Customer Reviews for

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    domingo outdoes himself

    if i never hear another recording by placido domingo this one will be my desert island recording.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Grippingly Dramatic, Wondrously Performed TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

    For all the fine performances and recordings of Wagner's masterpiece opera TRISTAN UND ISOLDE that have mesmerized audiences for years few are as consistently satisfying as this sumptuous version. Though Wagnerites from Shaw onward have found pleasure in dissecting this opera and performances, capitalizing on the myths of how the role of Tristan has driven most tenors mad, that it is nearly impossible to 'match' the perfect Isolde with an equally perfect Tristan, that the star is either the orchestra or the singers, et cetera ad infinitum, few can deny the fact that this opera contains the most magnificent musical passages ever created. The crowning achievement by EMI Classics was to record 'Tristan und Isolde' in the studio perfect acoustic, taking many days to rehearse and record in sections, allowing the singers time for recuperation between the taxing passages so that the final result is the best of the takes, and most important to record for posterity the Tristan of Placido Domingo. Domingo is one of the most intelligent musicians to grace the opera stages in years and he possesses a huge tenor voice more Italianate than Germanic (a timbre Wagner is said to have dreamed for his Tristan), a voice he has used wisely to survey a huge variety of roles, a voice that he has saved so that in his 60s he still has a blossom to his vocal production that is the imitated envy of many of today's young gifted tenors. Here he crowns his extraordinary career with a Tristan that is one for the ages - perfectly sung, infused with emotion and mystery, a magnificent achievement well worth waiting for. The pacing of the orchestral portions so important to this opera is in the capable hands of Antonio Pappano conducting the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden Orchestra and Chorus. The sound is rich and full and sweeping and in perfect balance with the singers: Pappano wisely knows when Wagner wanted the orchestra to swell and sing in equal passion with his lovers and also when to retreat into the atmosphere that surrounds this love mystery. Nina Stemme is a young heroic soprano with a beautifully formed and projected lush voice than can sail over the huge Wagner orchestra with ease. She is never less than extraordinary and partners Domingo perfectly, especially in the all-important Act II Love Duet. And when it comes to her moment of majesty in the 'Liebestod' that brings this passionate story to a close, she is staggeringly sensitive and fills the room with ravishing singing. The cast is for the most part first rate (this reviewer for one loves the addition of Ian Bostridge and Rolando Villazon to the small roles, an homage to Domingo's stature), with special kudos to Rene Pape as King Mark. The only weak member is Mihoko Fujimura as Brangane: with the current plethora of dazzlingly gifted mezzo-sopranos available one wonders why this quasi-mezzo of a fairly weak vocal production and acting skills was selected. But that is a minor flaw in what is one of the most moving TRISTAN UND ISOLDE recordings available. This is one of those recordings that is not only historically significant but also deserves a place in those special recordings for that fabled desert isle escape! Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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