Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes 2010
Rienzi, der Letzte der Tribunen (Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes) is an early opera by Richard Wagner in five acts, with the libretto written by the composer after Bulwer-Lytton's novel of the same name (1835). The title is commonly shortened to Rienzi. Written between July 1838 and November 1840, it was first performed at the Hofoper, Dresden on October 20, 1842, and was the composer's first success.

The opera is set in Rome and is based on the life of Cola di Rienzi (1313–1354), a medieval Italian populist figure who succeeds in outwitting and then defeating the nobles and their followers and in raising the power of the people. Magnanimous at first, he is forced by events to crush the nobles' rebellion against the people's power, but popular opinion changes and even the Church, which had urged him to assert himself, turns against him. In the end the populace burns the Capitol, in which Rienzi and a few adherents have made a last stand.

These discs presents a bold re-interpretation of this early opera by Richard Wagner.

Directed by film-music video-opera helmer Philipp Stolzl, the medieval-Italian Rienzi plot has been reconceived as a 1930s' fascist parable, with its hero looking like Mussolini but behaving like Hynkel in Chaplin's 1940 film, The Great Dictator. The production uses what appear to be grainy newsreels to tremendous effect, conveying a charitable public picture of a dictator and his entourage, with banners waving, and much patriotic propaganda. (Ironically, the manuscript score of Rienzi was in Hitler's possession until the end of the war.)

Director: Philipp Stolzl
Cast: Ante Jerkunica, Torsten Kerl, Camilla Nylund
Country: Germany
Genre: Music

BD50 + 2xDVD9 | 1080i AVC, NTSC | 02:34:54 | 40.5 Gb + 11.8 Gb + 3% rec
Language: Deutsch
Subtitles: English, Deutsch, Francais, Espanol, Italiano, Japanese

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