Stereo-"Ring" auf CD ist nach wie vor der Bayreuther unter Karl Böhm, der die geschlossenste Sängerleistung bietet und einen Dirigenten, der Wagners Pathos versteht, es aber nicht zelebriert und eine überlegene Tempodramaturgie entwirft (Philips, 14 CDs, ca. 120 Euro).

Wer auch eine – gut durchhörbare – Mono-Aufnahme akzeptieren kann, ist mit der von Hans Knappertsbusch, ebenfalls aus Bayreuth, bestens beraten: Der historische Wagnerstil wird unter einem Dirigenten lebendig, der wirklich noch im langsamen Zeitmaß große Bögen zu spannen wusste (Orfeo, 13 CDs, ca. 150 Euro).

Auch mit dem "Ring" der Wiener Staatsoper kann man sich gezielt auseinandersetzen. Regisseur Sven-Eric Bechtolf legt in "Vorabend" Rechenschaft über seine Beschäftigung mit dem "Ring" ab – das Ergebnis ist wesentlich witziger und intelligenter als seine "Walküre"-Inszenierung (Haymon, ca. 19 Euro).

Zum Lesen und Hören

Außerdem gibt es den Text des "Rings" gelesen von Bechtolf als Hörbuch: Eine sehr spannende Erfahrung, die zeigt, dass Wagner keineswegs ein übler Textautor war, sondern ein sprachgewaltiger Poet mit teilweise verschrobenem Humor (Col legno, 8 CDs, ca. 50 Euro).

Die spannendste Wagner-Biografie stammt übrigens nach wie vor von Joachim Köhler. Auf 870 Seiten erzählt Köhler in "Der letzte der Titanen" in glänzend lesbarem Deutsch Wagners seltsames Leben und gewährt tiefe Einblicke in einen komplexen Charakter – Beschönigungen sind ebenso verpönt wie Verdammungen. Die Basis einer Auseinandersetzung mit einem Genie (Claassen, ca. 37 Euro).



Wiener Zeitung
Wiener Zeitung, 20. Dezember 2007
Ring CD, Awards 2007, Gramophone Seite 67
This singer is heard (and seen) to better effect on his home ground in the first leg of the Amsterdam Ring created by conductor Hartmut Haenchen and stage director Pierre Audi. This newest complete cycle appears in two sets of performances - the DVDs from the premiere run, the CDs from the later, partly recast, revival. In the nearest yet to a period-instrument Ring on record, Haenchen's is an interpretation for the 21st century, using in scrupulous detail the multitude of hints about dynamics, balance, instrumentation (especially of percussion and sound effects) contained in the very recent New Critical Editions of the score. He eschews late-Romantic bombast in favour of a sound world and balance familiar from Mendelssohn's fairy-tale music and Liszt's tone-poems - a real alternative to other versions. Dutch veterans Bröcheler (Wotan) and Henk Smit (Alberich), their successors for CD Albert Dohmen and Günter von Kannen, the ubiquitous Graham Clark (Mime), a mature but still stylish and alive Jeannette Altmeyer (Briinnhilde on DVD), Stig Andersen's smart, youthful Siegfried (CD) and Anne Gjevang as Erda and a Waltraute that for understanding of the role you'd want on a desert island, are the picks of a fine bunch. The later CDs predictably find Haenchen and his orchestra giving more dramatic and spontaneous performances, but the DVDs should be seen for the freshness of Audi's theatrical thinking, and his reinvention of "deconstructionist" effects.
Mike Ashman
Gramophone (GB), 01. Dezember 2007
Scherzo, Heft 4 2007

...merced al trabajo de Haenchen, que se revela como un intérprete formidable del autor de la Tetralogie y se apunta además un tanto al ser el primero en grabar el Anillo en la edición de la Neue Richard-Wagner-Gesamtausgabe.... magníficamente trazada, en cambio, por Haenchen, gran protagonista de esta realización de uno de los hitos de la cultura accidental.
Enrique Martinez Miura
Scherzo (S), 01. April 2007
13. März 2007

The redeeming factor therefore must come from all things musical and honours surely go to the orchestra which plays magnificently for Haenchen. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is the second Amsterdam orchestra and plays most of the productions at Het Muziektheater. Once a year the more famous Concertgebouw orchestra takes over and though the sound may be a little more brilliant it always strikes me as an orchestra on an outing while the Philharmonic’s warm sound and disciplined reading is more suited to opera. Haenchen prefers a transparent and lighter reading than usual. During these Ring performances he was the first to use the new Richard Wagner Gesamtausgabe and this results in an energetic reading, doing away with some of the slow tempi which were so loved by the German conductors of the thirties.
Jan Neckers
www.operatoday.com, 13. März 2007
13.März 2007
Hartmut Haenchen proves once more to be a master at the helm of his orchestra. He doesn’t milk the score for effect but Siegfried’s Rheinfart is beautiful in his quick silvered handling while the funeral music has one sit up and marvel once again at Wagner’s inspiration and orchestration. Haenchen gives his singers time to breath without hurrying them and the report between pit and scene is excellent. There seems to have been no incidents and if there were, the editing was done professionally.
Jan Neckers
www.operatoday.com, 13. März 2007
Operaliefhebbers: groot nieuws. U kunt de videobanden die u ooit opnam van de televisie-uitzendingen van de sensationele eerste Nederlandse uitvoering van Der Ring des Nibelungen uit 1999 weggooien. De complete tetralogie, samen ruim 14 uur superieur muziektheater, is nu op DVD gezet, op een wijze die volledig recht doet aan de imposante productie. Te beginnen bij het begin: Das Rheingold. ?

De Ring is een totaal megalomane onderneming, passend bij de mythische thematiek. De opzet zoals Wagner die bedacht had was eigenlijk nergens realiseerbaar, zodat er een speciaal theater gebouwd werd in Bayreuth. Dit groeide uit tot een soort bedevaartsoord waar nog steeds de jaarlijkse Festspiele georganiseerd worden.
Het project van De Nederlandse Opera, geregisseerd door Pierre Audi, in Het Muziektheater in Amsterdam moet een van de meest ambitieuze en vernieuwende uitvoeringen van de volledige Ring ooit zijn, zeker buiten Bayreuth. ??Deze ambitie toont zich in alle aspecten. Een topcast, schitterende kostuums en een decor dat amper in het qua podiumoppervlak toch al ruim bemeten Muziektheater past. Het bestaat uit in de hoogte beweegbare plateaus, waarbij het orkest op het podium tussen de spelers geplaatst is, en niet in een orkestbak. De zangers kunnen hierdoor tot vlak bij het publiek komen, waardoor ze niet steeds op vol volume hoeven te zingen.
Het ziet er fantastisch en futuristisch uit, wat ook wel nodig is als je complete werelden moet verbeelden, inclusief het Walhalla. Muzikaal maakte dirigent Hartmut Haenchen gebruik van kersverse nieuwe uitgaven van de partituren, waarin alle aanwijzingen van Wagner’s assistenten op basis van voortschrijdende inzicht verwerkt zijn. ??Het verhaal is gebaseerd op Scandinavische en Germaanse mythen en legenden, zoals de Edda, zodat het niet vreemd is dat er opvallende gelijkenissen zijn met Tolkiens’ In de ban van de Ring. Ook hier wordt een ring gesmeed die macht geeft, maar daarmee ook een grote last bezorgt. De prijs voor het dragen van de uit in de Rijn opgeslagen goud gesmede ring is namelijk een leven zonder liefde, want liefde en macht (goud) sluiten elkaar uit. (Een trouwring is dan ook een vreemd idee.) Achtereenvolgens ondergaan Alberich, de god Wodan en de reus Fafner de last van de ring. ??Als extra’s op de DVD`s zijn opgenomen een vijftig minuten durende documentaire over het hele project, met interviews met betrokkenen, en een uitgebreide synopsis, ondanks de ondertiteling geen overbodige luxe bij het complexe verhaal. Alles in perfecte beeld- en geluidskwaliteit. Een fantastisch project, waar we graag nog eens op terugkomen bij gelegenheid van een volgend deel. ???Aanvullende informatie: ?2 DVD’s, Speelduur: 206 minuten ?Beeld: 16:9 anamorf ?Geluid: stereo, 5.1 en DTS ?Uitvoerenden: John Bröcheler, Henk Smit, Graham Clark, Reinhild Runkel, Chris Merritt, Anne Gjevang; Residentie orkest o.l.v. Hartmut Haenchen ?Uitgave: Opus Arte ?Website de Nederlandse Opera: www.dno.nl
www.hifi.nl, 01. März 2007
www.audiophileaudition.com

Götterdämmerung

The performances from the orchestra and soloists are generally first-rate....,
Tom Gibbs
www.audiophileaudition.com, 12. Januar 2007
....Über möglichen kritischen Anmerkungen steht jedoch Hartmut Haenchen, denn seine Sicht auf die Partitur muss sich keineswegs hinter anderen wichtigen „Ring“-Ergebnissen der 90er-Jahre verstecken (z.B. denen von Levine, Barenboim, Mehta oder Haitink). Basierend auf einem akribischen Partiturstudium und dem aktuellen Stand der Wissenschaft, dirigiert er mit eher zügigen Tempi und einem schlanken Musizierstil, der nicht mit Unemotionalität verwechselt werden sollte.
Manche Details klingen unter seiner Leitung im positiven Sinne anders, vor allem in der „Walküre“.....Technische Meisterleistungen und ausdrucksstarke Bilder prägen denn auch neben dem Dirigat den Gesamteindruck.
M.Wilks
Das Opernglas, Heft 10, 2006, 28. Oktober 2006
The Amsterdam Ring
reviewed by Katerina Haka-Ikse


The 1999 Ring at the Muziektheater was the first full cycle produced in Amsterdam after 50 or so years. Das Rheingold was presented in 1997 and Die Walküre the year after, in preparation for the four cycles staged last June.

The production was an exuberant sometimes audacious exercise subject as such to excesses and pitfalls. The production team was more than usually multinational with Director Lebanese Pierre Audi, Stage Designer Russian George Tsypin, Lighting Director German Wolfgang Göbbel, Costume Designer Japanese Eiko Ishioka and Choreographer Iranian Amir Hosseinpour.

The (Non) Concept:?The team's manifesto was the move away from "concept" productions and back into the mythical context of the tetralogy. The message was conveyed in several ways: the stage was made expansively vast to evoke impressions of cosmic creation. It was at all times open with just a reminder of the curtain, a metallic rectangle covering only a miniscule fraction of the open space. To gain the additional stage space the proscenium was extended at the sacrifice of the pit and the first 2-3 seat rows. By necessity if not by design, the orchestra was positioned in full view on the stage. There were no boundaries between the performers, the musicians and the audience, neither between the stage and the amphitheater. Strangely enough this blending did not appear incongruous even when cavemen and people in tails were next to each other on the stage or Alberich descended into the audience. Primal elements--water, wood, metal and stone--were brought in as well to create the theme for each successive music drama. Reminders of animal origins were added here and there: Alberich's maleness display to the Rhinemaidens; Mime's disguise into a hairy, waspy insect with spidery fingers and his performing a bodily act of dominance over dead Fafner's body; Hagen's sniffing Siegfried upon his arrival at the Gibichung's Hall.
To symbolize adversity as a central theme of the Ring the orchestra's positioning on stage rotated from one drama to the next in a counterclockwise direction. Another reminder of the Ring's doomed destiny was the gradual elimination of exits from the stage until in Götterdämmerung there was but one left. The steep stage surfaces upon which the action took place were to represent the precarious, life--on the edge fate of the protagonists. The cleverly but perilously suspended on each side of the stage "Adventure Seats" reserved for the intrepid rock climbing crowd who watched the events from Olympian heights, contributed to impart a sense of imminent danger.
Regrettably, the grandiose background led eventually to audience fatigue if not alienation. As the setting was not always matched with equal grandiosity from the performers it detracted from the intensity of the drama and yes, sometimes from the music.

The Orchestras:?Hartmut Haenchen had the difficult task to direct three orchestras: the Residentie Orkest in Rheingold, the Netherlands Philarmonic in Walküre and Götterdämmerung, the Rotterdams Philarmonic in Siegfried. He did so with ease and firm control, managing to convey unity and articulate clearly the motives. The cavernous stage and the rotating positioning of the orchestra presented acoustical problems partly resolved by the use of overhanging panels which doubled on occasion as, scenery parts. There were great moments, particularly by the Rotterdams strings. There were also disappointments such as the almost inaudible hammering at the Nibelheim, the lack of lustre at the conclusion of Götterdämmerung.
Das Rheingold had a flowing, seamless quality, having been revised after earlier presentations. It was the most polished of the four Ring parts.
The Rhinemaidens, clad in red, garrish, curve exaggerating snorkeling outfits, swam on a steep, transparent platform representing the Rhine. Cudos are due to Alberich (Henk Smit) for his velvety baritone and his perfect rendering of the anti-hero's role. He filled the gamut of frustrated lust at the Rhinemaidens' cruel teasing to spasms of rage at his humiliation and victimization by Wotan. The struggle between the two when in the second act they played tug pulling on the rope with which Alberich was tied up, created electric tension. The curse was chilling, vocally and dramatically. In comparison, John Bröcheler was a pale Wotan, lacking majesty, consumed by greediness and his own anxieties. Loge (Chris Merritt) sported the Nibelungs' flattened cranium to insinuate that-- according to the readers of the Scriptures--he was himself half-Nibelung. He was tepid, tying and untying knots on his scarf to symbolize his machinations. Loge's name deriving from the Greek word logos (reason) should suggest a nobler interpretation of the role.

Peter Mikulas and Carsten Stabell as the giants Fasolt and Fafner for the Netherland's Opera (photo: Ruth Walz)
The giants (Peter Mikulas as Fasolt and Carsten Stabbel as Fafner) were vocally authoritative and imposing in gray, foam rubber suits closely emulating all anatomical contours and with high head gear which gave them the necessary mass and placed them in another rank than the elaborately costumed Gods and the E.T.-like earth coloured, head flattened Nibelungs.
This was the only production I know of, where Wotan did not keep dancing around or brandishing the spear which was instead suspended free in mid-stage, touched only in crucial moments, when it was used to slay Fasolt, for example.
Alberich's metamorphosis into a dragon was most effective with projector lights as eyes and long metallic cylinders as tentacles. This was a welcome change from the barely noticeable Nibelung smithy which conveyed little of the dwarfs' anguished toiling. Anne Gjevang's Erda was mesmerizing, entering and exiting in slow majestic motion, not exposed to the usual gimmicky indignities of springing out of the earth or bundles of cloth. But why was she made to wear vampish high heel sandals?
DIe Walküre stage was dominated by a wide, semi-circular wooden ramp climbing up to full height. Many colours of wood were crafted together, emphasizing the sweeping movement of the ramp. In the hollow created by the ramp's sweep lay the orchestra. A large beam horizontally hung over the stage was the ash tree on which the sword and several spear-like projections were attached. Hunding's hut, a mere garden shed, was standing on the beam-ash tree. The performers had to run up and down the ramp which made one feel sympathetic for Jeannine Altmeyer (Sieglinde on that cycle) who, as the gossip goes suffers from fear of heights: she needed special coaching to negotiate the ramp's challenges apart from wearing, as all performers had to, specially treated shoes to grip on the steep, polished surfaces. John Keyes' Siegmund was tormented, movingly sung. Kurt Rydl (Hunding) carried easily Act I with his powerful presence and his effortless, authoritative bass. The doomed twins were not helped by the lighting effect that substituted for the door's opening to spring; this was hardly perceptible and the magic of that moment lost. This was just one example of the unevenness of the lighting throughout the production: it ranged between the unnecessarily explosive (which earned Audi the nickname of pyromaniac by the local press) to the anemic. Gobell saved his pyrotechnics for the end of the first act when Hunding's hut went up in flames as the twins ran away.
Bröcheler as the aging Wotan showed increasing depth and range of emotion in his encounter with Fricka but she was the winner and not only in their dispute. Reinhild Runkel's Fricka was old and incapacitated, moving slowly with the help of two canes. The rams pulling her chariot in the text were now the handles of her canes. As she flashed them under Wotan's eyes, she was really claiming the Wälsungs' heads. Fricka's physical disability in sharp contrast with her strong mezzo and the power of her dialectic was a tremendous dramatic vehicle for the role.
The Valkyries, in black coats, shiny helmets (no horns!) and silvery wings attached to their sleeves danced in circles with no reference to their equestrian nature. Nadine Secunde was an experienced but no exciting Brünnhilde. Altmeyer made a good statement with a resounding Redemption motive.
Wotan's self reproach and self search, also his confrontation with Brünnhilde in Act 2 were quite convincing--he kneeled by dead Siegmund in a moment of utter grief and humility. He was superb in his contemptuous dismissal of Hunding, so god-like as there was no wonder of its fatal consequences. In the last act, Wotan leads Brünnhilde to the magic sleep, which provides a fitting closure. Instead of the fire circle there was a rectangular glass-illuminated wall in the background with an extension of red lighting– not a remarkable solution and not comfortable to the eye either, as many people from the audience complained.
In Siegfried the curse of Alberich seems to become more potent with time. The target now seems to be Siegfried in the person of the heldentenors trying the role with more or less mediocre results. The Siegfried of today is small in stature (in real and figurative terms), oftentimes in voice, invariably attired in whimsical costumes and having very little in common with an heroic character. One suspects that all these have by now become genetic traits. Heinz Kruse who was Siegfried in Amsterdam fits the description of the syndrome to a tee; moreover he lost almost completely his voice as he was wooing Brünnhilde. Covered by a long overcoat he was miniscule next to his huge sword and-- ultimate insult--he was made to carry a child's backpack in the form of a furry animal. The curse took an unexpected turn when on the opening night, eagerly running to take his bow Kruse fell and suffered a fracture, had to be replaced in the following Götterdämmerung performance.

Graham Clarke's Mime or Mime's Graham Clarke (one tends by now to confuse the role with the performer) is still refreshing after this tediousness. Clarke is not really singing anymore but who cares as long as he displays his histrionics? His concoction of the potion is becoming increasingly bizarre: in this particular instance he worked himself into a frenzy, adding to the potion Sieglinde's hair which he kept under his mattress together with the Nothung fragment.
The staging failed again to take advantage of the dramatic fabric. There was nothing fearsome about sleepy, weary Fafner who in his familiar bodysuit allowed himself sheepishly to be killed by his own dagger. Except for some lighting effects there was no notion of Fafner as dragon which removed any reason for anybody--let alone naïve Siegfried--to experience fear at his sight. The Woodbird was sung beautifully in a pure crystalline boy soprano voice. Stephen Pangratz in the role dressed in white satin carried on a pantomime translating for Siegfried's benefit the real meaning of Mime's expression of affection and care.
Erda's and Wotan's encounter was at times poetic, at times sexist (in his attempts to seduce her into responding to his quest) or brutal (as he pushed her in frustration into a pit). Wotan conveyed an appropriate range of reactions as he guided, tested and finally challenged Siegfried.
The delight experienced from the love duet was marred by the constant motion away from each other of the protagonists: it seems that this solution was dictated by their unequal size so that they only came close together when at the very end Brünnhilde knelt by her lover.

At the start of Götterdämmerung the Norns made us take a fresher look at Erda's usually dilapidated daughters. In this Ring they were lissome, dignified, mature women in control despite their wonder about and awe at the premonition of the fateful events to come. They did weave destiny on small looms hanging as collars from their necks. As the huge rope broke and they fell, a red cloth unfolded between them. In retrospect, this device was the same as the one later emulating the fire to engulf Brünnhilde and the Gods. The Nom scene was one of few intensely absorbing sequences of this staging.
Wotan's earlier blessing of Alberich's son was equally potent as the Nibelung's curse. Consequently, Hagen in the person of Kurt Rydl was magnificent. This was not only the revenge of the Nibelungs but also of the basses who redeemed the vocal side of the production. Rydl eclipsed the rest of the cast by his presence, both brutal and magnetic and his stentorian voice.
Gunther and Gutrune were properly understated; also they did not have the choice next to their formidable half brother. The insistence on their incestuous relationship was overblown and a little annoying: Gutrune's girlish motive does not match well her interpretation as temptress.
Some controversy was created about Brünnhilde's rape by Gunther who appeared on her rock dressed in black robes similar to Siegfried's. Whether the rape was real or imagined, who was in fact the perpetrator, whether drawing of the sword symbolized otherwise than it's generally accepted meaning and other such idle musings brought up some discord between the purists who disliked this twist and those who enjoyed a little riddle, however heretic it's subject.

The Vassals in armour and with faces shielded by helmets looked and moved in robot- like fashion, a spineless and amorphous mass which monotony was broken up only by some lighting changes. They managed to dampen even Hagen's dynamism, contributed to the lack of tension when Brünnhilde was paraded at the Gibichung's Hall. The conspiracy scene was powerful, again dominated by Hagen.
After his frolicking with the Rhinemaidens, now in greenish snorkeling gear, Siegfried woke up from his slumber to intone mellifluously his narration and more so the Woodbird motive before his demise.
The denouement was low key with the funeral procession small in size and making only a token appearance. Brünnhilde perished under the same red cloth that engulfed the Norns. It was all quite anticlimactic.
An interesting production? Yes. A great production? I don't think so. The excitement was not there and on the whole there was little integration of the music-drama elements. Are we ever going to enjoy the perfect Ring?
http://richard_wagner.tripod.com, 28. Oktober 2006
www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk

Siegfried
Hartmut Haenchen (conducting the brilliant Rotterdam Philharmonic) conducts with some brisk tempi, but still leaves time for the music to breathe where necessary, and the Act III prelude has quite an effect in DTS when you turn the volume up – as I’m sure my neighbours will testify.
Overall, another successful episode from the Amsterdam Ring, and one which is a definite improvement on the Siegfried from Barcelona (also reviewed). I’m looking forward to the final chapter.
Götterdämmerung
Musically, Hartmut Haenchen produces just the right amount of dramatic intensity, and the Netherlands Philharmonic play very well indeed, although overall, I preferred the sound of the Rotterdam Phil in their parts of the cycle. The larger orchestra interludes though (notably the Rhein journey and the funeral music) are as good as you would want them with very little on stage to get in the way of the music (there is definitely no surfing down the Rhein nonsense in last year’s ENO production)..

...this is a fitting conclusion to a fine Ring Cycle, and one which certainly stands up well against the growing number of DVD versions being made available..
Alan Titherington
www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk, 28. Oktober 2006
Elsevier 2006, Heft 26

DVD klassiek: Huisdier Wagner

Regisseur uit Beiroet temt god van Bayreuth

Pierre Audi, Hartmut Haenchen, Nederlandse opera : Wagners das Rheingold
(2-dvd), die Walküre (3-dvd), Siegfried (3-dvd), Götterdämmerung (3-dvd),
Tezamen der Ring des Nibelungen

Pierre Audi is geboren in Beiroet (1957). Een Wagneriaanse
voorbestemming, zo lijkt het. Deze Frans-Libanese regisseur zou 42 jaar
later in Amsterdam het Beierse Bayreuth van Richard Wagner binnenstebuiten
keren.

In Bayreuth had componist Richard Wagner (1813-1883) zijn eigen theater
laten bouwen, met een intiem podium en het omvangrijke symfonieorkest
verzonken in een diepe orkestbak. Precies 130 jaar geleden, in 1876, ging
in Bayreuth Wagners tetralogie Der Ring des Nibelungen in première: ein
Bühnenfestspiel für drei Tage und einen Vorabend. Het gaat om ruim
veertien uur muziekdrama, maar dan is het godenrijk ook wel in vlammen
opgegaan.

In Bayreuth comprimeerde de diepe orkestbak de klank. Audi draait in het
Amsterdamse Muziektheater, waar hij artistiek directeur is van de
Nederlandse Opera, de zaak om: het orkest bevindt zich midden in de
handeling, centraal op het podium. Bij Das Rheingold (Vorabend) zit er het
Residentie Orkest, bij Die Walküre (Erster Tag) en Götterdämmerung
(Dritter Tag) het Nederlands en bij Siegfried (Zweiter Tag) het Rotterdams
Philharmonisch Orkest. Hartmut Haenchen dirigeert het geluid prachtig
open, tot in de meest gefacetteerde details.


Om het orkest heen loopt een houten schijf ˆ zeg: een ring ˆ die elke
keer anders in de ruimte is geplaatst. Over die vicieuze cirkel bewegen
zich de operapersonages, en het operapubliek zit er met de neus bovenop.
'Er zijn geen decors,‚ zegt Audi, maar de werkelijkheid waarin wordt
gespeeld, is suggestief. Er is gekleurd licht, echt vuur en een hoog
Indiana Jones-gehalte.

Heldentenor Heinz Kruse heeft als Siegfried een dom-sensueel, verwend
hoofd. Dat treft: Wagners Nieuwe Mens is immers gevaarlijk mislukt en als
een Frankenstein uit de werkplaats van de componist te voorschijn gekomen.
En deinst er niet voor terug iemand die hem irriteert, zomaar dood te
slaan.

Het is geen toeval dat de Wagnerknop werd omgedraaid in Nederland. Alleen
in deze tot voor kort zo nuchtere natie kon Wagner worden verlost van zijn
eigen verstikkende dampen. Wagner zat net als zijn dwergen, reuzen en
goden klem tussen zijn lusten, lasten en de macht.

Bayreuth lag niet voor niks tussen de centra Berlijn (Pruisen) en München
(Beieren), Wagner zat in de bilnaad van de macht. Luister naar de
tritonus: dat akelige interval. Dat is nou precies de bilnaad van het
octaaf, zo leggen componist Peter-Jan Wagemans en pianist Stefan Mickisch
in de toelichting keurig uit.

Het was allemaal al een keer op televisie te zien, net als The Forging of
the Ring, de bijgevoegde documentaire van Roeland Hazendonk. Maar nu heb
je het onder handbereik. Audi‚s schitterende productie zal zo tot in
lengte van dagen plezier genereren.

Deze Ring geeft je macht over Bayreuth. De blaffende Wagner als huisdier.
Iedereen kan hem in de beslotenheid van de eigen woning laten opzitten en
pootjes geven. Heerlijk gevoel.
Elsevier, 30. September 2006
Eigenlijk is het een beetje jammer dat Opus Arte niet de laatste serie van de Amsterdamse Ring heeft opgenomen. Niet alleen was de bezetting van de hoofdrollen (op Graham Clark na allemaal nieuwkomers) iets beter, maar ook de voorstellingen zelf straalden een volmaaktheid uit die je alleen maar na een langdurige en intensieve samenwerking kan bereiken. Toch mogen we niet klagen, want Audi’s visie op Wagners magnum opus is één van de beste. Door de nauwe samenwerking met George Tsypin (decors), Eiko Ishioka (kostuums) en de dirigent Hartmut Haenchen is een totaalmuziektheater ontstaan, waarin ook het orkest een belangrijke rol speelt. De dvd-registratie is zeer kundig gemaakt. Er is gefilmd vanuit verschillende hoeken, waardoor je je temidden van het geheel waant en zo kan deelnemen aan de actie. En die is spectaculair, met special effects die niet zouden misstaan in een Hollywood-productie. Is Siegfried doorgaans het zwakste en minst dramatische deel van de tetralogie, in de Amsterdamse versie verveel je je geen seconde en is de spanning zeer voelbaar. Graham
Clarks Mime, hier in de gedaante van een weerzinwekkend insect, vormt zoals altijd het hoogtepunt van de voorstelling.

Basia Jaworski
www.klassiekezaken.nl, 01. September 2006
www.resmusica.com
La direction de Hartmut Haenchen reste l’autre gros point fort de cet opéra. Le chef d’orchestre s’est appuyé sur une nouvelle édition du Ring et sur les remarques de Wagner par rapport aux différentes interprétations. Il en résulte un Wagner décapé et étincelant. L’orchestre, mené assez rapidement, sonne vif alors que les dynamiques s’avèrent savamment dosée. Placé au centre du dispositif scénique, dans une fosse surélevée le Residentie Orkest de La Haye se sort avec brio d’une telle partition.
Pierre-Jean Tribot
www.resmusica.com, 01. September 2006
www.resmusica.com

le chef Harmut Haenchen fait encore des étincelles. À la tête d’un étincelant Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays-Bas, il campe un Wagner allégé, vif, bondissant mais terriblement dramatique et tendu comme un arc.
Pierre-Jean Tribot
www.resmusica.com, 01. September 2006
At last we have a contemporary treatment of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen that doesn't insult audiences. This production is based on the new "Complete Edition of the works of Richard Wagner," and considerable discussion is given to the numerous (thousands it states) minor changes based on Wagner's notes after the time of the premiere. I doubt most listeners would be aware of these except for faster tempi than usual ("Don't drag...it's not an aria!" Wagner said referring to Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung). What is important in these performances is the imaginative staging—the stage circles into the audience with the orchestra pit in the center but at only a slightly lower level than the "stage." Sets by George Tsypin are basic but believable, costumes designed by Eiko Ishioka are imaginative and appropriate (the DVD cover shows Brünnhilde's), and Pierre Audi's stage direction is compelling.

All of this is remarkably impressive visually but would be for naught if the singing didn't do justice to Wagner's masterpieces—and generally it does, considering the state of Wagnerian singing today. John Bröcheler's Wotan/Wanderer is uniformly strong, and there is a welcome appearance of Chris Merritt as Loge, a role far removed from the tenor's earlier high-tenor parts that brought him fame, but right for him now. Henk Smit and Graham Clark as Alberich and Mime, vividly portray these disreputable characters. Renihild Runkel is a solid, vocally secure Fricka, Anne Gjevang a strong Erda. Nadine Secunde's Sieglinde gets better as Walküre progresses; by the time of "O hehrstes Wunder!" in Act III she is in excellent form. Likewise, Jeannine Altmeyer's Brünnhilde, rather stressed in her Battle Cry, improves in Act III and her big scene with Wotan is superb. John Keyes isn't a true heldentenor, but he copes well with the demanding role of Siegmund, and visually he is totally convincing. This is the finest batch of Valkyries I've ever heard; no question that one or two of them will be singing major Wagner roles sometime soon. The orchestra (Hague Residentie Orchestra for Rheingold, Netherlands Philharmonic for Walküre), are excellent, and conductor Hartmut Haenchen proves to be a fine Wagnerian conductor. The 5.1 surround sound is full and rich with fine balance between orchestra and singers, photography is superb with the camera almost always in the right spot. I look forward to Siegfried and Götterdämmerung; this is an admirable Ring
www.classicalcdreview.com, 27. Juni 2006
When I reviewed Das Rheingold in the same cycle just a couple of months ago I was eventually won over by the production as a whole, even though I was less impressed by the singing (see review).

The present production is even more sparse with the action taking place on a kind of running-track surrounding the orchestra which itself is immersed in the middle of the stage but fully visible. The players remain an integral part of the action as well as producing an orchestral sound that challenges and even surpasses most of what is encountered on competing versions, whether it be sound only or DVDs. I have to admit that I am not fully updated on all the different versions of this opera that are currently available and so I will concentrate on a description and an assessment of the present issue with some references to other versions that I am familiar with. Some readers may have read my reviews - on Seen and Heard - of the ongoing new Ring from Stockholm Royal Opera, where Die Walküre was premiered at the end of February. I saw it a few weeks later and was enthralled. This “peeled off” production is a world apart from the Stockholm version but to my mind both are thought-provoking alternatives. The Dutch performance has a lot to its credit, not least the quality of timelessness – if that is what it is. The absence of references to milieus and epochs forces the viewer to focus on the interactions and conflicts between the main characters and that is the real strength of this performance.

The focus on the orchestra also pays dividends, as I hinted at the beginning and it is a pleasure to wallow in the sound of this well-rehearsed band. Listen to the lush string sound, especially in the first act love music which rarely has been so sensually and, dare I say, sexually coloured. Hartmut Haenchen may not be known as a Wagnerian, but just as in Das Rheingold, he won me over fairly early in the first act. Not from the very beginning though, since the stormy prelude seemed a notch too fast and too streamlined. Maybe it was all too well-rehearsed and had lost something of the raw power of nature. In this respect no recording that I have heard surpasses the old Furtwängler, which I hope will be released in Naxos’s ongoing series of classic opera sets. The rest of the performance feels absolutely right. The only problem with the placing of the orchestra is that some of the soloists do not always manage to be heard properly at climaxes; Haenchen obviously has no wish to hold back. This afflicts, most of all, Jeannine Altmayer’s Brünnhilde, who, although creating a wonderful portrait of Wotan’s favourite daughter, lacks the ultimate steel and, more seriously, is rather weak at the bottom of her register. However with such glorious playing one can gladly sacrifice a note or two of the soprano part. Sets and backdrop are practically non-existent. The costumes get pride of place and even they are not very stirring. Sieglinde looks at first like a run-away nun. Brünnhilde makes her first entrance in a dark-brown tight-fitting jogging-dress. When she takes on her duties as a Walküre, she adds metallic wings, which her sisters also wear in the third act. Wotan, in a red knee-length coat, has a kind of metal armour covering his right shoulder and part of his arm, maybe indicating that he is half-God but also half-human. Anyway, when he gets really private and personal in his exchange of thoughts with Brünnhilde in the third act, he removes the armour. Fricka, all white, has aged considerably, becoming frail and stumbling along on crutches, but when Wotan in anger tears them away from her she is fully capable of walking at full speed. She uses all her means to rule poor Wotan.

Much of the performance is filmed in close-up and since most of the principal singers are also good actors this enhances the feeling of presence and involvement. Reinhild Runkel is very impressive indeed as Fricka, her eyes very telling. She sings her part much better than she did in Das Rheingold, maybe partly because here she sounds her looks (or looks her sounds). Nadine Secunde, who was also Barenboim’s Sieglinde in the Bayreuth production from 1992, has lost some of her sonority and adopts an annoying wobble which becomes prominent when the voice is under pressure. That said, she has retained, and even developed, her insight in the role and at more restrained moments, which are legion, her reading of the part is extremely touching. John Keynes, a name new to me, also has a wobble, which initially is troublesome but either I got used to it or else he managed to keep it better in check as the performance progressed. In spite of these shortcomings he makes a good Siegmund, deeply involved, creating a nuanced portrait of his character and singing with a manly voice with a great deal of brilliance. He delivers a glowing spring song. As Hunding Kurt Rydl is imposing, black-voiced and threatening.

Jeannine Altmeyer has been around for some time now; she was Brünnhilde on the first digital Ring, released in 1983. Even then she was regarded by some critics as too light-voiced. The same criticism could be posed seventeen years later. It is still a beautiful voice, fairly unscathed by the passing years and she has stage presence. In the final duet with Wotan she is very vulnerable and touching. The real pillar of strength is, however, John Bröcheler as the Chief of the Gods. He is a singer in the John Tomlinson mould, maybe not quite as big-voiced and somewhat drier of tone but he is still powerful, intense and untiring. In the final scene he grows to heroic and tragic heights and from In festen Schlaf verschliess’ ich dich he gains even more dignity. Leb’wohl du kühnes, herrliches Kind up till the very end is great singing indeed with an added sonority and warmth that is heart-rending.

In sheer vocal terms the Barenboim version may be even more recommendable but the visual impact of this Spartan production is such that it will not be easily forgotten. It is recorded in surround sound. I heard it in ordinary stereo, which sounded excellent, and there is a good booklet. There is also an introduction to the opera. All in all this a quality product.

Göran Forsling
www.musicweb-international.com, 27. Juni 2006
In the fourth and final part of the epic cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen, the treachery and betrayal which leads to Siegfried’s death also heralds the downfall of the gods and the return of the gold to the Rhine. This stunning production of The Ring from Het Muziektheater Amsterdam blends the lyrical, mythical and philosophical qualities of Wagner’s work into a profound unity. Pierre Audi’s stage direction is inspired and amazing sets by George Tsypin and wonderful costumes by Oscar-winning Eiko Ishioka complement singing and playing of great intensity from the cast and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra under Hartmut Haenchen’s visionary musical direction. This is a Ring to remember.This production of The Ring of the Nibelung is based on the new Complete Edition of the works of Richard Wagner.
www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk, 27. Juni 2006
De eerste Nederlandse productie van Der Ring des Nibelungen werd inderdaad de gebeurtenis waarop iedereen gehoopt had. Dat sprak niet voor zich en ik kan me voorstellen dat in het verleden menig plan voor een 'eerste Ring' werd verworpen vanwege de (te) hoog gespannen verwachtingen. Wat dat betreft hebben theaters waar deze cyclus tot het standaardrepertoire behoort het heel wat makkelijker. Er was dan ook een Pierre Audi voor nodig om deze klus te klaren: een regisseur die erin slaagde een volledig origineel concept te creëren, dat enerzijds nieuw en nooit eerder vertoond was, maar anderzijds de essentie van Wagners werk in stand hield door niet modieus te gaan 'interpreteren'. Deze eerste Ring mocht geen controverse oproepen tussen 'oude wagnerianen' en aanhangers van het 'nieuwe muziektheater', en daarin is Audi wonderwel geslaagd. Zijn ruimtelijke aanpak, ondersteund door de suggestieve, bij tijden oogverblindende decors van George Tsypin, fabelachtig mooi belicht door Wolfgang Göbbel, zorgde ook voor een Ring die alleen in Het Muziektheater mogelijk is en ondersteunde daarmee de essentie van Wagners eigen dramaturgie. Het theater met een ware zeggingskracht kan alleen maar bedoeld zijn voor een bepaald publiek op een bepaalde plaats. Een inwisselbare reisproductie die overal vertoond kan worden, wordt al snel tot een puur esthetische ervaring of op zijn minst tot een bevrediging van verwachtingen - artistieke prostitutie dus.

Sinds de première op 4 september 1997 is over Audi's productie van Das Rheingold al uitvoerig bericht, maar het fascinerende is dat de voorstelling na al die tijd (voor mij betekent dat zes voorstellingen en twee tv-uitzendingen) nog steeds blijft boeien, ondanks het feit dat Audi in deze 'vooravond' soms wal al te abstract bezig is met het leggen van een dramatisch fundament. Sommige personages komen nauwelijks uit de verf en het gebeurde me meer dan eens dat ik de zaal uit kwam en me bijvoorbeeld niets meer herinnerde van Fricka, een rol die muzikaal toch zeker niet kleurloos genoemd kan worden, en die ook in het verhaal enkele malen prominent aanwezig is. Het lijkt of Audi zich zo sterk concentreerde op de machtsstrijd rond Wotan, Loge, de Nibelungen en het goud, dat de 'nevengoden' (met uitzondering van Erda) tot marionetten gereduceerd werden. Aan de andere kant moet ik ook zeggen dat het een paar voorstellingen heeft geduurd eer ik me dat realiseerde - zo overweldigend kwam het visuele aspect in de zaal op mij over. Dat overweldigende en ook de technische complexiteit van deze productie valt in de huiskamer duidelijk af te zien aan deze dvd-uitgave, gebaseerd op de NPS-opname uit 1999. (Een andere kant van de medaille is, dat ik in Het Muziektheater tot twee keer toe een 'Rheingold met pauze' mocht meemaken, omdat de techniek het liet afweten.)

Ook muzikaal blijft deze Ring imponeren ("Auch musikalisch bleibt dieser Ring imposant"), al moet ik daarbij een paar kanttekeningen maken. Op dit punt prefereer ik namelijk de voorstellingen van vorig jaar, toen Hartmut Haenchen, mede doordat hij de hele Ring met 'zijn ' NedPhO kon spelen, een niet alleen gerijpte, maar ook intensere weergave gaf van de partituur dan in 1999, toen hij verschillende orkesten tot zijn beschikking had. Ook de solisten waren vorig jaar op punten beter, en dan denk ik vooral aan de Wotan van Albert Dohmen en de Fricka van Doris Soffel. Geen kwaad woord echter over John Bröcheler en Reinhild Runkel, al gaat de erepalm hier toch naar Chris Merritt (een messcherpe Loge), Graham Clark (de meest gedetailleerde mime die ik ooit gezien heb) en Henk Smit. Vooral Smit verdient een gouden lijstje, omdat hij tegen het einde van zijn toch al grootse carrière hier nog even een Alberich neerzette waarmee hij deze vileine dwerg tot het ware centrum van het drama maakte.

Over de technische verzorging kan ik kort zijn. De kwaliteit waarmee de NPS beeld en geluid vastlegt (of laat vastleggen) staat internationaal op eenzaam niveau en de vrijwel perfecte weergave via de dvd (in normaal stereo en dts) maakt dat ook hier weer eens duidelijk. Sterker nog: nooit eerder had ik zo sterk het gevoel dat een voorstelling bijna voor het beeldscherm gemaakt was! Bij wijze van uitzondering is trouwens ook het meegeleverde boekje met naast enkele foto's een gedegen toelichting van Hartmut Haenchen de moeite waard. De ruimte die op de tweede cd overbleef, werd ingeruimd voor de vijftig minuten durende documentaire die Roeland Hazendonk maakte over deze absoluut unieke productie van Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Paul Korenhof
www.audio-muziek.nl, 01. Juni 2006
Das Rheingold
De eerste Nederlandse productie van Der Ring des Nibelungen werd inderdaad de gebeurtenis waarop iedereen gehoopt had. Dat sprak niet voor zich en ik kan me voorstellen dat in het verleden menig plan voor een 'eerste Ring' werd verworpen vanwege de (te) hoog gespannen verwachtingen. Wat dat betreft hebben theaters waar deze cyclus tot het standaardrepertoire behoort het heel wat makkelijker. Er was dan ook een Pierre Audi voor nodig om deze klus te klaren: een regisseur die erin slaagde een volledig origineel concept te creëren, dat enerzijds nieuw en nooit eerder vertoond was, maar anderzijds de essentie van Wagners werk in stand hield door niet modieus te gaan 'interpreteren'. Deze eerste Ring mocht geen controverse oproepen tussen 'oude wagnerianen' en aanhangers van het 'nieuwe muziektheater', en daarin is Audi wonderwel geslaagd. Zijn ruimtelijke aanpak, ondersteund door de suggestieve, bij tijden oogverblindende decors van George Tsypin, fabelachtig mooi belicht door Wolfgang Göbbel, zorgde ook voor een Ring die alleen in Het Muziektheater mogelijk is en ondersteunde daarmee de essentie van Wagners eigen dramaturgie. Het theater met een ware zeggingskracht kan alleen maar bedoeld zijn voor een bepaald publiek op een bepaalde plaats. Een inwisselbare reisproductie die overal vertoond kan worden, wordt al snel tot een puur esthetische ervaring of op zijn minst tot een bevrediging van verwachtingen - artistieke prostitutie dus.

Sinds de première op 4 september 1997 is over Audi's productie van Das Rheingold al uitvoerig bericht, maar het fascinerende is dat de voorstelling na al die tijd (voor mij betekent dat zes voorstellingen en twee tv-uitzendingen) nog steeds blijft boeien, ondanks het feit dat Audi in deze 'vooravond' soms wal al te abstract bezig is met het leggen van een dramatisch fundament. Sommige personages komen nauwelijks uit de verf en het gebeurde me meer dan eens dat ik de zaal uit kwam en me bijvoorbeeld niets meer herinnerde van Fricka, een rol die muzikaal toch zeker niet kleurloos genoemd kan worden, en die ook in het verhaal enkele malen prominent aanwezig is. Het lijkt of Audi zich zo sterk concentreerde op de machtsstrijd rond Wotan, Loge, de Nibelungen en het goud, dat de 'nevengoden' (met uitzondering van Erda) tot marionetten gereduceerd werden. Aan de andere kant moet ik ook zeggen dat het een paar voorstellingen heeft geduurd eer ik me dat realiseerde - zo overweldigend kwam het visuele aspect in de zaal op mij over. Dat overweldigende en ook de technische complexiteit van deze productie valt in de huiskamer duidelijk af te zien aan deze dvd-uitgave, gebaseerd op de NPS-opname uit 1999. (Een andere kant van de medaille is, dat ik in Het Muziektheater tot twee keer toe een 'Rheingold met pauze' mocht meemaken, omdat de techniek het liet afweten.)

Ook muzikaal blijft deze Ring imponeren ("Auch musikalisch bleibt dieser Ring imposant"), al moet ik daarbij een paar kanttekeningen maken. Op dit punt prefereer ik namelijk de voorstellingen van vorig jaar, toen Hartmut Haenchen, mede doordat hij de hele Ring met 'zijn ' NedPhO kon spelen, een niet alleen gerijpte, maar ook intensere weergave gaf van de partituur dan in 1999, toen hij verschillende orkesten tot zijn beschikking had. Ook de solisten waren vorig jaar op punten beter, en dan denk ik vooral aan de Wotan van Albert Dohmen en de Fricka van Doris Soffel. Geen kwaad woord echter over John Bröcheler en Reinhild Runkel, al gaat de erepalm hier toch naar Chris Merritt (een messcherpe Loge), Graham Clark (de meest gedetailleerde mime die ik ooit gezien heb) en Henk Smit. Vooral Smit verdient een gouden lijstje, omdat hij tegen het einde van zijn toch al grootse carrière hier nog even een Alberich neerzette waarmee hij deze vileine dwerg tot het ware centrum van het drama maakte.

Over de technische verzorging kan ik kort zijn. De kwaliteit waarmee de NPS beeld en geluid vastlegt (of laat vastleggen) staat internationaal op eenzaam niveau en de vrijwel perfecte weergave via de dvd (in normaal stereo en dts) maakt dat ook hier weer eens duidelijk. Sterker nog: nooit eerder had ik zo sterk het gevoel dat een voorstelling bijna voor het beeldscherm gemaakt was! Bij wijze van uitzondering is trouwens ook het meegeleverde boekje met naast enkele foto's een gedegen toelichting van Hartmut Haenchen de moeite waard. De ruimte die op de tweede cd overbleef, werd ingeruimd voor de vijftig minuten durende documentaire die Roeland Hazendonk maakte over deze absoluut unieke productie van Der Ring des Nibelungen.

Paul Korenhof
www.audio-muziek.nl, 08. Mai 2006
"Haenchen generally takes things at a fairly brisk pace which creates a nice flow (...) The orchestral playing is excellent. I’m looking forward to the rest of this particular Ring."

Alan Titherington
www.dvd.reviewer.co.uk, 01. Mai 2006
de muzikale prestaties van dirigent Hartmut Haenchen die Wagners muziek slanker, eleganter, transparanter dan ooit liet klinken.

Doron Nagan
www.klassiekezaken.nl, 01. Mai 2006
Most interestingly, Audi wanted to bring out the integral drama in the music. At Bayreuth, Wagner hid the orchestra in a pit below the stage. For Audi, the music is so important that he wants the orchestra to be part of the action in a visible, physical sense, too. The audience thus is seated around the orchestra who are visible at all times. This creates a different, but very dynamic acoustic. Surprisingly, the singers found it enjoyable even though they were facing the orchestra. Graham Clark said that when you’re "eyeball to eyeball" with audience and musicians, your focus adapts. The conductor, Hartmut Haenchen adds that many Wagnerian singers shout and ruin their voices. This new arrangement allowed them to sing "with" the orchestra. Moreover, the orchestral players loved it, as they could hear better what was going on on-stage and gauge their responses more sensitively. Indeed, this was a very well played Rheingold, the prelude and non-vocal passages illuminated by the extra prominence, and the clear enthusiasm of the musicians.
In all, this is a production to study for its insights. The spare set and the visible orchestra concentrate attention on what is happening in the drama, and on its psychological, philosophical ideas. Ultimately, this is much more in keeping with Wagner’s dearest wish, that his operas should make people think, than any amount of Teutonic kitsch.

Anne Ozorio
www.musicweb-international.com, 01. Mai 2006
Title:The Amsterdam Cycle, Label: (Opus Arte OA 0946 D)

At the opposite extreme to the kitsch of the Met's cycle, comes Pierre Audi's production from Amsterdam, only the first part of which has so far been issued. Audi has done away with conventional sets and uses wood, metal, stone and glass blocks to create spaces in which the action can happen. It is a very technical production with something always being built. The placing of the orchestra is also unconventional. For much of the cycle, there is a vast runway from the stage around the orchestra and back to the stage, so that the orchestra is in the middle of the action. On other occasions, Audi has the orchestra actually on the stage. Both sitings give the singers occasional problems seeing the conductor and there is also some pushing to get over the orchestral sound. John Brocheler is, at times, a dry-voiced Wotan, but there is a striking Alberich from Henk Smit and the ever-reliable Graham Clark is Mime. Conductor Hartmut Haenchen doesn't hang around, driving the score forward relentlessly. But there's enough going on here to make one look forward to the complete cycle being issued on DVD.

Production: 4 stars  from 5
Music: 4 stars from 5

Richard Fawkes
www.bbc.co.uk, 01. Mai 2006
In both works conductor Hartmut Haenchen leads with generally swift tempos and a fine sense for Wagner's drama. His orchestras respond admirably, too. Haenchen, by the way, uses the New Edition of Richard Wagner's Complete Works. There are supposedly many changes made in the operas here, but few listeners will notice anything that is even marginally different from past performances and recordings, though Haenchen's faster tempos are probably the result of comments by the composer appearing in the notes accompanying the new edition.
Robert Cummings
www.classical.net, 01. Mai 2006
(...) Haenchen leistet Großes
Allein Haenchens sensationelle Interpretation sorgt für Vorfreude auf die nächsten Teile. So direkt, so unmittelbar hat Wagner noch nie geklungen, ohne dabei an Substanz einzubüßen - einfach faszinierend.

Friedrich Pohl
Welt am Sonntag, 30. April 2006
www.musicOMH.com Juni 2006

The conductor Hartmut Haenchen has referred to the new edition of the Complete Wagner Edition for the production, often creating greater clarity of textures and bringing out the classical lines that form the composer's complex harmonic language. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra is the real star of the show, conjuring up the River Rhine, magic fire and the Hall of the Gibichungs far better than the monstrous set ever could.
www.musicOMH.com, 06. Januar 2006
http://www.cdandlp.com/item/4/0-1405-0-1-0/117007068/wagner-richard-der-ring-des-nibelungen-haitink-morris-marton-jerusalem-adam-bavarian-radio-symphony-orchestra.html

The Hartmut Haenchen recordings – on both DVD and CD with different casts – blew away the old cob-webs

Ganze Rezension hier
www.cdandlp.com, 01. April 2005
Da haben sich das Niederländische Philharmonische Orchester unter der Leitung von Hartmut Haenchen und die Solisten von ihrer besten Seite gezeigt. Vor allem der entscheidende dritte Akt war nuanciert, von diabolisch über glutvoll bis ätherisch. 
"Kultur am Morgen": Südwestfunk/Süddeutscher Rundfunk/WDR/WDR 3/Deutschlandfunk/MDR, 28. Januar 1992