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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde [Blu-ray] (2009)

Richard Wagner , Robert Dean Smith , Anna-Sophie Mahler  |  NR |  Blu-ray
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

List Price: $49.99
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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Wagner, Robert Dean Smith, Robert Holl, Irene Theorin, Jukka Rasilainen
  • Directors: Anna-Sophie Mahler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: German (DTS HD 5.0), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Bbc / Opus
  • DVD Release Date: January 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 289 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002QEXC76
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,458 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Filmed at the spiritual home of Wagner's work, Christoph Marthaler's landmark production which opened the 2009 Bayreuth Festival brings
together the rich talent of American tenor Robert Dean Smith with that of Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin. The renowned Wagner conductor Peter Schneider conducts the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus in a performance tipped to remain a collectors' benchmark for years to
come. Filmed in High Definition and with true surround sound.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tristan with Limited Visual Appeal February 14, 2010
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This DVD represents a first in that Unitel, a company that has released most (if not all) of the DVDs (and VHS) emanating from Bayreuth is not involved in any way. It also appears to be the first time that an opera has been performed in front of a live audience. As I understand it all the previous films were performed at the house one act at a time and in one case it was filmed in a studio. In this way, of course, the singers had the advantage of being able to rest the voice and not run out of gas as it were by the time the last act was being performed. I have no idea what disadvantage filming in front of a live audience at Bayreuth creates but it is exciting to have them perform in this manner.

As to the performance, the cover of the Opus Arte set says it all: "Regiephobes" need not apply. This is clearly a Tristan set in the 20th century, circa the late fifties and early sixties. The set is essentially one, with adjustments made by the use of furniture and other decorations. Act I would appear to be a deck with many chairs, a cruise liner? An attractive woman, Irene Theorin is frumpily dressed. She storms across the set knocking over the chairs with great fury. Act II is an interior set and is evocative of nothing in particular. Theorin is dressed in a yellow suit that could be described as 60's chic, hair reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy. The seating arrangement for the two lovers is what you see on the cover of the DVD. The ceiling is a mass of circular neon lights periodiocally altered. Tristan would appear to be dressed as a cruise director. In Act III all the decorations (such as they are) have been stripped from the wall, and an a slightly elevated platform for a hospital bed surrounded by bars is the focus and where we find Tristan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
In terms of dramatic representation, there's not really much you can do with Tristan und Isolde, which conversely means that an imaginative director can do just about anything with it. Bayreuth doesn't really seem interested in staging traditional productions of Wagner's operas, but in an opera like Tristan und Isolde, that shouldn't matter in the slightest. It's not a historical opera tied to a specific period, it's a mythological opera about the mysterious forces of love. Christoph Marthaler's 2005 production for the Bayreuth Festival, recorded here in a 2009 performance, finds a good balance between making the drama and the interaction between the characters intriguing to consider, while still being faithful to the opera's themes.

From the costumes and the décor of the ships interior in Act 1, it looks like it is randomly set in the 1930s, but not over-realistically so - the sets there to create a specific environment that ends up working quite well, rising into three tiers for each of the three acts, maintaining a fluidity and consistency in the piece. The main visual theme however - considering its significance in the second act - is that of lights, from the neon ring "stars" in the sky in Act 1, to the light switches of Act 2, and the pulsing rings of Act 3 that could represent love or life, or the two combined in death. Obviously, this is highly conceptual in a manner that those who like a more concrete, literal stagy representation dislike, but it suits the nature of the opera, and certainly suits the nature of Wagner's conceptual themes, without distracting from them or imposing a false reading.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's All About the Memory March 17, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this production in 2009-I refer to it as "Love in a Communist Bus Station". Nevertheless, I appreciate the opportunity to re-live a bit of Bayreuth and experience the music and drama in comfortable clothes, sitting on a sofa and enjoying this in an environment that's 30+ degrees cooler than it was in the Festspielhaus.

I LIKE this DVD. Smith and Theorin both sang beautifully and being "up close and personal" really diminished the somewhat unorthodox staging. I have the other available DVDs of Tristan & Isolde and have no regrets about adding this to my collection.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern Tristan und Isolde June 20, 2011
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a Tristan for today. Myth for now. I do not think that the traditionalists will like it. For example,the action takes place inside the saloon of a ship. Modern decor which slowly decays through the three acts. It is set in the early 196o's. The sets are about the reality of everyday life. We cannot really envisage, the inner life of Tristan and Isolde.The action is slow. For example in Act three, at the end ,there are no bodies laying around, just singers standing against the wall. When tristan sings in his delirium about the light, lights go on in a subtle way. The acting is superb. In my review for the Bluray Tristan und Isolde with Stemme and Gambill singing, I have gone into the History of this opera and how Wagner was influenced by Schopenhauer. He in turn was influenced by Buddhism and Hindu brahminism. I have shown how this came to be. So, the Day represents everyday life and the night, the astral planes, or another dimension. The love duet is not gibberish,but represents Wagners attempts to explain the Astral planes and Nirvana. It is hard to produce this opera, really as Chereau once said, you should hear it on the radio.

Robert Dean Smith has a distinctive voice and is better then Gambill in the Stemme version.Theorin has a big voice and is good in Acts one and three, but you feel she is attempting not to drown out Smith in Act two. Brangane Michelle Breedt is as good. King marke ,Holl, and kurwenal, Rasilainen are a credit to the opera . This is a live performance. I wondered what the Bayreuth opera house looked like inside ,now I know. The conducting of Peter Schneider is swift. This is how Wagner meant his operas to be conducted. His son Siegfried conducted in this manner, which he learnt from his father when he was still alive.
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