Do not bother with this release
V. Kaminsky | 09/25/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is touted as "Extended Scenes," however, what is given is not the video highlights but a narrated introduction to the opera. The failure to forewarn the purchaser of the fact that the DVD is narrated results in one's being shocked several minutes into the prelude when Wagner's magnificent score is overridden by the voice of Jon Vickers, beginning to explain the story.
Further, the narration is rather condescending; granted, it may be an interesting way to introduce the opera to a complete neophyte, however, it is not only unnecessary but horribly annoying to any fan of the opera. This is a shame, as Vickers is in extraordinary form as one of the great Tristans of record. Roberta Knie is a compelling Isolde, in good voice throughout (a remarkable feat insofar as, per the liner notes, she was a last minute replacement).
Ultimately, all the supporting singers, Maureen Forrester in particular, as well as the Montreal Orchestra under Franz-Paul Decker, provide a very compelling interpretation of the opera. All the sadder that such a potentially wonderful production is completely chopped up by the narration. It is preferable to purchase a somewhat inferior performance which can be enjoyed without interruption.
Great singers in a truncated version-a tragedy
herman joseph | nyc, ny United States | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Roberta Knie, Jon Vickers and Maureen Forrester--A potentially unexcelled combination--Vickers and Knie in my opinion are about the best post World War ll team for Tristan and Isolde--Both Vickers and Knie have strong dramatic voices with beautiful lyrical qualities--They make the ideal Tristan/Isolde team --The tragedy is that the entire opera was not taped -It would have been the definitive Tristan. Knie reminds me of Frieda Leider a warm lyrical sounding dramatic soprano --- the perfect foil for Vickers who was the greatest Tristan of the last part of the 20th century with only Melchior as an equal. However, Vicker's insight,lyricism, accuracy, phrasing and insight both dramatically and intellectually carry the day."
A Wonderful Addition to the Library
herman joseph | 06/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Recorded for CBC in Montreal during a series of performances by the principals, it is a synopsis of the plot and excerpts of this great opera. Recorded in 1976, it captures everyone at the top of their form. Decker was terrific, Knie (an underrated Isolde) was in good form, as were Maureen Forrester and Bill Wilderman. Of course it is for Jon Vickers, arguably the greatest Tristan ever, that this DVD belongs in the library. Heroic, tender, delirious, all with a full throat wonder that is astounding. At a reasonable price, you won't be disappointed."