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Definitive version of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde?"

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello,

In your opinions, which is the best performance of Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde." I haven't heard any of it yet, but read that many regard it as Wagner's best opera. I am looking for a popular version as well (i.e. one that I could probably find at a public library). Thanks in advance to all.

I found a version Recorded Nov. 23, 2004-Jan. 9, 2005 by the Royal Opera House in London. Any thoughts on this version?
post #2 of 15
Either the Bohm with Nilsson and Windgassen or the Furtwangler with Flagstad and Suthaus. Note that the Furtwangler is in mono which is why I prefer the Bohm.
post #3 of 15
Agreed. Furtwangler or Bohm. Bohm is more urgent, perhaps more theatric, and the stereo sound sure helps. Furtwangler is still the one to beat -- so sensual. Karajan as a third choice is ok. Forget Kleiber, Barenboim, Bernstein; weak casting do them in. And for all its pluses, Solti never understood that T & I is about sex.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
ok thanks.

I found these 2 version with Bohm:

Hamburg : Deutsche Grammophon, [1997], p1966
[Holland] : Philips ; NY, NY : Manufactured and marketed by PolyGram Classics & Jazz, [1992], p1966

they are both live recordings from the Bayreuth Festival in 1966. Which one is the better sounding version?
post #5 of 15
Another vote for Bohm - I prefer Meistersinger to Tristan but hey...
post #6 of 15
To my way of thinking, there are three choices:

1. Wilhelm Furtwängler's version on EMI with Flagstad and Suthaus. This one is probably the default Tristan.

2. Karl Böhm's Bayreuth version on DGG with Nilsson and Windgassen. This one is the number two overall choice (though, it is my favorite) and the first choice for one in very good sound. It was recorded sort-of-live at the '66 Festspiele and has been a definitive version since day one.

3. Carlos Kleiber's version on DGG with Rene Kollo and Margaret Price. The casting is interesting (to be polite), but the orchestral work is top-notch. This is one of the works Kleiber really concentrated on, and it shows. The Staatskapelle Dresden reminds us that they were Wagner's band for a while.

Really, Furtwängler and Böhm have the market tied up, with others being better known to completists and for casts.
post #7 of 15
Another vote for Bohm here.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by PSmith08
2. Karl Böhm's Bayreuth version on DGG with Nilsson and Windgassen. This one is the number two overall choice (though, it is my favorite) and the first choice for one in very good sound. It was recorded sort-of-live at the '66 Festspiele and has been a definitive version since day one.
I have this version in an italian label (Frequenz) with the title Tristano e Isotta. Cost me just 10€!!!! When I saw it at a hypermarket (in a basket) I didn't believe that this could be the DGG version, but it is (13/8/1966, Bayreuth).
And I like more than Barenboim which is my other version.
post #9 of 15
For Furtwangler's Tristan, Naxos released a budgetary box-set which is a good bargain. That set doesn't have librettos, one has to download them from the net.
post #10 of 15

thank god nobody voted for the recent domingo set

i almost puked when it receieved top billing in the new Penguin Guide...i swear the reputation of the Penguin Guide is going down the drain....
post #11 of 15
I listened Domingo at the Teatro Real singing Parsifal two years ago. He is very professional and has good style but his best years are a little far....
That said, he has a lot of friends and unconditional fans. After six years going to the Teatro Real he is the only one that is received with flowers and ¡Bravos!.
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruggerio79
i almost puked when it receieved top billing in the new Penguin Guide...i swear the reputation of the Penguin Guide is going down the drain....
Frankly, though I didn't buy his Tristan, I was very impressed with his Ring excerpts. He managed a Forging Song that is hard to top, especially given the tenors today. It makes me wish that he could attempt a full Ring on disc, though only as Siegfried. His Chicago performances of Siegmund seemed well-enough received.
post #13 of 15
My top Tristans are:

1. 1936 - Reiner - Melchior, Flagstad, Kalter, Janssen - London



2. 1952 - Furtwängler - Suthaus, Flagstad, Fischer-Dieskau - London



3. 1952 - Karajan - Vinay, Mödl, Malaniuk, Hotter - Bayreuth



4. 1966 - Böhm - Windgassen, Nilsson, Ludwig, Wächter - Bayreuth



5. 1980-82 - C. Kleiber - Kollo, Price, Fassbaender, Fischer-Dieskau - Dresden



The Reiner has Melchior and Flagstad in their prime. They are probably the most famous pair of lovers. The Furtwangler is the classic recording. It has a strong cast, is a studio recording, and has great conducting. Furtwangler was a master at Wagner. Karajan's Tristan is also first rate. Vinay is a dark-toned Tristan (baritonal) and modl brings a mezzo quality to the role. The supporting cast is better than the Furtwangler. The 1966 Bohm is the reference recording of this opera. An excellent choice. All roles are well cast. Incredible live performance. Lastly, the Klieber has one of my favorite Isoldes in Margaret Price, very feminne. Kollo is very good, although somewhat past his prime. The support is great. Amazing conducting as well.
post #14 of 15
I still like this Karajan:

post #15 of 15

I think vcoheda really hit the nail on the head. Whether you prefer Reiner or Furtwängler or Böhm (or the '52 Karajan) really has to do with what you're asking of your recording. Obviously Reiner is the one to beat in terms of vocalists, though Böhm comes close (here I might add that Böhm's 1962 performance, with the same basic cast, features a fresher Windgassen), but Furtwängler (and Karajan) have a connection to the music that I'm not sure anyone else, including Böhm, really got. Now, I think Böhm's '66 recording (there are two, a live performance and a compilation of several live performances, though the latter is the one that everyone means) is by far the best entrée into the opera, but these three others are required listening once you have a grip on it.

 

The only letdown is the audio quality...your HD800s aren't much use when the source audio is from the 1930s...

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