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<<  -- 2 --  Robert Anderson    MYSTERIOUS NIRVANA


There is no doubt about the excitement generated by the orchestra. This score brooks no half-measures, nor is Bertrand de Billy the man to countenance any. If his tempos are rarely slower than I expected (the start of the 'Liebestod' is a wondrous exception), the climaxes are prepared with meticulous cunning. This is clear enough during the prelude, when Wagner builds relentlessly towards an almost unbearable tension, here fully realised [listen -- Prelude (Act 1), DVD1 chapter 1, 6:18-8:04]. At the other dynamic extreme is the mournful shepherd's cor anglais solo in Act 3, no less sensitively judged.

What of the chief characters? Most of them are old friends, as it were, from the Barcelona Ring DVDs. The Isolde of Deborah Polaski was the powerful Brünnhilde; here her expressive face reflects the slightest flicker of emotion. The part is so convincingly presented one almost forgets she may not be vocally the greatest Isolde of one's opera-going. Certainly her Act 1 'narration' has all the necessary anguish and command [listen -- 'Weh, ach Wehe! Dies zu dulden!' (Act 1), DVD1 chapter 4, 3:54-5:17]. Lioba Braun's Brangäne (previously Fricka) is radiantly concerned for her mistress, but should have advised her against having the dead Morold's gruesome head as travelling companion.

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Copyright © 8 December 2005 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt


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