Author Topic: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde  (Read 7321 times)

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Haffner

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #40 on: August 31, 2008, 02:19:29 PM »
Andy, Nice to see you...and your avatar....back. More strength to your arm as they say.

Cheers,

Mike




No, thank YOU, Mike, I'm pulling out the Karajan T and I now!

Haffner

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #41 on: September 01, 2008, 02:16:37 PM »
I finally got around to buying this. It comes in a three DVD set with a couple of hours of extras.


As was mentioned, the director is explicit that the stage set is a womb and a cage from which the lovers escape by their breaking of conventions. The lighting is very careful to reflect the ideas in the piece. Darkness is what Tristan yearns for, it is the place where he can be himself and throw off all the moral rectitude he imposes on his behaviour when he can be observed in the light. In Act 2, light is extinguished; so he is safe to come to Isolde and consumate his love. (Though as Lis' indicated, it is very much sex in the head.) At the end of the Act, it is light that brings with it Marke and discovery and the outside world.

In act two the neck of the womb broadans out for a time and narrows towards the dawn. Act 3, Isolde arrives when it is finally dark again. The lighting is superb. The scenery sometimes looks better than others. The full stage view looks like a Whirlpool washing machine...but when you are in the music, the set is not a distraction.

The acting is first rate. Stemme is very believeable and uses the words with meaning, putting great detail into them. Hers is not a voice I warm to, despite which she is the most involving and compulsive Isolde I have seen. Tristan...a bit of Wagner wobble when he puts pressure on, is otherwise very satisfying and believeable. He has that mad gleam in his eye in Act 3, he is really inside the part. Transformed from the rather bookish ordinary looking man in the documentary; the stage really does produce magic.

Karneus is a favourite singer of mine, a very good actress with a distinctive warm voice. It is well contrasted with Isolde. I like that. In the Karajan audio performance, Ludwig and Dernsch are often almost indistinguishable. No such danger either with Margaret Price/Fassbaender or here. Karneus is first rate, apart from her need to swivel her eyes to the conductor. I have never noticed her doing this before.

No one has mentioned the considerable impression Skovhus makes as Kurwenal. He is a very positive stage presence and much more than a supporting figure.

Pape as Marke brings all the sorrow out, no self pity, much more plain grief at how people have damaged themselves. What a wonderful voice; certainly the best on the stage.

Glyndebourne have pulled it off again. An intelligent production, sung and acted by singers who are able to absorb the detail of the thinking in the libretto and of the director, very well sung, excellently conducted and played. I really like the intimate scale of it, not projected in to a vast auditorium. You journey with them in their opera of the mind.

Finally, Tristan the traitor has managed to find his night and his darkness before Isolde. She is cheated of a final hour together and Stemme describes how Isolde has, at the start of the Liebstod, already joined him. She is already seeing Tristan on the other side, in a way no one else on the stage can...and then: an end to it. But the effects of this drug last long after the sound has faded, long after.

Mike




Re-reading this, I think this performance would be the best DVD of Tristan und Isolde ever. Better than a cd.

Offline knight66

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #42 on: September 01, 2008, 08:55:59 PM »
Andy, I like it so much I am again watching it, but one act at a time. The Isolde is what passes for a modern Wagner voice and she is fine in the lower and middle of the voice; but for instance in the Curse in Act 1, she is woefully underpowered with very strained notes near and at the top of her range.

So, just a little health warning there. If you can take Behrens, then you will find Stemme just fine.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Haffner

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #43 on: September 02, 2008, 02:02:15 AM »
Andy, I like it so much I am again watching it, but one act at a time. The Isolde is what passes for a modern Wagner voice and she is fine in the lower and middle of the voice; but for instance in the Curse in Act 1, she is woefully underpowered with very strained notes near and at the top of her range.

So, just a little health warning there. If you can take Behrens, then you will find Stemme just fine.

Mike



I got used to Behrens. I honestly don't think she's particularly bad, in fact I can say now that I grew to like her. She ain't Birgit Nilssen, but how many are?

When you write "what passes for a modern Wagner voice", I wonder how cynical you're being (laughing).

Offline knight66

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2008, 05:13:29 AM »
Not cynical at all Andy; rather there are not any voices I can think of presently who sing such as Isolde with the weight, golden tone and lack of stress that Flagstadt, Nilsson etc managed. The best of the current crop are compensation a bit by providing psychological insights. But as pure instruments, they don't satna comparison. I am rather less keen on Berehens than Stemme who is certainly musical, but very pushed in some key passages. At least we are spared the Gweneth Jones Wobble.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Haffner

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #45 on: September 02, 2008, 05:55:10 AM »
At least we are spared the Gweneth Jones Wobble.

Mike




She can be trying at times. But even she has her moments, right?

Offline knight66

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #46 on: September 02, 2008, 01:05:33 PM »
One delightful moment was watching her slaughter 'Memories' from Cats at some outdoor televised gala or other. Lloyd-Webber played piano and looked pole-axed by the swooping wobbling rubato wracked mauling she gave it. He seemed to shudder when she clasped his hand to take a very extended diva-like bow. One of the funniest things I have seen or heard.

She has ruined a fair few opera sets for me; but I did see her in Turandot from Covent Garden when she was on a good night and I have her on DVD in Rosenkavalier for Carlos Kleiber and she is very good in it.

Mike
DavidW: Yeah Mike doesn't get angry, he gets even.
I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Haffner

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Re: Glyndebourne Tristan und Isolde
« Reply #47 on: September 02, 2008, 02:26:00 PM »
I have her on DVD in Rosenkavalier for Carlos Kleiber and she is very good in it.

Mike




I've heard good things about that, though I think personally I'll take the Te Kanawa as a first dvd copy of that piece.