Georg Solti’s reading of ‘Tristan und Isolde’, is one of the most thrilling experiences of this opera on record, moving from becalmed to frenzied. The prominence of the orchestral playing – and what playing from the Vienna Philharmonic – is explained by producer John Culshaw as being very clearly indicated in the score by Wagner when he wanted the orchestra to engulf the voices. The substantial scenes from all three acts – here expertly extracted from an opera that is hard to ‘excerpt’ at the best of times – are bonused with two brief rehearsal extracts from the recording.
Tristan und Isolde (highlights)
Herrn Trisstan bringe meinen Gruss
O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe
Einsam wachend in der Nacht
Unsre Liebe? Tristans Liebe?
So starben wir, um ungetrennt
Der ode Tag sum Letztenmal! … Das sollst du, Herr, mir sagen …
Mir dies? Dies, Tristan, mir?
Kurwenal! Hor! Ein zweites Schiff
Mild und leise (Liebestod)
Georg Solti rehearses Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde
Narrated by John Culshaw, executive producer
Discussion: Georg Solti, Regina Resnik & crew
Brangane’s Call, Act 2 Rehearsal
Arnold van Mill
‘Nilsson’s gleaming voice was in its prime in 1960 and she sings Isolde with tireless concentration and an appreciable feeling for the various aspects of the part—frustration and revenge in Act 1, love’s delirium in Act 2 and the elevation of the Liebestod’ Gramophone
‘knife-edged dramatic tension … Birgit Nilsson responds superbly to Solti’s direction … Fritz Uhl is a really musical Heldentenor… the Kurwenal of Tom Krause and the King Marke of Arnold van Mill are both excellent … The production has the usual Decca/Culshaw imaginative touch, and the recording matches brilliance and clarity with satisfying coordination and richness’ *** Penguin Guide to Opera on Compact Discs