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Tristan Und Isolde


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Audio CD, February 12, 2013
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Product Details

  • Conductor: Fritz Reiner
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (February 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Opera D'Oro
  • ASIN: B00AOO5MJG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The medieval Irish princess Isolde wants to poison the knight Tristan for wrongs he has done her, but falls in love with him instead when her maid, Brangäne, substitutes a love potion for the poison. Some time later Melot, another of Isolde s suitors, grievously wounds Tristan. Tristan returns to his home in Brittany, tended by his faithful knight Kurwenal. Isolde arrives, hoping to cure Tristan with her
magic herbs, but is too late. Holding Tristan in her arms, she sings a soaring hymn to the bliss of eternal passion.

Review

Recorded live at Covent Garden in 1936, this is quite simply the greatest performance of Wagner s masterpiece to survive in sound. It captures the definitive coupling of Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior as the doomed lovers, both singing with a sensuous ease, a purity of line, and a supreme voluptuousness of tone that eradicates all competition ... The visceral sexuality and the sense of neurotic
decadence that Fritz Reiner gets from every bar is overwhelming, while the LPO which doubled as the opera house s orchestra in the 1930s play with an electric excitement that no studio recording could ever quite capture. You emerge from the whole feeling elated and emotionally battered beyond belief. --Tim Ashley, The Guardian, December 2000

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carlos G. Miranda on June 23, 2013
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Fantastic performance, ideal in every respect, except of course, orchestral sound. Its very muted, but one can hear all the subtleties Reiner demonstrated. In current sound performance, it would be the best recording of this opera.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert B. Lamm on December 14, 2013
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I'm not very well acquainted with Kirsten Flagstad's Isolde, having only recently purchased (but not yet listened to) the legendary Furtwängler recording with Suthaus and Thebom as well Mme. Flagstad. However, she comes across quite well in this recording - a big and feminine voice and, for the era, a seemingly good singing actress. Reiner's conducting is also at a very high level; I've gotten some of his recordings over the years, and I regret that he was past his prime by the time I became aware of him - he clearly did many things brilliantly or at least very well, and his recording of the Verdi Requiem with Leontyne Price and Jussi Bjorling is still my favorite recording of the work.

However, the rest of the cast seems good but not great, and I regret to say that Melchior does not "travel" well. His voice has a tremolo that I find hard to take; I don't know if it was the style in those days, but I still find it unpleasant or at least not great.

The worst part of the recording, however, is the sound quality. I wouldn't expect a 1935 recording to have wonderful sound, but at best it's bad and at worst it's awful - the recording was made at a live performance, and throughout you hear stage noise, scenery moving and goodness knows what else. The recording may have been copied to CD from an old LP, because at various points you hear a repeating "click" like we used to hear on LPs, indicating a scratch that keeps recurring until the needle moves on. It's particularly troubling that most of the "Liebestod" has this.

So the recording is interesting from a historical perspective, but there are a number of recordings, including the Nilsson/Bohm masterpiece, that I'd get first.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Russell E Shipp on April 8, 2014
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Wagner takes some getting used to but his operas demand really powerful voices and power is what distinguishes an opera singer from a pop singer. To me the pop singers may have a sweet tone to their voices but they just lack oomph.
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