WAGNER Tristan und Isolde / Thielemann


Tristan und Isolde
Stephen Gould · Evelyn Herlitzius
Georg Zeppenfeld · Iain Paterson
Christa Mayer
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Christian Thielemann

Staged by Katharina Wagner
Int. Release 08 Jul. 2016
Visual Download Album
0440 073 5277 9
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean
A co-production of BF Medien and NHK in cooperation
with TV Skyline, TMT, BR Klassik and 3sat
Picture format: 1080i / 50i / 16:9 / colour
Audio Format: PCM Stereo / PCM 5.0

Track List

EL 1: Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90


Stephen Gould, Evelyn Herlitzius, Georg Zeppenfeld, Christa Mayer, Iain Paterson, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Christian Thielemann

Total Playing Time 4:08:35

EL 2: Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90

Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90

Act 1


Stephen Gould, Evelyn Herlitzius, Georg Zeppenfeld, Christa Mayer, Iain Paterson, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, Christian Thielemann

Total Playing Time 3:56

The performance is outstanding. Evelyn Herlitzius, a leading Elektra of our time, is a perfect Isolde, with plenty of power and a warmth usually not associated with the role. For me, the biggest surprise was Stephen Gould, who is a magnificent Tristan . . . he has it all together -- this is a Tristan to remember. The cast uniformly is strong, but perhaps the real stars are the conductor and orchestra. This is one of the most passionate readings I've ever heard . . .

The concentrated acting performances are closely supported by Christian Thielemann's approach . . . He's not afraid here to sound deliberately un-beautiful when the staging needs it . . . Or to vary tempi much more widely than, say, Karl Böhm . . . Evelyn Herlitzius delivers the Act 1 narratives with fury and power, and seems later not to be out-sung by Stephen Gould's noble, larger-sounding Tristan. The tenor is especially impressive in his untiring handling of Act 3's delusions. Both show immense understanding of and ability to communicate their complex texts at every moment. Georg Zeppenfeld's often cruel, unforgiving Marke captures a wider range in the role than many -- from sadistic jokey involvement in his Act 2 spying role to genuine horror . . . Michael Beyer's video direction sometimes takes the imaginary spectator up into the fly galleries of the theatre, the better to picture the stage layouts beneath. The Blu-ray mode itself is predictably sharp throughout and most effective in picking up detail in the darkest moments . . . [this is an important and compelling addition to the] Bayreuth productions of the opera already captured on DVD.

For me, the greatest thing about this production was Stephen Gould's Tristan, which is far and away the best I've heard in the theatre. Hearing the confidence with which he tackles the mountain range of the third act left me open-mouthed in amazement at times. The voice has strength, power and tremendous heft, fearlessly conquering the tessitura. Knowing that, however, the thing that most struck me on the BD was the lyricism and warmth of his voice, particularly in the first act. He sings the first two acts like the most gorgeous form of "bel canto", and to then go from that to the poleaxing final act is an achievement that is just astonishing. For him alone, this BD would be worth picking up. He is undoubtedly the finest exponent of the role today, and I count it a privilege to have heard him sing it. The other real standout is Georg Zeppenfeld . . . He sings the old King with profound lyricism, great depth of feeling and unflinching musicality, one of the finest I've heard on disc recently . . . British bass Iain Paterson sounds great as Kurwenal, bluff warm and humane throughout . . . [Thielemann's] ear for the long line is pretty breathtaking. His account of the Prelude is volcanic, with surges of energy that threaten to overwhelm towards the end, punctuated by what sound like genuine stabs of pain. He controls the unfolding tension with absolute mastery . . . and he generates both excitement and agony in vast quantities.

. . . one really does sense a potent visualisation of the text . . . the camera-work enhances rather than distracts from the overall picture . . . [effective camera shots from above the stage give] a viewpoint that one is never going to experience in the theatre, but which reveal how three-dimensional the mise-en-scene is, and how everything is visually governed by the triangle characterising the relationship between the main three protagonists . . . [Evelyn Herlitzius gives] a gripping, involving account of Isolde, especially when seen in close-up. Stephen Gould produces one of his more nuanced performances as Tristan and remains tireless to the end. The beauty of tone and delivery from Georg Zeppenfeld's Mark belie his villainous image here, and both Christa Meyer's Brangane and Iain Paterson's Kurwenal are syrnpathetically portrayed in voice and acting. Christian Thielemann's conducting certainly exploits the emotional fire in Wagner's writing . . . his ternpi are well judged and the individual paragraphs feel part of the whole. The sound and balance realistically reflect that heard in the Festspielhaus itself.

. . . a sensationally good musical realisation . . . The chief source of satisfaction is Christian Thielemann's conducting, which manages to be both incessantly intense and has an unerring sense of direction . . . The Bayreuth orchestra sounds more magnificent than I have ever heard it, but never overwhelms the singers . . . [Evelyn Herlitzius is] warm, large and expressive -- and tireless. Stephen Gould's Tristan has many solid merits, chief of which is that he too can sustain his enormous role . . . The whole cast is superb, with an especially fine Marke from Georg Zeppenfeld . . . this is an indispensable account of this difficult and overwhelming work.

. . . [the premiere in Bayreuth of this] production was highly acclaimed, and this outstanding DVD, recorded live, shows why . . . what struck me first were its extraordinary sonic qualities . . . the sounds of orchestra, voices and words are at once mellow and luminously clear, alive with pure, warm, deliciously wood-soaked timbres. Visually, too, the film is constantly intriguing . . . elegant in conception, deft in execution, and richly suggestive rather than literal or declarative . . . [Evelyn Herlitzius is a credible and finely acted] Isolde. With a voice of heft, power and steely clarity, a manner of execution that is easy and unforced, and a calibre of musicianship that seems unfailingly dependable, she is clearly a Wagnerian soprano of the first rank . . . As Brangäne, Christa Mayer is a joy. Her vocal textures sumptuously lovely, she brings to the role intensely likeable qualities of warmth, availability, openness . . . Iain Paterson is a robust and genial Kurwenal. Georg Zeppenfeld, his young, virile bass in outstanding form, is a splendid Marke: a dashing figure who sings both movingly and beautifully, he both looks and sounds the part. The Bayreuth orchestra plays gloriously, and Christian Thielemann controls the ebb and flow of dramatic tension with a superb sense of pace and proportion.

. . . [Acte 1: une] magistrale interprétation par un Christian Thielemann inspiré . . . on peut apprécier l'intensité vocale et l'engagement d'Evelyn Herlitzius (Isolde) et de Christa Mayer (Brangäne). Vocalement assurément deux grandes wagnériennes!

. . . il y a une cohérence dans le propos et la direction d'acteurs . . . [Christian Thielemann]: le raffinement, la souplesse d'une direction plastiquement superbe, non exempte de sensualité parfois . . . Stephen Gould maitrise parfaitement son Tristan, évidemment plus lyrique qu'héroique, toujours stylé, jusque dans un délire jamais débraillé . . . Christa Mayer incarne la tentation et l'inquiétude avec une superbe voix de mezzo; Iain Paterson, pas du tout reitre chenu, a une noblesse de chevalier. Quant à Marke, Georg Zeppenfeld lui donne une seconde jeunesse . . .

  • Christian Thielemann Richard Wagner - Tristan und Isolde (Trailer)

    In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Tristan & Isolde this production was premiered on 25 July 2015 and marked the high-point of last year’s Bayreuth Festival. An important and highly-anticipated new production of Wagner's take on this ultimate, immortal tale of love and longing by the composer's great-granddaughter Katharina Wagner. Enjoy some of today's most prominent vocalists and Christian Thielemann, arguably the most important Wagner conductor of our day and age, on the first installment of an exclusive, multiyear partnership between Deutsche Grammophon and the Bayreuth Festival, in which the Yellow Label becomes the exclusive audiovisual partner of the mythical Wagner festival.