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Wagner : Tristan und Isolde CD, Enregistrement original remasterisé, Import

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Détails sur le produit

  • Interprète: Kirsten Flagstad, Ludwig Suthaus
  • Orchestre: Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Compositeur: Richard Wagner
  • CD (11 septembre 2001)
  • Nombre de disques: 4
  • Format : CD, Enregistrement original remasterisé, Import
  • Label: Mis
  • ASIN : B00005NW0D
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 818.440 en Musique (Voir les 100 premiers en Musique)
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Liste des titres

Disque : 1

  1. Act I: Prld - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  2. Act I, Scene 1: Westwarts Schweift Der Blick
  3. Act I, Scene 1: Brangane, Du? Sag - Wo Sind Wir?
  4. Act I, Scene 1: O Weh! Ach! Ach, Des Ubels, Das Ich Geahnt!
  5. Act I, Scene 2: Frisch Weht Der Wind Der Heimat Zu - Rudolf Schock
  6. Act I, Scene 2: Mir Erkoren, Mir Verloren
  7. Act I, Scene 2: Hab Acht, Tristan! Botschaft Von Isolde - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  8. Act I, Scene 2: Darf Ich Die Antwort Sagen? - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  9. Act I, Scene 3: Weh, Ach Wehe! Dies Zu Dulden!
  10. Act I, Scene 3: Wie Lachend Sie Mir Lieder Singen
  11. Act I, Scene 3: Von Seinem Lager Blickt' Er Her
  12. Act I, Scene 3: O Wunder! Wo Hatt' Ich Die Augen?
  13. Act I, Scene 3: Da Friede, Suhn' Und Freundschaft
  14. Act I, Scene 3: O Susse, Traute! Teure! Holde! Goldne Herrin! - Blanche Thebom
  15. Act I, Scene 3: Ungeminnt Den Hehrsten Mann
  16. Act I, Scene 3: Kennst Du Der Mutter Kusnte Night?
  17. Act I, Scene 4: Auf! Auf! Ihr Frauen! - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  18. Act I, Scene 4: Herrn Tristan Bringe Meinen Gruss
  19. Act I, Scene 4: Nun Leb Wohl, Brangane!
  20. Act I, Scene 5: Langsam - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  21. Act I, Scene 5: Begehrt, Herrin, Was Ihr Wunscht
  22. Act I, Scene 5: Da Du So Sittsam, Mein Herr Tristan
  23. Act I, Scene 5: Nun Will Ich Des Eides Walten

Disque : 2

  1. Act I, Scene 5: War Morold Dir So Wert
  2. Act I, Scene 5: Ho! He! Ha! Am Obermast Die Segel Ein!
  3. Act I, Scene 5: Du Horst Den Rut?
  4. Act I, Scene 5: Auf Das Tau! Anker Los!
  5. Act I, Scene 5: Tristan!...Isolde!
  6. Act I, Scene 5: Was Traumte Mir Von Tristans Ehre?
  7. Act I, Scene 5: Schnell, Den Mantel, Den Konigsschmuck!
  8. Act II: Prld - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  9. Act II, Scene 1: Horst Du Sie Noch?
  10. Act II, Scene 1: Der Deiner Harrt - O Hor Mein Warren!
  11. Act II, Scene 1: O Lass Die Warnende Zunde
  12. Act II, Scene 1: Und Musste Der Minne Tuckischer Trank
  13. Act II, Scene 2: Isolde! Geliebte!...Tristan! Geliebter!
  14. Act II, Scene 2: Das Licht! Das Licht!
  15. Act II, Scene 2: Der Tag! Der Tag!
  16. Act II, Scene 2: O Eitler Tagesknecht!
  17. Act II, Scene 2: In Deiner Hand Dne Sussen Tod
  18. Act II, Scene 2: O Nun Maren Wir Nacht-Geweihte! - Ludwig Suthaus
  19. Act II, Scene 2: O Sink Hernieder, Nacht Der Liebe
  20. Act II, Scene 2: Einsam, Wachend In Der Nacht - Blanche Thebom
  21. Act II, Scene 2: Lausch, Geliebter!
  22. Act II, Scene 2: Unsre Liebe? Tristans Liebe? - Ludwig Suthaus

Disque : 3

  1. Act II, Scene 2: Doch Unsre Liebe
  2. Act II, Scene 2: So Sturben Wir, Un Ungetrennt
  3. Act II, Scene 2: Habet Acht! Habet Acht!
  4. Act II, Scene 2: O Ew'ge Nacht, Susse nacht!
  5. Act II, Scene 3: Rette Dich, Tristan! - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  6. Act II, Scene 3: Tatest Du's Wirklich? - Josef Greindl
  7. Act II, Scene 3: Wozu Die Dienste Ohne Zahl - Josef Greindl
  8. Act II, Scene 3: Dies Wunderhehre Weib - Josef Greindl
  9. Act II, Scene 3: Nun, Da Durch Solchen Besitz Mein Herz - Josef Greindl
  10. Act II, Scene 3: O Konig, Das Kann Ich dir Nicht Sagen - Ludwig Suthaus
  11. Act II, Scene 3: Wohin Nun Tristan Scheidet, Willst Du, Isold', Ihm Folgen? - Ludwig Suthaus
  12. Act II, Scene 3: Als Fur Ein Fremdes Land - Kirstan Flagstad
  13. Act II, Scene 3: Verrater! Ha! Zur Rache, Konig! - Ludwig Suthaus
  14. Act III: Prld - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  15. Act III, Scene 1: Shepherd's Pipe Song - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  16. Act III, Scene 1: Kurwenal! He! Sag, Kurwenal! - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  17. Act III, Scene 1: Od' Und Leer Das Meer!.../Shepherd's Pipe Song/Die Alte Weise - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  18. Act III, Scene 1: Wo Du Bist? In Frieden, Sicher Und Frei! - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  19. Act III, Scene 1: Dunkt Dich Das? Ich Weiss Es Anders - Ludwig Suthaus
  20. Act III, Scene 1: Isolde Noch Im Reich Der Sonne - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau

Disque : 4

  1. Act III, Scene 1: Noch Iosch Das Licht Nicht Aus - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  2. Act III, Scene 1: Mein Kurwenal, Du Trauter Freund! - Ludwig Suthaus
  3. Act III, Scene 1: Shepherd's Pipe Song/Noch Ist Kein Schiff Zu Sehn! - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  4. Act III, Scene 1: Nein! Ach Nein! So Heisst Sie Nicht! - Ludwig Suthaus
  5. Act III, Scene 1: Der Trank! Der Trank! Der Furchtbare Trank! - Ludwig Suthaus
  6. Act III, Scene 1: Mein Herre! Tristan! Schrecklicher Zauber! - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  7. Act III, Scene 1: Das Schiff? Siehst Du's Noch Nicht? - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  8. Act III, Scene 1: Wie Sie Selig, Hehr Und Milde - Ludwig Suthaus
  9. Act III, Scene 1: Shepherd's Pipe Song/O Wonne! Freude! Ha! Das Schiff! - Wilhelm Furtwangler
  10. Act III, Scene 2: O Diese Sonne! Ha, Diesser Tag!
  11. Act III, Scene 2: Ich Bin's, Ich Bin's Sussester Freund!
  12. Act III, Scene 2: Die Wunde? Wo? Lass Sie Mich Heilen!
  13. Act III, Scene 3: Kurwenal! Hor! Ein Zweites Schiff - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
  14. Act III, Scene 3: Tot Denn Alles! Alles Tot! - Josef Greindl
  15. Act III, Scene 3: Sie Wacht! Sie Lebt! Isolde! - Josef Greindl
  16. Act III, Scene 3: Mild Und Leise Wir Er Lachelt
  17. Act III, Scene 3: Heller Schallend, Mich Umwallend

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Par earthlingonfire TOP 500 COMMENTATEURSVOIX VINE le 7 décembre 2006
1952 : premier enregistrement intégral de Tristan et Isolde en studio. La direction est typique du dernier Furtwängler : la vision est supérieurement ample et cohérente, mais l'édifice, pour être monumental, a quelque peu la tristesse d'un grand château vide. Disparues l'énergie prophétique, les fulgurances, les acharnements paniques, les escalades vertigineuses des années 20 et 30. Reste une immense leçon de musique et d'interprétation, immense comme ces tempi qui indiquent clairement que le regard que le chef porte sur la partition n'est pas à hauteur d'homme, mais transcendant. En ce sens, sa direction est opposée à celle de Böhm à Bayreuth en 1966 (DG), qui dès le prélude orchestral du I s'immisce dans le corps de l'auditeur, et en particulier dans sa respiration. Celle de Furtwängler n'est pas une respiration humaine mais surhumaine. Pemière conséquence : cette version s'apprécie peu en termes sensoriels ou émotionnels. Deuxième conséquence : les chanteurs se voient imposer des tenues excessives. Non pas qu'ils y perdent le souffle, mais ils doivent faire durer les notes plus longtemps qu'ils n'y mettent du sens, sacrifiant la parole à la musique. C'est particulièrement le cas de Blanche Thebom (Brangaine déjà guère marquante) dans le I, où elle doit souvent prolonger l'émission en regardant sa montre. Le Marke de la basse noire Greindl sent son Fafner à plein nez. Flagstad est en fin de course pour les grands sopranos dramatiques, avant de se reconvertir en mezzo.Lire la suite ›
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x98102bb8) étoiles sur 5 32 commentaires
64 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9588f3a8) étoiles sur 5 Five Stars are Not Enough for the Essential "Tristan" 9 novembre 2004
Par Ralph J. Steinberg Lover of German Music - Publié sur Amazon.com
Achat vérifié
There are a number of notable recordings of "Tristan und "Isolde"; the Bohm recording from Bayreuth, the (sadly) abridged EMI version (on Preiser and Naxos) from the 1928 Bayreuth Festival, another Bayreuth performance from 1952, with Karajan conducting and Modl and Vinay in the title roles (Modl is one of the most underrated Wagnerian sopranos, a singer with temperament and superb acting ability). I personally have raved over the 1928 Bayreuth set under Elmendorff with Larsen-Todsen and Graarud. But still, as a totality, the Furtwangler "Tristan" maintains its lead as one of the very few opera recordings that can be called "definitive" (the other Wagner sets in this category would include Kempe's "Meistersinger" and Furtwangler's "Walkure"). This reissue is brighter in sound thatn previous ones, and allows for more clarity both in the singers and the orchestral sound. Flagstad's portrayal now emerges as passionate, yet reserved and regal, as an Isolde should be. Suthaus is a really great Tristan, in some ways reminiscent of my favorite Wagnerian tenor, Max Lorenz. Although it would have been exciting to have Margarete KLose as Brangane, I have no reservations about Blanche Thebom in the role. Rudolf Schock is wonderful as both the sailer and the shepherd, and Josef Greindl sings with more dignity and refinement than usual. But Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Kurvenal really belongs in a class by itself. But of course, the main reason for this album's success all of these decades is the intense, surging conducting of Wilhelm Furtwangler, directing an orchestra that although worked intermittantly with him, understood him as well as any other orchestra. I end by nominating this as the ESSENTIAL "Tristan."
73 internautes sur 79 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9588f5d0) étoiles sur 5 IT'S AS GREAT AS EVER -- WITH IMPROVED SOUND 4 octobre 2001
Par L. Mitnick - Publié sur Amazon.com
This recording has led a charmed life since its original release, and why not? Surely it remains as arguably the greatest complete "Tristan Und Isolde" ever preserved in any recording. The sound has been even further improved over the previous EMI incarnation on CD, which was itself an improvement over the long playing vinyl format ---- which remained in the catalogue since its original release in 1953. Furtwangler's way of capturing the black magic of this fabulous score remains a marvel, yet it is in the lyrical portions, such as in the long love duet in Act II, where he weaves an expansive web of sound that, to my ears, comes close to a musical transfiguration. In this, he is aided greatly by the Isolde of Kirsten Flagstad. While it is true that by the time she made this recording in 1952, at age fifty-seven, her voice had passed it's most resplendent prime, it is also true that virtually no one (with the exception of Birgit Nilsson) has come within miles her her accomplishment here. Her Isolde is perhaps somewhat matronly, but it is certainly magnificently sung --- and who really cares about the two interpolated top C's that Elisabeth Schwarzkopf inserted in Act II? It simply doesn't matter --- the role has been masterfully performed with those two notes completely omitted. What matters here is that Flagstad on this recording still was in possession of a glorious and shining instrument. Her Tristan, Ludwig Suthaus, obviously is not in her league, but he is no slouch either, and is certainly preferable to most, if not all of the recorded Tristans (save possibly for Jon Vickers) already heard. He sings beautifully with Flagstad in Act II --- and their voices blend rhapsodically when they must. The very young Dietrich Fischer-Diskeau is heard as Kurwenal --- and I've yet to hear anyone better in this role. I am considerably less impressed with the Brangane of Blanche Thebom, whose singing to me has a blanched and faded quality. But of course, she is swept along by Flagstad, who would probably have blown anyone away anyway. The price of this recording has been moderately reduced, and the packaging is elegant, as are all of the releases in this EMI Great Recordings of the Century series --- with a smaller but quite nostalgic reproduction of the cover art which graced the original LP recording. If you don't already own this recording, you need it. If you already own the previous incarnation on CD, you might want to buy this one anyway for the improvement in the sonics. Whatever the case, it's one of the giants!
42 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9588f6b4) étoiles sur 5 The supremacy of Furtwangler 27 octobre 2005
Par The Cultural Observer - Publié sur Amazon.com
The great dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf herself said about Wilhelm Furtwangler that he was the greatest conductor who ever lived. The soprano quoted that Furtwangler knew how to make the music flow...that he made the music live. Yehudi Menuhin, the great Jewish violinist, praised Furtwangler as the one conductor who knew how to shape music into a fluid--a feat that Furtwangler could do so well without resorting into shaping static, solid phrases of music. Werner Tharichen, a long time timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic, had this to say about Furtwangler. "One day I was sitting beside my timpani while a guest conductor was reheasing...Suddenly the sound changed. There was warmth and intensity as if everything were at stake. Astonished, I looked up from my score to seee if some new baton acrobatism had brought about this miracle. But it was still the same conductor. I looked at my colleagues. They were all staring at the door at the far end of the hall. There stood Furtwangler. His mere presence suffered to draw those sounds from the orchestra."

Imaginative...fluid, and lyrical. Sublime, passionate, erotic...rapture...these mere words fail to express the beauty that shrouds this recording of Tristan und Isolde. For many years, I have held out on this recording due to my thought that Karajan's Tristan was supreme over Furtwangler's. I was not mistakened, for stereo, Jon Vickers, Christa Ludwig, and a youthful Dernesch all made K's Tristan a wonder to behold. Then, I put this record back onto my player, and before I knew it I was enraptured by the sweet music flowing from Act II. Then I heard the dementia elucidated by the orchestra in Act III and lo and behold, I was seduced. Furtwangler really knew how to conduct Wagner's most passionate score, and without a doubt his Tristan is supreme over others in interpretation of music.

Kirsten Flagstad sings Isolde in this recording. She has distilled this Isolde from the many years she has performed it, and it is indeed a golden one. It may sound matronly at first, but you tend to overlook this once you are swept away by Furtwangler's greatness. No one phrases Isolde the way she does, and no one is as musical either. This is an Isolde of perfect pitch and tenderness and lyricism. Augment that to her enormous voice and you have the perfect Wagnerian singer. Ludwig Suthaus is an amazing heldentenor, one of the most beautiful voices to take on the role. Blanche Thebom, like a former reviewer said, is the perfect foil to Flagstad's outstanding Isolde, floating Brangäne's lyrical lines with a lithe, limber tone so fitting for the role. The young Fischer-Dieskau with his energetic vivacity and his lieder singer nuances complements the role of Kurwenal perfectly.

With more than 50 years behind it, this recording still takes first place as an essential Tristan.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9588f828) étoiles sur 5 A Great Reading... A Great Recording! 22 novembre 2006
Par William Taylor - Publié sur Amazon.com
It's hard to imagine that anything can be better. So don't try. This is the best-recorded version of this amazing opera I have ever heard. A truly unmatched achievement in sound direction and vocal virtuosity.
"Classic" or "Legendary" recordings turn off some people due to the fact that they never know what kind of sound quality they will receive. Let me tell you as an audiophile, conductor, composer, musician and long time music listener: This is not what you think! It is a wonderfully clear, bold and warm recording with great dynamic influx and solid resonance that will fill any room on a good set of speakers. There is no better way to enjoy this great masterpiece! Bravo EMI! Bravo Furtwangler! This is without a doubt one of the 20th century's greatest sound recordings!
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9588fb64) étoiles sur 5 Which Tristan to pick in the modern era? 5 septembre 2005
Par Santa Fe Listener - Publié sur Amazon.com
Many readers will howl at my rating this legendary recording with three stars, but hear me out.

Since Thielemann's live Tristan and EMI's studio version with Placido Domingo both received decidedly mixed reviews, I thought it would be interesting to consider the leading available choices for this great opera. Tristan is indispensable for any serious collector, and we have a wide range of choices. by some accounts, all are so uneven that there is no clear winner, but I think a choice can be made by considering which elements of the work are most important to you.

Condcutor: If all that mattered were the conductor, the situation would be golden. Wilhelm Furtwangler heads the list in 1952 with his much-acclaimed mono set on EMI, but at almost exactly the same time Karajan was conducting a live performance at Bayreuth, now issued in good broadcast mono by Orfeo, that gives Furtwangler a serious rival -- I prefer it, in fact. Twenty years later, this time in stereo, Karajan was magnificent with the Berlin Phil. in a studio set for EMI, despite some engineering quirks. Finally, there is Carlos Kleiber's dstreamlined modern view on DG. These four sets give us a conductor-dominated perspective of a score whose orchestral part alone would cause it to rank as a pinnacle of Western music. They encompass such diverse musical intelligence, insight, and virtuosity that I couldn't imagine wanting more. Other notable Wagner conductors -- Bohm, Solti, Knappertsbusch, and now (I suppose) Thielemann -- have also had their say in the modern era and have gained a clutch of enthusiastic fans, although I am not among them. Antonio Pappano, conducting on the EMI set with Domingo, gives a fresh reading with lots of virtues, although he seems consciously to steer away from Wagner style, perhaps too much so. Thielemann's great flaw is inconsistency; he is apt to go slack and lose focus, yet there are many moments of skill and beauty.

Orchestra: I wouldn't pick a favorite Tristan based upon the orcheswtra alone, but three glorious ensembles have recorded the work in top form: the Philharmonia for Furtwangler (not captured in the best mono sound, however), the Berlin Phil. for Karajan, Vienna Phil. for Thirelemann, and the Bayreuth Festival Orch. for the earlier Karajan, Bohm, and Barenboim (in case you consider him a major Wagner conductor -- I don't, but there's no doubt that the orchestra plays very well for him in a live performance on Teldec). In the opera house I don't think the Covent Garden orchestra could remotely keep up, but on Domingo's EMI recording they sound quite beautiful.

Tristan: For fifty years the long shadow of Melchior was so deep that every future Tristan was considered a make-do. However, Melchior made no commerical recording of the role, and those that exist from radio air-checks are a strain to listen to. Today only the old-timers mention Melchior's name, opening up the field for musical singers who have almost but not quite enough voice to rank as heldentenors. Windgassen gives an exemplary account for Bohm on DG, even though his leathery voice wasn't beautiful and he tires badly before the end -- the musicality is undoubtedly there. Even better is Domingo for Pappano on EMI, a studio effort that finds the aging superstar in tremendous voice, delivering one of his best Wagner roles. The thrilling high notes and bright tone are a huge plus. At the same level I would put Ramon Vinay singing for Karajan in his Bayreuth rendition. Vinay traveled back and forth between heroic tenor and baritone, giving tremendous animal magnetism and visceral impact to his portrayals. Both he and Domingo come from a Spanish-Italian tradition, so neither can be classed as a true German singer, yet they make convincing, moving Tristans. Siegfried Jerusalem, another intelligent artist, lags behind them on the Barenboim set becasue the role is three sizes too large for him rather than one or two; the same goes for Thomas Moser under Thielemann on DG -- obvious vocal strain makes both too hard to listen to. At the back of the pack comes Rene Kollo for Kleiber -- he is so overparted that you feel like you're watching a marathon runner trying to cross the finish line before he collapses from exhaustion. On Furtwangler's set Suthaus has a dry voice with medium heft, and the conductor's slow tempos quickly wear him out. I'm not sure why his dull Tristan has become a silk purse in the eyes of modern critics. If only the better-voiced and more musical Set Svanholm had stepped in to take his place.

The best news among Tirstans is that two tenors come as close as possible to being a match for Melchior, after conceding that no one ever will completely. The first, Jon Vickers, gives a risky, committed, emotionally intense performance on Karajan's stereo account. If no one else in the modern era had sung the role on disc, I would be satisfied, pace those critics who find Vickers too personal, even eccentric in his decidedly non-German approach. Sheer power, intelligence, and vocal gleam make up for whatever lack of authenticity one detects. The other "real" Tristan is Ben Heppner, who may fall a fraction short of being a heldentenor (he's more naturally suited to Walther in Meistesinger and the title role in Lohengrin), but who overcomes sall objections through sheer beuaty of voice, thrilling high notes, and emotional intenisty. Sadly, his Tristan can only be heard on a DVD of a live Met performance under James Levine. One hopes that a record company will capture him on disc before he gets too old -- I believe Sony BMG has announced plans of the sort.

Isolde: Conventional wisdom has it that two singers have owned the role, Kirsten Flagstad and Birgit Nilsson. That seems to leave little room for other dramatic sopranos, yet the case isn't quite so simple. It may offend true believers, but Flagstad sounds matronly and unexciting in her famous stuido recording under Furtwangler, and although she sings with great authority, I for one don't hear much dramatic diversity -- she keeps pouring out the same steady, huge sound without telling us much about Isolde's emotional changes. Brigit Nilsson, criticized in her day for the same reason, strikes me as a fierce Isolde in her live Bayreuth account under Bohm, yet nothing overshadows the fact that her assumption was stupendous. The gleaming voice conveys enormous intenisty and power, and the character stands before you in all her rage, passion, and eventual transcendence. To me, it's unthinkable to say you know the opera unless you have heard Nilsson. For a younger, somewhat softer version, she is the Isolde for Solti on Decca, too, caught a few years earlier. I find both portrayals incomparable.

Things get muddled after the big two. On Karajan's mono set we have Martha Modl, a powerful, intensely dramatic Isolde whose great flaw is that her voice was striking rahter than beautiful -- it's almost curdled at times -- yet for anyone who can listen beyond beauty of tone, Modl is very satisfying and a real risk-taker. On Karajan's stereo set the role goes to Helga Dernesch, a great Karajan discovery whose voice was supposedly ruined by taking on Brunnhilde and Isolde too early -- or perhaps she was never destined to be a true Wagnerian soprano, a hindrane that didn't stop Hildegard Behrens (heard to distressing effect on Bernstein's star-crossed version for Philips), Deborah Voigt (for Thielemann), Margaret Price (for Kleiber), Nina Stemme (for Pappano) or Waltraud Meier (for Barenboim), who isn't even a soprano.

Among all these contenders who don't quite fit the role, Dernesch comes closest. She had the misfortune to walk in Nilsson's shadow (not only here but as Karajan's Brunnhilde in Siegfried and Gotterdammerung on DG). I have never understood the criticism of her Isolde, which strikes me as beautiful, dramatic, and intense. Critics invariably praise Margasret Price, on the other hand, whose lyric soprano suited Mozart in youth and later grew into Verdi (sort of), but to me her Isolde is purely a gimmick of the microphone. Yes, she's youthful and fresh, but there's no real Isolde there in terms of stature and authority. Nina Stemme could turn into a convincing Isolde with time -- the young Sweish soprano shows great promise -- but she was out of her depth on the Domingo set, where her agreeable vocalism is undercut by dramatic blandness. Meier is too obviously a make-do, pinching out her high noes and hanging on for dear life the rest of the time, which brings us to Voigt. Her ventures into Wagner make sense in vocal terms, and she has the courage to do the role of Isolde live for Thielemann, exposing herself to cruel demands and inevitable exhaustion.

The probelm with Voigt is that, like Behrens, she possesses only half a Wagner voicce -- the gleaming top -- and where Behrens made up for lack of vocal weight through thrilling characterization, Voigt is a dull singing actress. She pushes the notes with sufficient intensity, yet you never feel Isolde's emotional power -- at every moment a soprano with a big, beautiful voice is just pouring out sound. Make the voice twice as large and you get Jane Eaglen, the dominant Wagner soprano of the day. Her strength lies in her top notes, too, but she can give a credible rendition of the entire role. Eaglen succeeds through sheer power, being able to carry over the orchestra without benefit of enhancement from the engineers. In the opera house she can be vocally stunning, but Eaglen isn't much for acting, so her portrayal on the same Met DVD as Heppner lacks dramatic interest. (I don't believe she will be paired with Heppner on his proposed recording, but there are resonable sounding pirate versions of their partnership from the Chicago Lyric Opera, easily fuond online. Be prepared for distortion and odd blanaces; clearly someone sneaked a portable tape recorder into the house)

I've tried to give a fair assessment of the Tristan recordings that impress me personally. In the end, of course, each listener must decide which elements of this vast opera are most critical. Since I put conducting first and foremost, followed by dramatic believability, my preferred sets are as follows:

Karajan -- EMI (stereo)
Karajan -- Orfeo (mono)
Bohm -- DG
Pappano -- EMI
Furtwangler -- EMI
C. Kleiber -- DG

Demoting Furtwangler from his legendary status is enough to earn a hail of disdain at Amazon, but for overall enjoyment my top three versions are the ones I have returned to for several decades.
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