The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires Blu-ray offers solid video and great audio in this excellent Blu-ray release
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For more about The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires and the The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires Blu-ray release, see the The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on June 29, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires Blu-ray Review
Argentina became rather infamous after World War II for having harbored at least a few prominent former Nazis, but my
hunch is none of those fugitives ever matriculated into the world of professional opera. The famous German rigor for
following orders and having obsessive compulsive systems in place to handle items both large and small seems to be
almost a genetic
anathema to the more laid back South Americans. And so it probably should come as no surprise that when a new slew of
Germans, including one with a probably unwanted but undeniable Nazi connection, sought to collaborate with Teatro
Colón in Buenos Aires on a new, supposedly improved, mounting of an opera which itself has a Nazi connection,
the results were like mixing oil with water. The descendants of Richard Wagner have sought to extricate themselves from
their ancestor's rather spotty reputation with regard to anti-Semitism, and so it might seem odd on its face that Wagner's
great-granddaughter Katharina, current co-director of the Bayreuth Festival, would want to bring The Ring to a
country which has its own spotty history with Nazis. And yet that's exactly what happened. Or nearly happened.
Katharina Wagner has been approached repeatedly about staging a "condensed" version of The Ring, but had
never before found a version she found palatable, until the one that she ultimately agreed to direct at Teatro Colón. This
seven hour, one marathon day, mounting would have been difficult enough but upon Wagner's arrival in Buenos Aires,
things went from bad to disastrous. Wagner's penchant for order crashed headlong into the "no worries" attitude of the
Argentinians, and soon the famous director was on her way back to Germany, leaving Teatro Colón struggling to get the
production up and running with precious little time remaining. This fascinating documentary charts it all, from Wagner's
rather petulant exit, halting re-entrance, and ultimate departure, through the frenetic rehearsal process. Some may
question the wisdom of metaphorically pulling Yggdrasil out by its entangled roots, but this piece is a rather visceral look
at theater triumphing over catastrophe—which, as anyone who's ever worked in theater will tell you, is about par for the
The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires debuts on Blu-ray with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. This is
about what you would expect from a piece which is largely cobbled together from interview segments, fly on the wall
rehearsal footage, and, in one case, a so-called "private recording" that someone caught of Wagner informing the stunned
cast that she couldn't "work under these circumstances". Colors and contrast are fine, if not exactly eye popping, and the
entire documentary sports decent detail.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 mix included on this disc might seem like a bit of overkill, given that the bulk of the
documentary consists of talking (and only occasionally singing) heads, with only the final sequence showing anything
approaching a completely staged version of this condensed Ring. That said, while surround activity is pretty limited,
fidelity is fine. The documentary is multi-lingual, with everything from English to Spanish to German being spoken by various
participants. (An LPCM 2.0 mix is also offered.)
Stephen Sondheim wrote a famous song about crafting Art called "Putting it Together". The Colón Ring: Wagner in
Buenos Aires is a really fascinating documentary about artists struggling to keep everything from falling apart.
The Colón Ring: Wagner in Buenos Aires: Other Editions
3-disc set $119.99
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