Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wagner - Tristan und Isolde / Bohm Nilsson Vickers|
Actors: Birgit Nilsson, Jon Vickers, Ruth Hesse, Walter Berry, Bengt Rundgren
Director: Pierre Jourdan
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Tristan marries Isolde in secret but is castrated by a vengeful relative, thwarting their love.
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Great Performance... Awful sound and video!
William Taylor | 11/30/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The true power of this drama comes to life with one of the truly great performances of this masterwork. Birgit Nilsson is very powerful and her acting convincing. Her voice is angelic in tone and her phrasing is as close to the score as it can be. Jon Vickers delivers an equally strong and convincing Tristan. Powerful and passionate... This is a wonderful performance. There are a few moments that are absolute magic (Isolde's aria in act 2 before after putting the torch out... The wind is blowing her dress back as she belts out the most powerful notes you will ever hear... It looks like she is flying). The production is sparse, as are most Tristan und Isolda productions, but it is crisp in its dramatic effect and at no point distracts or hurts the stage action of the drama. Karl Bohm, a great Wagner conductor, delivers a wonderful reading of a very difficult score with well articulated (and not over emoted) dynamics, balance and tempi. And now... The flaws: Without a doubt, one of the worst post 1940 sound recordings I have heard (at least the 1st act). The sound is not always in sync with the stage action and the overall tone is very dull. I tried to enhance the sound with EQ and an array of stereo effects with no luck. There are even a few brief moments in which the singer sounds like they are singing a duet with themselves in act 1! As if the sound from the off-sync video comes through in time with the off-sync sound. There are innumerable little sounds (pops, skips, bumps, etc) that cover the entire work and can be, at times, quite irritating (see 0:50:00 - 1:20:00 of disk one. There is a continuous bumping sound that goes on for over 30 minutes!) There are also moments when the levels abruptly shift when there is a camera change. And as long as we are on the subject of camera changes... The video production (1973) has the quality of early 1950s television (only in very dull color). On the back of the DVD is states, and I quote: "... has been restored and digitally re-mastered". Physically impossible! Unless the original, non-re-mastered version had no sound or video at all, in which case they did an all right job. Let's just say that the only good thing about this DVD is the performance, which is of a very high level. Some of these problems seem to go away in act 2 and by act 3 the quality is even better (thank God (Wagner) for that!). As another silly side note: My Disk 1 was actually Disk 2 and visa versa... I used a marker to fix the discrepancy. Whoever put this thing together must have been asleep or drunk throughout the production process! If this is your first DVD of this opera I would strongly recommend a different version. If you own another version of the work and are a seasoned listener I recommend it as an great addition to your collection. The rewards far outweigh the flaws, once you get passed them. By the end of the first act I was settled in and by the end of the opera I was blown away. I enjoyed the entire thing for what it is. It's a great buy."
KULTUR should be ashamed!
Fair and balanced critic | 03/30/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Your company ought to be ashamed of itself!
Your DVD selections are, to put it mildly, mostly atrocious.
I have now viewed and listened to many operas - from many different companies- on my state-of-the-art home theater equipment. By far, your DVDs are outrageously POOR!!!!!!
Not only are your cover materials lacking in useful technical information, but also your lack of descriptive written material is unbelievable- again in contrast to most other DVD media companies.
Most significantly, the picture and sound quality of your DVDs are usually atrocious; for example: check out your Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with Birgit Nilsson and John Vickers conducted by Karl Bohm filmed live at the Theatre Antique d'Orange, France in July, 1973. It is unbelievable that anyone could do such a poor job regarding both visuals and acoustical reproduction and then foist these on an unsuspecting public at relatively premium prices ( T und I is selling for $27 on Amazon today, for example). No wonder you do not wish to divulge/include any technical information with your products. I f you did, I am certain that your sales volume would markedly plunge.
I have attempted to watch&listen to a significant number of your various products (DVDs) and again they were extremely poorly captured. Bottom of the barrel quality would not even scrape the depths to which your company has sunk!
All of the other companies (TDK, DG, Decca, Image, Opus Arte, etc, etc) I have sampled produce far superior products- many times of similar vintage or older- with far superior technical results (visual and acoustical) and with appropriate written information accompanying their materials---and at similar or lower prices. Again, your company ought to be ashamed of itself!
I feel quite certain, based on the evidence, that you do not care one whit about your customers and are interested only in acquiring your undeserving filthy lucre.
I for one resolve to never sample your products again. ( Fortunately I had obtained many of your Opera, Ballet, and other genre DVDs free-of-charge from my public library and its affiliated branches. )
The pity is that your company has managed to acquire the rights to some significant Opera (and other) performances.
I would rate your products with a MINUS 5 stars for visual and auditory quality and accompanying information (technical & otherwise), but unfortunately had to give it at least a one star.
P.S.- as another example: check out the KULTUR offering of Tosca and the exact same performance as offered by Opus Arte."
Don't Miss This
Brenan Nierman | United States of America | 12/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am afraid that many people contemplating the purchase of this DVD will look at the one, two and three-star reviews and pass. That is a shame.
I own eight CDs of this Wagner masterpiece and three DVDs. While I would not make this your only exposure to TRISTAN, I would make it an essential one.
Yes, the sound quality is poor. Yes, the production is rather abyssmal. Yes, the camera work has much, much to be desired.
BUT, you get Birgit Nilsson and Jon Vickers in roles in which they excelled. Wagnerians will know what I mean. And while the production in itself has too much of the traces of Wieland Wagner for my taste, one soon forgets this as the music tranports you into the heart of the drama.
Giving this DVD less than the five stars that it deserves for its historical value alone is like criticizing any performance by a great actor or actress because of the failure of the lighting tecyhnician."
Not for audio- or video-philes
M. Stanzani | Milan, Italy | 09/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a hard-core audio- or video-phile, in the sense I am quite tolerant to bad quality recordings whenever the artistic outcome deserve the sacrifice. Still I find very hard to afford this title. Especially the audio track is tremendously bad. I wonder how much Kultur is responsible for this: are there any other editions of this program around?
I would give one star : the second star is really for the outstanding singers performance"