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Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso [Import]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Nina Stemme, Robert Gambill, Rene Pape
  • Directors: Nikolaus Lehnhoff
  • Writers: R. Wagner
  • Format: Box set, Classical, Color, DTS Surround Sound, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Region: All RegionsAll Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: BBC / Opus Arte
  • Release Date: Feb. 26 2008
  • Run Time: 358 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00118DQXI

Product Description

From the Contributor

One of the titles in our catalogue Ilike best is Glyndebourne's production of Tristan und Isolde, because it is so solemnly beautiful, evocative and meditative. Some people might interpret it as 'static' but I love how stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff approaches Wagner's psycho-erotic masterpiece with a deep emotional and philosophical insight that matches the intense performance of the soloists, and conductor Jirí Belohlavek's remarkable exposure of depths in the score that I have never experienced before.

Their combined efforts and Roland Aeschlimann's universal set design call up classical Greek drama for me, a 'space-time-womb' resembling an amphitheatre. Physical gestures are minimal but not overly stylised, and each movement of a hand, or the turn of a head speaks volumes, as the related emotion floats up from the brilliant orchestra. I think it is a tremendously clever as well as moving achievement, focussing on the deep emotions as pure feelings, and not as predictable bodily or theatrical expressions, which, for me, can quite easily turn into pastiche. Nina Stemme is a beautiful Isolde, in turn fragile and furious, and Robert Gambill's Tristan is superbly lyrical and distant, as if he does not belong in this world. I also love the extra feature in which professor Trimborn gives a personal and direct 'lecture' from the piano on the musicological & philosophical backgrounds of Tristan und Isolde; emphasising the Buddhistic depths and the ideals of 'detachment', explaining why true, untainted earthly love is impossible. All in all, this disc set offers a deeply overwhelming experience every time I watch it.

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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The singers are asesome, the orchestra is quite good. I have seen better. E.g. Borenboim is unbeatable. But isolde is something! Her voice is not just powerful, the colors in her voice are unique.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
71 of 78 people found the following review helpful
To die in order to live: a brilliant performance of Tristan Feb. 27 2008
By Michael Birman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
By Wagner's own written comments, composition of Tristan und Isolde was inspired by his love affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. Mathilde had married the silk merchant Otto Wesendonck, who was a great admirer of Wagner's music, and after he and Mathilde met the composer in Zurich in 1852, he placed a large cottage on his estate at Wagner's disposal. By 1857, Wagner had become thoroughly enamored with Mathilde. Wagner wrote voluminously and admitted to returning the many favors Otto had done for him by seeking the romantic favors of his wife. Wagner maintained a relationship with Mathilde for some time while composing Tristan. Tristan was composed between 1857 and 1859, premiering 10 June 1865 under the baton of Hans von Bülow in Munich, despite the fact that Wagner was now having an affair with his wife, Cosima. All three wrote extensively about this strange turn of events. Wagner, of course, was still married to his first wife Minna. Tristan is the quintessential opera about eros and it is natural to wonder to what degree these romantic entanglements influenced its genesis. The complexity of Tristan insured that critical opinion was initially less than favorable. Eduard Hanslick, the most influential 19th Century music critic, said that Tristan "reminded him of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines are slowly unwound from his body on a reel." Opinion quickly changed and Tristan has remained in the repertory ever since. These events, all carefully verified as to their factual nature by musicologists, make up some of the historical background to perhaps the single greatest opera, certainly the most influential, of the 19th century. Tristan is without question a brilliant opera and its importance in musical history is without precedent.

The score of Tristan und Isolde has often been called a landmark in the development of Western music. From its opening chord, the famous 'Tristan Chord' f-b-d#-g# which resolves to another dissonant chord, there is a feeling of ambiguous tonality throughout the opera. Techniques used by Wagner were to prove influential in the gradual movement away from tonality that was the hallmark of the 20th Century. Hans von Bulow, who experienced Tristan's creation at close hand, shows how Wagner's contemporaries were aware of the degree to which the opera was the beginning of modern music. In a letter, he wrote 'Nobody had expected Wagner to write such music. It creates a direct connection to late Beethoven .... The musician who still refuses to believe in progress here has no ears!' Every performance of Tristan carries this accumulated historical baggage to some degree.

The 2003 production by Nikolaus Lehnhoff of Tristan und Isolde represents the first introduction of a Wagner opera into the Glyndebourne repertoire. It confronts the historical baggage directly, reducing Tristan's complex web of symbols and meaning into elemental images. The opening act occurs in front of a geometric spiral that represents the womb, a stark clue to the inner-directed and intimate nature of this production. Light and shadow envelop the stage. Settings for the action: ship, garden, castle, are treated as scenic cyphers and are judged as not requiring scenic representation. According to the producer, the setting of the plot is the soul. "The soul's cosmogony can be experienced even before the realities of time and space are neutralised at the opera's end." Tristan is about the conflict between night and meaning. Imprisoned in the dungeon of the world, the only freedom is death. Death is revealed as savior and as love's only safe harbor, and its symbol or sign is night. What passes for life and for meaning is bound to light and the daytime. Tristan occurs somewhere in the interstices between light and darkness. We infer it from Wagner's comments and directions.

This production is brilliant in its simplicity: acting and singing are appropriate in their intimacy, superb in their execution. There are no weak links. Nina Stemme is a wonderful Isolde. Robert Gambill an excellent Tristan. Bo Skovhus as Kurwenal and Rene Pape as King Marke are exemplary. The London Philharmonic play magnificently under Jiri Belohlavek. From top to bottom, this production exhibits intelligence and taste. The Opus Arte presentation is excellent, as well. Six hours of material is spread across three discs. The recording in both PCM stereo and DTS 5.1 surround sound is warmly natural and lifelike, complimenting the production's warmth and intimacy. The enclosed glossy booklet is informative. There are more than two hours of film extras included.

Now my favorite DVD of Tristan, this is a brilliant production that treats its audience with respect. Lovingly produced, it invites repeated viewing as a method of enticing Tristan's meaning from beneath the shroud of darkness. Glyndebourne's inaugural Wagner entry is a profound success. Most strongly recommended.

Mike Birman
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
An almost perfect production March 18 2010
By Bryan Leech - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Tristan and Isolde was composed during a break in the composition of the Ring cycle. Writing the story first as a love poem and then setting the music, Wagner created perhaps the most beautiful love-poem in all opera. This typically lengthy work is almost devoid of action, but the performers need excellent acting skills to convey the emotional and psychological feelings and interactions of the characters. And it goes without saying, that only singers of the highest calibre are capable of handling this most demanding work. For those who lack patience and demand action, this work is not for you - yet. But the listener with a more mature perspective is rewarded with some of the most beautiful music in the operatic repertoire.

A demanding work demands performers of the highest calibre. Nina Stemme as Isolde, and Robert Gambill s Tristan, meet the challenge superbly with brilliant performances that reveal all the psychological subtleties of their characters. And although the cast members are all excellent, Katarina Karnéus as Brangäne must also rate a special mention.

For this production, Stage Director Nikolaus Lehnhoff elected to use a simple but exquisite abstract set by Roland Aeschlimann, with its womb-like feel being well-suited to the work. Complimented by subtle but brilliant lighting design, these factors allow the performers to give full expression to this masterpiece. The London Philharmonic rise above themselves, and combined with the Glyndebourne Chorus, respond to every nuance of conductor, Jirí Belohlávek's highly perceptive interpretation.

I have several versions of the work, and I had to discard the Met production for its contrived camera work. No such problems here. Recorded with High Definition digital cameras, the image is very sharp, and camera work and editing have provided the viewer with an excellent perspective of the performance. Sound is simply brilliant. I first had this version on DVD, but it is so close to perfection, that I had to have it on Blu-ray. The DVD was of the highest technical quality, it forebode a wonderful Blu-ray version, and I was not disappointed. Without doubt, this is my number one version of Tristan and Isolde.

Having seen the review claiming this to be significantly cut caused me recently, to do a search. Other performances, Blu-ray or DVD ALL time at around 100 minutes shorter than this version, Now, although unstated, this timing of almost 360 minutes may include the documentary content as well, but although I haven't timed it, I doubt it runs for 100 minutes. The main documentary ony ran for around 15 min., so I am afraid said reviewer is to be frustrated if he thinks he can obtain a "more complete" version. And another note. Anyone familiar with opera performances, knows that cuts are a standard event. The conductor makes these to marry the production with his interpretation. This can vary from the odd bar here and there, to complete scenes. One PS. There is a performance (DVD only) available in Europe that is a little longer than this; and its under Barenboim, a brilliant Wagnerian. However, I didn't look to see how much "documentary" material is included in the "longer version". At its price, I would guess it's not worth the expenditure.

Technical details: 1080i High Definition 16:9 with the option of 2.0 or 5.0 Dolby True HD audio presenting superb sound and just the right balance between singers and orchestra.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful "Tristan" Aug. 18 2010
By Alex Craig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I have never attended the Glyndebourne Festival, but I have seen a number of its productions on video. I've been impressed by the consistently high standard of singing and conducting, and by productions that are interesting and innovative without going off the deep end. These qualities are certainly apparent in this 2007 "Tristan". This was the first Wagner opera to be staged at Glyndebourne, after the enlargement of the house made it feasible.
The cast is excellent. Nina Stemme is the real thing as Isolde. She sings with strength throughout her range, with a fine legato line and some lovely soft singing. And she has power in reserve for the big moments. She is also a physically attractive woman and an excellent actress. The Tristan is Robert Gambill, who began by singing Mozart and Rossini but a few years back reinvented himself as a Heldenteonr. He sounds pretty convincing, singing with both power and lyricism. I'm not sure I buy his let-it-all-hang-out approach to the third act delirium scene. I've always thought Tristan should show a certain knightly poise even under these conditions, but Gambill sings persuasively, and his stamina is impressive. Unfortunately, he looks rather awkward on stage, making his heroics less convincing. He is not helped by the stringy, greasy-looking wig the costumer inflicted on him; he loses it for the third act, but the buzz-cut look is no great improvement. Katarina Karnéus is a lovely Brangäne, showing off her fine high mezzo-soprano and interacting well with Stemme. Bo Skovhus is a solid, knightly Kurwenal; he conveys his devotion to Tristan without going overboard. I only wish his voice were stonger in the low register, where some notes get lost. René Pape sings Marke's music beautifully and brings out his utter bewilderment at the turn of events. The conductor Jiri Belohlavek was known to me by name, but I'd never heard his work. He is a fine Wagner conductor, fully expressing the passion and sensuality of the music while keeping a firm hand on the long musical line. His only miscalculation is the appearance of Isolde's ship in Act III, where his tempo is simply too fast. The singers are to be congratulated for keeping up! (Listen to Furtwängler's mix of weight and excitement to hear how this passage should be handled.)
The staging is interesting. I think "Tristan" responds better than the other Wagner operas to an abstract production because not much "happens" in this very internal drama. The single set is a sort of spiral structure, which one reviewer compared to a giant slinky. It can evoke any number of things, and the imaginative lighting allows it to do so. The singers sometimes look uncomfortable moving on the curved surfaces, but on the whole I think it works. There are a few odd things in the production; for example, I can't for the life of me figure out what the Shepherd in Act III is supposed to be wearing on his head. The staging falls down in two passages that need realism - the Tristan/Melot duel in Act II and Kurwenal's battle with Marke's retainers in Act III. Both are perfunctory, especially the latter - Kurwenal goes offstage to fight and then returns to die unconvincingly. It seems that the director is so caught up in his "concept" that he can't be bothered with things like swordfights. I did like the final "Liebestod", with light only on Isolde, the other characters having vanished into the darkness that finally consumes Isolde as well - very effective.
Opus Arte provides is usual deluxe presentation, including interesting interviews with cast, conductor, and director, and a rather strange lecture on the musical structure by an elderly repetiteur. He delivers it in impenetrable German (thank heavens for subtitles!), and he plays the musical examples on the piano, very poorly, from a score that looks like it dates from Wagner's time!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A TRUE KEEPER Dec 11 2010
By maiden pa. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I bought this on sale from another place.Amazon had no classical DVDS or CDS on sale over Christmas.I was looking for DVDS and found this one $30 off.I had wanted it but it was just to steep,but on black friday weekend I found it and spent all $300 at that site.This production is rated as one of the best. Everyone should own the Vickers and Nilsson one because it is a classic,although an old recording.This one is 3 DVD PCM Stereo and DTS.Stemme is really great in the role of Isolde and Gambill,I have on another with Waltraud Meier,is also good as Tristan.Rene Pape is always good,what a great voice.The production is basically the same setting throughout.I have no complaints about this one at all.It's great for a modern production and the singing is absolutely great.I highly recommend it!!! You won't be disappointed at all. Also check out the Barenboim production with Joanna Meier and also a Barenboim production with Siegfried Jerusalem and Waltraud Meier.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great! Dec 5 2008
By Alonso Jordan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Upon watching this production of Tristan und Isolde, I immediately fell into this kind of avant-garde world which is really psychological. The first impression was that of a feeling of pathos, as we entered into Isolde's minds and thought just based on Stemme's look on her face. As the opera progressed, I was very impressed at the stamina and careful and thoughtful acting of all of the singers! I was quite amazed at the intensity and careful character development. I did not fall asleep, I remained there transfixed at the glory of Wagner's music, the voices, and the production. True gesamtkunswerk.

Thank you!