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John Treleaven as Tristan, emerging from Siegfried, is comparatively helpless as an actor and needs more visual help than the cameras have been willing to give him. But his voice has a splendid ring to it, so that the baleful draught inspires him as convincingly as it does Isolde at the end of Act 1 [listen -- 'Tristan! -- Isolde! Treuloser Holder!' (Act 1), DVD1 chapter 7, 3:04-4:29]. Nor can any operatic hero have been more eagerly anticipated than in the passage leading to his Act 2 entry [listen -- 'Hörst du sie noch?' (Act 2), DVD2 chapter 2, 10:24-12:00]. The shattering of the love-night summons Falk Struckmann's Kurwenal and ex-Wotan, the comely Melot of Wolfgang Rauch, and agonised Erik Halfvarson (sometime Hunding) as King Mark.

Sundered in Cornwall and Kareol, the lovers depend now on the English Channel and its shipping. Tristan's desolation is wonderfully encapsulated in the subtle windings of the shepherd's pipe as he gazes for any approaching sail and Tristan broods on the sadness of his boyhood [listen -- 'Noch ist kein Schiff zu sehn!' (Act 3), DVD3 chapter 5, 0:01-1:40]. Perhaps it is as well that Isolde arrives too late, if only because universal demise will prevent Mark's enquiring too deeply into what was the precise function of Brangäne's magic potion. I defy anyone to withhold a tear as Deborah Polaski wings her way to the mysterious nirvana Wagner has prepared for her [listen -- 'Mild und leise wie er lächelt' (Act 3), DVD3 chapter 10, 0:00-1:47].

Copyright © 8 December 2005 Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt


Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

OA 0935 D 3xDVD 9 NTSC 16/9 anamorphic,all regions LPCM Stereo/Digital DTS Surround NEW RELEASE 257' 2005 Opus Arte

John Treleaven, Tristan; Deborah Polaski, Isolde; Erik Halfvarson, Marke; Falk Struckmann, Kurwenal; Lioba Braun, Brangäne; Wolfgang Rauch, Melot; Francisco Vas, shepherd/young sailor; Michael Vier, steersman; Symphony Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona; Bertrand de Billy, musical director; Alfred Kirchner, stage director; Annette Murschetz, set design; Ann Poppel, costumes; Jean Kalman, lighting; William Spaulding, choral director; Robert Reimer, assistant musical director; Bert Bijnen, assistant stage director; Joan Anton Rechi, assistant stage director

Richard Wagner (1813-1883): Tristan und Isolde, drama in 3 acts (1854-9, libretto by the composer). Recorded live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona


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