Richard Wagner's three-act opera, an exquisitely lyrical piece, characterized by the composer's romantic vision of the individual's fight for freedom under an oppressive rule, has been described as Wagner's most Italianate opera This masterful and timeless interpretation by the famous opera director Götz Friedrich was filmed on the stage of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth over a period of several days, but without audience, shortly before the start of the actual festival. In this way, undisturbed state-of-the-art filming was made possible within the limited space of the small 19th century auditorium and stage. The result is an intense, film-like rendering of one of the classic Bayreuth stagings with an ensemble of stars including Karen Armstrong and Bernd Weikl.
The title-role is particularly suited to the dramatic and musical talents of Peter Hofmann, whose adoption of Wagnerian roles in the eighties – before Parkinson disease forced his farewell from the stage - has been received with international and ongoing praise. He was the star of Wagner interpretation for more than a decade and this DVD pays tribute to the artist’s skills.