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Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) (2001)

Ben Heppner , Jane Eaglen  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra) + Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg / Heppner, Mattila, Morris, Pape, Allen, Polenzani, Levine, Metropolitan Opera + Wagner - Tannhauser (remastered)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ben Heppner, Jane Eaglen, Rene Pape, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, Katarina Dalayman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: March 9, 2004
  • Run Time: 238 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000CGV0P
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,686 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (James Levine, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

James Levine conducts the Metropolitan Opera orchestra and chorus in this production of Wagner's great love story. Featured singers inlcude Jane Eaglen, Benn Heppner, Rene Pape, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful performance June 8, 2004
I was fortunate enough to see this production in October 2003 and it was staggering. Finally there were people who could sing this extremely demanding opera really well. This DVD confirmed my initial reaction. Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen were fantastic as the two doomed lovers.
Jane Eaglen was exeptionally good as Isolde. Sensitive and powerful. Her curse at the end of the narrative was staggering. Ben Heppner was equally great as Tristan. He is everything you could want from a great Tristan. What I like the most about this is the way they perform together, making the duet the highlight. Heppner's performance in the extremely difficult third act was also done with flying colors. He seemed like to give his all, but never got tired.
The supported cast is also really good. Katarina Dalayman is very good as Brangane and Rene Pape was his usual great self. He was a bit young for the king, but it hardly mattered when hearing his interpretation. Hans-Joachim Ketelsen was also really good as Kurwenal.
The conducting of James Levine was slow, as usual, but not in a bad way, like on his Parsifal. He manages to keep the drama moving, making his orchestra play very senstivly supporting the great leads on stage very well.
The picture is very good, but it is not 16:9. All of the new DVDs from performances from the European opera houses, like La Scala, are photographed using the high definition format. But this doesn't matter at all, being such a fantastic production.
The sound is also really exceptional with both an uncompressed PCM track in addition to a DTS track.
With this performance it is clear that great Wagnerian singing is not dead.
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings January 30, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I had the great pleasure of seeing this production at the Met on a night when Eaglen was, not surprisingly, out. Subbing for her (and making her Met debut!) was a svelte, dramatic woman named Sue Patchell, who sang beautifully and acted the role superbly. Heppner, always wonderful, rose to the occassion and matched her performance note for note, moment for moment. Patchell's ovation at the end was well-deserved and even Levine paid homage to her at the curtain call. I was hoping to recreate some of the excitement of that night with this DVD; I have mixed feelings about it. First of all, I think the production itself is fantastic. What's accomplished with the use of color, light (or lack thereof) and a few geometric shapes is truly remarkable. I know I'm going to get "unhelpful" votes, but I find the opera itself exceedingly dull in places, lacking the energy and drama of Wagner at his best (i.e. the Ring Cycle or "Meistersinger"). Thank goodness for something interesting to watch as the lovers go on and on (and on...) about love. A traditional set would have simply added to the tedium, which seemed more pronounced watching at home. And I think Eaglan's a big problem. It's not her size per se, but what she does (or doesn't do) with it. Deborah Voight, Stephanie Blythe and Jessye Norman are all large women, but they carry their weight with grace and a magnificent presence. Eaglan just seems...there, awkward, lumpish; she's just not enough of an actress to carry off the emotional turmoil of the character. Neither she nor Heppner sounds their best, and there's absolutely no chemistry between them. Heppner has nothing to work off of, so seems (atypically) to phone a lot of the performance in. (He's superb at the top of Act III...when Eaglan's offstage.) In supporting roles, Katarina Dalayman and Rene Pape are both superb. For me the production gets a 5, but this performance and the opera itself get 3s.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Achievement February 15, 2004
By A Customer
Complaints! Complaints! Tristan and Isolde was not performed at the Met for 16 years until 1999 because they couldn't even find anyone at all who could sing Tristan & Isolde 'live' on stage. In the studio, it is possible for small-voiced singers to take on Isolde & Tristan. But on stage? Impossible. That's why it took 16 years for Ben & Jane to appear. And what do they get - some ignorant person bashing their performance. Fact is Tristan & Isolde are among the 2 toughest role in the entire operatic repertoire. Jane & Ben does a magnificent job. We have been pampered too much by Nilsson's Isolde when Nilsson was in her prime. It is not really fair to compare Eaglen with Birgit Nilsson. Nilsson is very unique - there's only Birgit Nilsson & that's it. Jane is no Nilsson but she does a great job in her own way. Similarly Ben is no Jon Vickers. But he has his strengths. Stop bashing this DVD - we are lucky that the Met decided to release this - so much the richer for having yet another Tristan to look and listen to.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good bet! November 22, 2004
This roles are definitely hard to sing, and i found in heppner and eaglen two great performers. Ok, they probably are not better than Nilsson or VIckers, but...are they good? YES. Is this minimalistic production intense and persuasive? YES. I find a lot of things in this production that makes me approach to the wagnerian intention. We have to consider the whole thing together, The stage production, the lighting, the intention of the caracters. For me, all this considerations are satisfied. Heppner and Eaglen are exceptional, as well as the rest of the characters. The production is amazing, very well conceived, and surprising to see this on the MET, where the more traditional productions are usual.

This is my first Wagnerian DVD, and i highly recommend this one. If you dont need real ships or castles, but you are deep into the music, the lirics and the intensity. Is all that matter here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Tristan und Isolde.
I viewed several different dvd performances to find what I wanted. First, it must be traditional staging. Second, it must be true to Wagner's intent. Third, it must be well sung. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Boz
1.0 out of 5 stars Samurai und Sumo
In recent years the Met has sought to live down its reputation for timid conservatism by joining the international campaign to "modernize" Wagner. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Woodduck
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performance...the Met at its best.
Ignore the silly adolescent obsession with physical beauty or the lack of it shown in so many reviews of this wonderful DVD. Heppner and Eaglen are ideal as is Pape as King Mark. Read more
Published on May 22, 2011 by Larry J. Victor
1.0 out of 5 stars Mixed
There were some things I liked in this production, but some things that drove me to just sell this DVD so I could get a different one. Read more
Published on February 23, 2010 by Anatola
1.0 out of 5 stars The staging is really awful
For all the talk about how this DVD sucks because of the 2 fat singers, you can take them out and replace them with the most handsome and beautiful Tristan/Isolde pair you can... Read more
Published on January 23, 2010 by Masterman
3.0 out of 5 stars Musically Superb; Visually Mediocre.
This is my second time watching Tristan und Isolde and also my second Jurgen Rose production. While the music of Tristan is loved by most I find it to be one and three quarters... Read more
Published on September 3, 2009 by tom h.
1.0 out of 5 stars I never got to the end of Act II
This performance should have restricted itself to c/d. Visually, not to mince words, it's an embarrassment. Read more
Published on April 25, 2009 by S. Hutton
2.0 out of 5 stars HEFFALUMP is Us
Wagner is one of my favorites; and Tristan and Isolde is my favorite Wagner Opera.
Strangely enough, I truly enjoyed most everything about this Met offering--except for the... Read more
Published on April 8, 2008 by Fair and balanced critic
3.0 out of 5 stars The Met was altered to a sty housing two hogs in this horrid Trisolde
This is pretty much a failure. It seems most agree that the staging is awful, along with the acting. But, to my ears, even the sound(meaning performance) is hardly satifactory. Read more
Published on September 13, 2007 by Ryan, Lord Butternut
4.0 out of 5 stars GORGEOUS VOICES
In my opinion, Levine's bubbly and brisk, bright and ebullient style (they should have called HIM bubbles, too) works better for colorful Italian opera than for the ponderous... Read more
Published on June 20, 2007 by Paco Rivero
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Fat, Fat ,Fatty!
The Tristan und Isolde with Johanna Meier on DGG is about to be released in North America. She is all I ever imagined Isolde to be. I have the VHS and have been waiting impatiently for the DVD. The total production is wonderful!!!
Jun 17, 2007 by Archie (Ottawa Canada) |  See all 2 posts
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