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Carl Maria von Weber: Hunter's Bride (film version of Der Freischutz, 2010) / Grundheber, Schollum, Banse, Mühlemann, Volle, König. Harding, London SO [DVD]

Notes & Reviews:

Hunter's Bride is a film opera based on the romantic opera Der Freischutzby Carl Maria von Weber. The pictures of Norwegian director of photography Harald Gunnar Paalgard give a spatial dimension to the unique sound of the London Symphony Orchestra, which recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Performed by renowned opera soloists - Juliane Banse, Michael Konig, Michael Volle, Rene Pape - the film opera was a huge public success in European theatres. Filmed on 35mm film on original locations in Germany, the film opera dramatizes the enchanted tale with stunning images, and surround-sound revives the music for the eyes and the ears of the audience.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 212 min.
Region: 0
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): PCM Stereo, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean (film) / English, French (bonus)


This "Freischutz" is a wonderful blend of sight and sound!
Carl Maria von Weber's opera, "Der Freischutz" (The Marksman - the "free-shooter") takes its story from the end of the Napoleonic Wars; during Weber's lifetime. Originally, he envisioned this story as a version of an existing "ghost tale" by Johnann August Apel, "The Hunter's Bride." wherein the hero becomes a victim of fate. You don not need to know anything about Weber, Napoleon or the origins of the story to enjoy this captivating movie-opera. This is truly one of the nicest opera films I have seen. Credit the director Jens Neubert and his brilliant Norwegian photo-director Harald Paalgard for producing a product that feels more like a film with singing than "singing on film" The locations and costumery feel totally authentic and there are many scenes that are genuinely beautiful to look at and give all the required senses of anticipation, fear, love and tension where required. The performances are top notch. The protoganists, Max and Kaspar are sung (and acted) brilliantly by Michael Volle and Michael Konig. Agathe as their object of competition is portrayed wonderfully by Juliane Banse. All other roles, large and small, are similarly performed very well. At the time of its premiere, "Der Freischutz" was a huge success for Weber for its colorful orchestrations and memorable "tunes" to mention the plot and setting which bore all the current events and elements of folk lore that especially rural Germans could relate to so well. The London Symphony and the Radio Chorus of Berlin anchor this production musically under the direction of Daniel Harding. The production values are quite high here. The visual acuity and sound clarity of this disc is terrific. Again, I highly recommend this to anyone who loves opera. This is truly one of the best film versions of an opera I have seen; it is truly beautiful.
Submitted on 10/22/13 by Dan Coombs 
Fascinating production of a von Weber opera!
This is a DVD consisting of a film production of the opera “Der Freischutz – The Marksman”, featuring a dynamite cast – including Rene Pape as the Hermit. The choral work is amazing, and as the liner notes indicate, over two years was spent casting this film. Over 600 people were employed in the Dresden area during the making of this film, which was shot in 35mm. Kudos goes to Juliane Banse, for her wonderful vocal work and very believable acting. She’s a delight.

It should be noted that this is not a film of an opera production – rather, it is a film of the opera singers acting and singing in the production. While I enjoyed the story itself (particularly the bullet fabrication scene with the special effects available to a current film maker), I had trouble not being distracted by the fact that the operatic singing seemed to not quite match the singing I was seeing on screen. They weren’t out of sync – not at all – but I could tell that what I was hearing did not exactly correspond to what I was seeing. As it turns out, the singing was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London and then matched with the film. And while it is matched really well, it took me a while to get past that. All that being said, the music is *wonderful*.

The liner notes are informative, and give background on Weber’s life and the creation of the work. There is also a question and answer section in the booklet that is illuminating about the process of putting together the film and what the director was trying to accomplish. This is a solid, enjoyable film, and is definitely worth seeing even if you haven’t seen the opera before in person.

Submitted on 01/01/14 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Weber, Carl Maria von : Der Freischütz, J 277
  • Performers: Juliane Banse; Olaf Bar; Franz Grundheber; Michael Konig; René Pape; Benno Schollum; Michael Volle
  • Conductor: Daniel Harding
  • Ensemble: Berlin Radio Chorus
  • Running Time: 137 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1817-1821
  • Studio/Live: Studio