The popular Prelude & the so-called Liebestod (“Mild und Leise”) from Richard Wagner’s music drama Tristan und Isolde are the most familiar parts orchestras play, most often in the 1859 concert arrangement by Wagner. (He preferred that the term Liebestod be applied to the Prelude only, & originally titled his concert version Liebestod und Verklärung, or “Love-death & Transfiguration.”) The featured work of this Chandos SACD is the 1994 suite arranged by Henk de Vlieger, fashioned from key parts of the entire opera, not just the beginning & end. Tristan und Isolde: An Orchestral Passion is a lengthy tone poem that includes key passages, in much the same manner as de Vlieger’s other symphonic syntheses on Der Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, & Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
With Tristan und Isolde La Scala opened its 07/08 new in a new production staged by Patrice Chéreau. In this collaboration Daniel Barenboim and Patrice Chéreau (of whom Daniel Barenboim said: "In Chereau, I found my ideal partner“) fulfil a Wagnerian dream they had been cherishing since 1980. The opera hadn’t been staged at La Scala for over 30 years and was a triumph with over 20 minutes of applause.
This production of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” was recorded during the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s great tour to Japan in 1993. Directed by Götz Friedrich and conducted by Jiří Kout, this interpretation of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde was a great success. Wagner’s composition of “Tristan und Isolde” was inspired by his love affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Widely acknowledged as one of the peaks of the operatic repertoire, this music drama was notable for Wagner’s advanced use of chromaticism, tonality, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension.
This production of Richard Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” was recorded during the Deutsche Oper Berlin’s great tour to Japan in 1993. Directed by Götz Friedrich and conducted by Jiří Kout, this interpretation of the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde was a great success. Wagner’s composition of “Tristan und Isolde” was inspired by his love affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer.
"In his 60s, Domingo remains a marvel. Indeed, he gives us a performance of Tristan, carefully studied, heroically sung, sympathetically interpreted, that truly crowns his career as a tenor and recording artist. (…) Even more remarkable is the Isolde of Nina Stemme. As she showed at Glyndebourne a couple of years ago, she offers the most telling Isolde since Nilsson's at Bayreuth for Böhm; (…) To near-perfection she is the angry, frustrated woman of Act 1, the besotted lover of Act 2 and the transfigured Isolde of Act 3. Nothing in the long and taxing role escapes her notice, yet the detail is never exposed at the expense of the portrayal as a whole. (…) Mihoko Fujimura, Bayreuth's current Fricka and Waltraute, not only has a lovely voice but - like her mistress - never misses a point in the text. Hers is a lighter voice than that of most Brangänes (…). Over all presides the alert and commanding Pappano. This is not an interpretation in the timeless, deep vein of Furtwängler, more in the dramatic mode of Karajan in 1952 and Böhm. We are here concerned with a living drama, an aching tragedy played and played out through every bar with a pulsating energy tamed by a thoughtful mind."Alan Blyth, Gramophone Magazine / September 2005
‘Peter Schneider conducted with real feeling for the score and the prelude to the first act stole upon the ear with the magic of Bayreuth’s amazing acoustics. Robert Dean Smith is now a fine Tristan with a really beautiful voice. …Robert Holl made a moving King Marke, his magnificent bass nobly used. Some of the most beautiful singing came from Clemens Bieber's Young Seaman at the beginning.’ (The Stage)