Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wagner - Tristan und Isolde|
Actors: Daniel Barenboim, Johanna Meier, René Kollo, Matti Salminen, Hanna Schwarz
Director: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Based on the famous legend which takes place during the Middle Ages, Wagner's opera tells of love and betrayal when Tristan is sent to Ireland by the king.
A Heavenly Tristan
Paul S. Rottenberg | Ft. Lauderdale, FL | 05/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's quite remarkable that Daniel Baremboim has three DVD productions of "Tristan und Isolda" to his credit. I don't think any other conductor has been so honored that they have been chosen by Wagner's family or executors of his estate to preside over three productions of Wagner's greatest music drama. I haven't heard the later two productions, so I can't comment on them, and on which is the best of the three, but I can state that the current DVD production for DG is certainly one of the finest of this work either on CD or DVD. The singing of all of the principles is magnificient, and all the others are extremely good. Rene Kollo has a ringing tone with no flab on it, and his physical presence is totally convincing. This is what Tristan, the character, should look like. The sets and costumes are all excellent, too, creating a symbolic world of myth and poetry, because that's what this work is: a great poem on the transcendent powers of love. The Jungian tree symbolism is very beautiful. The surround sound is powerful, and picture quality is very fine. Just watch the atmospheric presentation of the well-known Prelude to Act 1, with its depection of a pre-dawn scene on the coast of Cornwall in some unspecified ancient mythic time, and you're hooked. This is an essential DVD which every music lover should have, even if you already own the CDs with Bohm/Neilson or Furtwangler/Flagstad. The only question is whether one can afford the other two Baremboim versions. This one is certainly heavenly."
A beautiful, lyrical performance
Darby G. Fegan | 03/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a beautifully sung and directed performance of one of the greatest of operas. The production perfectly captures the sensuality and "fin de siecle" atmosphere of Wagner's masterpeice. Barenboim expertly paces his orchestra through this demanding score relishing the sublime shifts in Wagner's erotic chromaticism. The singing is also quite good, and one wishes we had a cast today equal to this cast. Rene Kollo is a fine Tristan, with a honeyed lyric voice equal to both the lyric and heroic demands of the role. Hanna Schwarz was simply one of the best singers of her time, a beautiful woman with a stunningly vibrant voice. Her Brangane certainly ranks among the best. For those who never heard Johanna Meier live, it may be easy to misjudge the power and thrust of her essentially lyric voice from listening to a video. Meier was one of the truly great singers of her era, and sadly, there are few recorded documents of her fine work. She did not have the big PR machine working for her as did some much lesser talented singers of her era. She is a tall, beautiful, elegant woman, incredibly fluid on stage, a far cry from the oversized Isoldes we have become accustomed to today. She is radiantly feminine in everything she does. I first heard her live in Barber's Vanessa at Spoleto in 1978. She was second only to Steber in this role, and the voice was full, rich and vibrant. I then heard Meier sing the Walkure and Gotterdamrung Brunhildes in Dallas in the mid 1980's. She filled the vast and unresonant Fair Park auditorium easily, and once again she was divinely feminine. The last time I heard Meier was at the Met as the Empress in Frau Ohne Schatten, and she easily ranks among the great exponents of the role. Those who are fortunate to study with her as a teacher undoubtedly gain much from this deeply committed and humble artist."
Rik Hardy | 10/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A positive review which I recently read elsewhere states: "If modern directors have something they want to say, then they should write their own operas, and stop using Wagner to peddle their worthless ideas."
Absolutely. They need to remember that their job is to direct; not to deride, distort or disfigure.
Directing begins with understanding your raw material, not changing it.
Where would we be, for example, if some modern Shakespearean director decided that he wanted to launch a series of old Will's complete works in Stratford, but in Chinese and actually IN the river Avon? - to make them more relevant to today's political sensibilities, you understand...? Well, a lot of drowned actors, ruined costumes, vanished props and British people wanting their tickets refunded is where we would be.
I appreciate the effort which went into a rare attempt to create a world of mysterious adventure in this "Tristan". Recent "Ring" cycles have suffered far worse fates, and, frankly, when Wagner says that three Rhinemaidens swim around Alberich and tease him, I want them to look good, I want them to look as if they are swimming and I want them to tease him. We all know what teasing is, we all recognize pretty and flirtatious females and we all have considerable experience of what swimming is about, so what do we gain by fixing three Rhinematrons to the floor, leaving Alberich to flop around in a very earth-bound way, pretending he is having a hard time catching them? Can it really be that the technology of more than a hundred years after the first performances of these works does not come anywhere near achieving Wagner's aims? Or are we just saving money?
I very much fear that the Bayreuth of the future will be a web site with beautiful swimming Rhinemaidens, beautifully synchronized voices and a beautiful digital simulation of the acoustics in the Festspielhaus.
But perhaps I should welcome it; Wagner probably would, if he knew what travesties had been perpetrated in his name since 1883... But when we remember that the music always comes first, there is actually very little to spoil this fine set of discs."
C.A. Arthur | Tacoma, Washington | 03/03/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Tristan looks like an Elvis impersonator and acts like the tin woodman. Isolde strongly resembles Hillary Clinton, only older. She acts like someone in a silent movie. The set designer wins the booby prize, being the worst of all this clunky performance. In any case, give thanks for the wonderful orchestra led by Daniel Barenboim. It almost makes the DVD version bearable."