My main criteria for selecting these videos are simply those that I find provide the best introduction to Wagner´s music in relatively updated productions of a reasonable quality. Thus no Tristan, no Parsifal, no Ring, no vintage DVDs with historic singers. Comments and suggestions are, of course, most welcome.
A brief look at the attached videos may hopefully help to decide before buying..
1. The Flying Dutchman. Highly acclaimed production from Bayreuth 1985 by Harry Kupfer, who essentially sees the opera as Senta´s dream.
Final scene below with Simon Estes (Dutchman) and Lisbeth Baslev (Senta):
2. Lohengrin. Either 1) Konwitschny´s class-room staging from Barcelona Liceu in 2006. Very innovative Regietheater, where the opera takes place in a class-room, the protagonists being children. Definitely a fresh view on the work. To be honest, I do not like it, as it takes too much focus away from the music, but for those unacquainted with Wagner, it may serve as an entertaining introduction.
Lohengrin and Elsa´s wedding in the classroom (John Treleaven, Emily Magee and Luana DeVol):
or 2) the elegant Lohengrin choice: Lehnhoff´s production from Baden-Baden 2006 - my personal Lohengrin favourite, not the least because this features the incomparable Waltraud Meier as Ortrud.
Below - the confrontation between Ortrud and Elsa in front of the church (Waltraud Meier and Solveig Kringelborn):
3. Tannhäuser: David Alden´s modern, very aesthetic Tannhäuser production from Munich 1994.
Confrontation between Tannhäuser (René Kollo) and Venus (Waltraud Meier):
4. Walküre - Patrice Chéreau´s historic staging from Bayreuth 1976. Still the most moving version I have seen of this work. Perhaps my top-recommendation for introducing oneself to Wagners work...
Below: Confrontation between Matti Salminen (Hunding), Peter Hofmann (Siegmund) and Jeannine Altmeyer (Sieglinde):
5. For those not keen on modern productions: Meistersinger from The Metropolitan Opera 2001. The best "traditional" Wagner DVD on the market, to my taste. With Karita Mattila, James Morris, Ben Heppner and René Pape.
Scene from Act 3 in Hans Sachs´ living room :