Wagner in May

Metrodome Distribution have announced the UK Region 2 DVD release of Wagner for 9th May 2005 priced at £39.99. Richard Wagner, best known for ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ used in the film Apocalypse Now, composed vast music dramas, notably the 4-opera Ring cycle.. Now, for the first time ever, this 8 hour tribute to one of history’s most important composer will be available to the public on a stunning 3 Disc DVD Box Set.

From the PR...

This film by Tony Palmer is Richard Burton’s penultimate screen appearance – and what a way to go! Only an actor of the stature of the late Burton could measure up to the titanic character of Wagner, with his irresistible sex appeal and humour. Burton captures perfectly the complex mixture of arrogance, selfishness, tenderness and obsession in Wagner’s make-up.

Burton’s co-star is Academy Award Winner Vanessa Redgrave. Also starring are some of the most popular and distinguished names of stage and screen, including Sir Laurence Olivier, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Arthur Lowe, Ronald Pickup, Ekkehardt Schall, Marthe Keller, Lisa Kruzer, Liza Goddard, Franco Nero, Cyril Cusack and Andrew Cruickshank. The film also sees the last screen role of Joan Greenwood, the first screen role of Gabriel Byrne, and the only screen role of Sir William Walton. Extraordinarily, Wagner’s great-granddaughter and Brecht’s son-in-law, playing Liszt, are also part of the cast.

The script for the series was written in full co-operation with Wolfgang Wagner in Bayreuth. The music, played by the London Philharmonic, is conducted by Sir Georg Solti, probably the greatest interpreter of Wagner’s music, and winner of twelve Grand Prix du Disques. The director of photography is Vittorio Storaro, who won a 1979 Oscar for Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’, a 1982 Oscar for Warren Beatty’s ‘Reds’ and a 1999 Oscar for Bertolucci’s ‘The Last Emperor’. The costumes – over two thousand of them – are by Oscar nominee and British Academy Award winner Shirley Russell. The design team was led by Kenneth Carey, whose work includes ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. This extraordinary array of talents was directed by Tony Palmer, twice winner of television’s most prestigious award, the Prix Italia.

Even now Wagner remains an enigma. W.H.Auden called him: “Perhaps the greatest genius that ever lived”. His was a rags-to-riches saga with a fairytale ending. He was loved yet hated, admired yet despised, a political activist, a villain yet a hero who was worshipped, a man whose fame and exploits were the gossip of Europe. Above all and despite his several marriages, he was an incurable romantic whose love affair with Liszt’s illegitimate daughter rivals that of Romeo and Juliet in excitement and drama.

Filming for Wagner took place in ore than two hundred locations, over seven months and in six countries, throughout Hungary and central Europe, including Ludwig’s castles in Bavaria and Wagner’s rooms overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice. A feast for the senses and an epic in every sense of the word.

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