Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (2DVD)

Deutsche Grammophon
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René Kollo, Johanna Meier, Bayreuther Festspiele, Daniel Barenboim


René Kollo, Johanna Meier, Matti Salminen, Hermann Becht & Hanna Schwarz

Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele, Daniel Barenboim

Staged and Directed by: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle


“For a supposedly 'difficult' opera, there's a fair choice of DVD Tristans… But this 1983 Bayreuth version, reappearing at last here on DVD, remains the finest. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's staging steers impressively between the Romantically naturalistic and the poetic: a gnarled tree trunk doubles as ship and castle, and Isolde is symbolically isolated by her encircling robes. René Kollo and Johanna Meier don't have huge voices, but sing and act with unusual expression, and even look good. Matti Salminen as King Mark and Hanna Schwarz as Brangäne are heartbreakingly intense...” - BBC Music Magazine

“This Bayreuth Tristan (first seen in 1981) is an almost perfect marriage of fairy-tale beauty (legendary Arthurian settings, "period" costumes) and interventionist Regie. Meier, of all princess, spell-casting witch and consumed lover, is a risk-taking Isolde, slamming the sword with the missing fragment into the wide swaying ship deck. Kollo's hero has Hotter-like detail, intensity and pain. ...the younger Daniel Barenboim secures thrilling drama-enhancing playing from the Festival Orchestra. But the ultimate triumph is Ponnelle's - he staged the show, designed the set and the costumes, and directed this film of it.” - Gramophone Magazine

“Barenboim's DVD, with evocatively beautiful sets by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, presents an essentially poetic vision of Tristan...The video production is very well managed, using six cameras imaginatively, often in close-up, bringing out the beauty of the sets. Meier rises superbly to the challenge of the final Liebestod, rounding off an impressive performance” - The Penguin Guide to Classical Recorded Music