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Wagner - Tristan und Isolde / Polaski, Treleaven, Halfvarson, Struckmann, Braun, Rauch, Vas, Vier, de Billy, Barcelona Opera

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

WAGNER:TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

Special Features

  • Cast gallery
  • Illustrated synopsis

Product Details

  • Actors: Deborah Polaski, John Treleaven, Erik Halfvarson, Lioba Braun, Bertrand de Billy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Classical, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: German (DTS 5.1), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Catalan
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 257 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BA8EDY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,818 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By C. Boerger on February 20, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Tristan und Isolde is a five star opera if there ever was one, but this production is only strong enough to rate four.

Let's start with the singers. The main attraction of this DVD is Deborah Polaski's Isolde, as intense a characterization as you are likely to see: strong, passionate, beautifully sung, as much a warrior as Brunnhilde. Whenever Polaski is onstage, she is impossible to ignore, and her Mild und leise is chilling, transcendent, devastating; my insides were all churned up I was so overcome with emotion. That moment alone was almost enough to make me ignore this production's shortcomings and tack on another star. Almost, but not quite. For you see, Polaski's partner in illicit love isn't quite on the same level. John Treleaven, her Tristan, does not have a beautiful voice by any means, it is very masculine, tremulous, craggy at times, with a low baritonal tessitura, sometimes too baritonal, particularly in the love duet which comprises much of the second act, where a sweetness of timbre, a little bit of a romantic lilt would have added layers of genuineness to this ardent outpouring of love. He fares better in the heroic scenes, where a more stentorian voice is certainly called for, and of course in the bedraggled delirium of the third act. Almost miraculously, his performance seems to pick up steam rather than flag over the course of this arduous role. Overall, though, his singing ranges from painful to listen to to sublime, with most of it inhabiting the spaces in between. Erik Halfvarson makes a heartwrenching King Marke, rivaling the great Matti Salminen in both power and pathos. Lioba Braun is a noble Brangane, loyal and sympathetic, and beautifully sung throughout.
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Format: DVD
This production of Wagner's opera has some great plus's compared to other rival versions. However, the strengths lie not in the 2 principals. Treleavan and Polaski may look ideal compared with Eaglen and Heppner, but the MET duo win hands down with their sheer delux vocalism. Both Polaski and Treleaven are plagued by pitch problems, particularly in Act 2. Polaski also has the habit of attacking her high notes from below and then increasing the amplitude, which renders her efforts flat and/or sharp. The plus's in this production besides the delux sound, unusual staging and picture quality are the supporting principals, who are well cast. The Liceu orchestra and chorus led by Betrand de Billy add to the plus's. If only the 2 principals had ben captured a few years earlier, then we would have had a fine effort!
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Format: DVD
really like the
production and some of the singing. Polaski is FIERCE as Isolde. She's kind of
a hellcat and very physical. Vocally she is frustrating - there are moments
where she's sounding as beautiful as any Isolde I can think of, paying
enormous attention to the text, but then there are moments where (and this
is a VERY odd thing) I cannot recognize the pitch she's singing AT ALL - it's
almost as though it isn't music. Then she "returns" and there is really
gorgeous vocalizing. The upper range is not beautiful when forced and when
she and Treleaven weave through the enormous Act II duet there are
moments they both sound lovely followed by a sort of bark and shrieking at
high notes that is . . . let's just call it unpleasant.

Treleaven looks pretty good through much of this, but I'm afraid I am not a
fan of this type of voice or singing. There is a too-too-soft center to the
sound itself that I find an unattractive quality in any singer. For lack of a
better description, let's call it "unfocused" sound. Also the man spits more
than anyone I've seen on stage outside of a wrestling cage. He's a bit
wooden as an actor though looks like he's trying to break out of something,
and that wins some points in my book.

But Polaski's face, body movements, etc. are wonderful. She's not a small girl,
but she moves with grace and a very fierce, animalistic athleticism giving her
Isolde a tomboyish quality I'm not used to but one I like very much. She's an
exciting Isolde. When she grabs Tristan's face and kisses him it isn't with the
reserved "stage kiss" we usually see, but a match for the intensity of the
music. Also, I've forgotten just what an expressive face she has.
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Format: DVD
At the $15 asking price, one can hardly say "no" to this "Tristan," a few caveats aside. Alfred Kirchner's production opts for a neutral, vaguely modernist look and is handsome to behold even if, as others have observed, Act II seems to be transpiring in hayloft. (Lioba Braun delivers "Einsam wachend" from midair -- she's a trouper.) Bertrand de Billy is inclined to take an expansive approach to the score, one in which Deborah Polaski positively luxuriates. The role of Isolde seems to pose no difficulties and even if you disagree with Isolde still being alive at the end of the Liebestod, there's no begrudging the detailed excellence (never at the expense of the long line) and pleasing tone quality of Polaski's interpretation. The latter is something which Tristan, John Treleaven, sadly lacks. His is a tenor voice of pure, hard metal. It can take the pounding that Wagner's writing metes out and keep going but listeners may find it an endurance test, both for him and for themselves. Braun's Brangaene is rather clotted of tonal emission but, once you get used to his peculiar embrochure, Falk Struckmann satisfies all around as Kurwenal, a "devoted dog" in the Eberhard Waechter tradition. Lastly, Eric Halfvarson's black, inky basso delivers an unusually trenchant account of King Marke's monologue. Opus Arte's presentation is generous, with one DVD per act.
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