Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
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Of all operas, perhaps the one that least needs ingenious extra musical assistance is Tristan, this aurally erotic work that speaks so vividly to the listener s inner eye. Wagner's score is simply more illustrative and sensuously pictorial than any series of stage pictures could be. This production with the Deutsche Oper Berlin stars René Kollo and Gwyneth Jones in the title roles. The program represents a historical milestone and document of highest value in the reception of Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.
'Here are no bounds to the longing, the desire, the bliss, and the anguish of love. The world, power, fame, glory, honor, chivalry, loyalty, friendship...all are swept away. Only one thing is left alive...yearning, yearning, insatiable desire....' RICHARD WAGNER
Tristan: RENE KOLLO
King Marke: ROBERT LLOYD
Isolde: GWYNETH JONES
Kurwenal: GERD FELDHOFF
Melot: PETER EDELMANN
Brangäne: HANNA SCHWARZ
Sailor: CLEMENS BIEBER
Herdsman: UWE PEPER
Helmsman: IVAN SARDI
Conductor: JIRÍ KOUT
Directed for Stage by GÖTZ FRIEDRICH
Chor und Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Chorus Master: HELLWART MATTHIESEN
Costume Design: INGE JUSTIN
Top customer reviews
Goetz Friedrich's production is very son-of-Wieland Wagner. The setting consists of three geometric shapes, rearranged for each act. While the staging offers no new insights into the piece, neither does it offend with obscure eccentricities. In the end, it's strictly for fans of the singers involved.
Second: it is said that of the two Wagner operas that are essentially about the internal Tristan, unlike Pascifal, cannot be staged. I agree. I have never seen one that fully worked and neither does the production here.
Third: this is a cast that was once very fine indeed. The view has them had the mature best but also past the prime of their voices. Accordingly, it the DVD is a recording of very fine singers allowing the listener to cast back what was only a few years before.
So: since there are more completely rounded productions available on disc, this is not a first choice.
Kollo is simply great. The rest of the cast are quite good although as another reviewer suggested, the role of Brangane could have been allotted to a soprano. Even so, Schwartz does a good job of the role.
What I generally dislike is the sense of balance in the recording. I have heard this one now on two or three sound systems of good quality.
The work as such, is considered generally as more dependent on the interpretation and the power of the orchestral score and how it is brought out. I am sure that in the opera house it must have sounded just gorgeous, but on the recording, it sort of automatically recedes to deep background when the singers are doing their bit. Not that it should overpower the singers, but the balance is just not right. This is very evident when the orchestra plays by itself...
The overall quality though, is quite passable. I am glad it is in widescreen. Mine is on a TDK label.
Given that Kollo and Schwarz are way better represented on the mid-80s Barenboim DVD from Bayreuth, the one selling point is that this is ms Jones' only commercially available Isolde. And it's not worth the effort. She's just way too old, and she's also fighting against a production that seems to deliberately cast her as a grandmother rather than a young Irish princess.
There are two 80's videos where Jones is pretty great - let's hope that they are released in decent sound and picture, sooner rather than later.
I don't particularly care for the voice of Rene Kollo, but he is an adequate Tristan. Robert Lloyd is a wonderful King Marke.
Hanna Schwarz has a tough time of it vocally as Brangane, which show why the role should really be given to a soprano.
The supporting cast is excellent, as is the orchestra and conductor.
The production if very traditional.
My only complaint about this DVD is that there is some very frustrating camera work.The camera often if focused on a singer who is not singing, while another is singing an important moment.
But,it is worth it just to have this performance.
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