Customer Reviews


65 Reviews
5 star:
 (41)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (14)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Indulge in the sheer sound
One of the benefits of DVD with long operas like Tristan is that each DVD holds two CDs worth of music, which makes it cheaper when the CDs are at full price. Then you get video as well!
There would be very few operas where little is gained by seeing it over just hearing, but Tristan is perhaps the prime example of that very phenomenon. Having developed the...
Published on June 25 2004 by Matthew J. Williams

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate performance
Although I've enjoyed many opera productions at the Met both on video and in the opera house itself, I have to say that this is definitely not one of them.
The casting of the 2 main characters are especially disappointing. Ben Heppner, who has been suffering from vocal problems since this production, has already showed quite worrying signs of strain in his singing...
Published on June 9 2004


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars Indulge in the sheer sound, June 25 2004
By 
Matthew J. Williams "mattjw" (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
One of the benefits of DVD with long operas like Tristan is that each DVD holds two CDs worth of music, which makes it cheaper when the CDs are at full price. Then you get video as well!
There would be very few operas where little is gained by seeing it over just hearing, but Tristan is perhaps the prime example of that very phenomenon. Having developed the 'invisible orchestra' Wagner speculated about the idea of an 'invisible stage'. Personally I enjoy this music the most with my eyes closed, so care little whether the production is good or atrocious.
So firstly, then, the music. Levine conducts a spacious, mature reading that swells and subsides and takes your heart with it. The Met orchestra shows just how beautiful a sound it can make.
Eaglens voice as sheer sound envelops the orchestra with faultless, pulsing waves of beauty, yet she can produce edge when necessary for dramatic reasons. Heppner's heldentenor negotiates Tristan's taxing lines with attractive tone. He sings the notes with convulsing fervour in the mad scene of Act 3. Rene Pape has the most beautiful bass voice around today, and makes a haunting and handsome King Marke.
Now, the production. Given what I said before about not caring, if I were to be watching as well as hearing Tristan, this is just the kind of thing I would like. The production is largely still, spare, symbolic, and hauntingly lit, and so it doesn't distract from the music. Normally, I don't like that kind of arty-farty nonsense from directors, and prefer traditional productions. But for a drama that largely takes place in the mind, this seems to me very appropriate.
There is a bonus picture gallery of the history of Tristan and Isolde at the Met, which didn't excite me for very long, but may be of more interest if it brings back memories for you.
Sound is either PCM Stereo or DTS 5.1, so no Dolby Digital 5.1 (surprisingly, since the Fidelio has that option). Picture is 4:3. Subtitles German; English; French; Spanish and Chinese.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars Inadequate performance, June 9 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
Although I've enjoyed many opera productions at the Met both on video and in the opera house itself, I have to say that this is definitely not one of them.
The casting of the 2 main characters are especially disappointing. Ben Heppner, who has been suffering from vocal problems since this production, has already showed quite worrying signs of strain in his singing. Besides, he fails to convey the anguish and suffering of Tristan in Act III.
Jane Eaglen as Isolde is even more problemetic, for not only is her voice too small for the part, especially when performing in such a vast space as the Met, her constricted top register and the colorless low register are simply not pleasant to the ear. There is almost no characterisation, both vocal and dramatic, for the role. Her performance is, to be frank, as savoury as that of dish water.
The other cast members are merely mediocre, and the performance of Levine and his orchestra rather lifeless and uninspiring. Frankly, I have little interest in viewing such a dreary production again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful performance, June 8 2004
By 
Erik Aleksander Moe "riddion" (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
I was fortunate enough to see this production in October 2003 and it was staggering. Finally there were people who could sing this extremely demanding opera really well. This DVD confirmed my initial reaction. Ben Heppner and Jane Eaglen were fantastic as the two doomed lovers.
Jane Eaglen was exeptionally good as Isolde. Sensitive and powerful. Her curse at the end of the narrative was staggering. Ben Heppner was equally great as Tristan. He is everything you could want from a great Tristan. What I like the most about this is the way they perform together, making the duet the highlight. Heppner's performance in the extremely difficult third act was also done with flying colors. He seemed like to give his all, but never got tired.
The supported cast is also really good. Katarina Dalayman is very good as Brangane and Rene Pape was his usual great self. He was a bit young for the king, but it hardly mattered when hearing his interpretation. Hans-Joachim Ketelsen was also really good as Kurwenal.
The conducting of James Levine was slow, as usual, but not in a bad way, like on his Parsifal. He manages to keep the drama moving, making his orchestra play very senstivly supporting the great leads on stage very well.
The picture is very good, but it is not 16:9. All of the new DVDs from performances from the European opera houses, like La Scala, are photographed using the high definition format. But this doesn't matter at all, being such a fantastic production.
The sound is also really exceptional with both an uncompressed PCM track in addition to a DTS track.
With this performance it is clear that great Wagnerian singing is not dead. We will never have Flagstad or Melchior again, but these artists that are performing Wagnerian operas now are definitely adding to the great library of great performers and performances of these difficult operas. I very highly recommend this totally engaging performance and declare that great Wagnerian singing is most definitely not dead.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars My Review for Met 1995 Otello, April 17 2004
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
The Met has surpassed itself again. Not only should you buy this Tristan, you should buy the new Otello. Here's my review for the new Otello. Needless to say, I give this Tristan 10 stars.
I have just finished watching this stunning performance of Otello. The performance is so incredible that I feel absolutely compelled to write this review.
The biggest glory of this set is the absolutely stunning portrayal of the moor Otello by Placido Domingo. I've never been a huge Domingo fan (although I certainly respect him greatly). I tend to think that he has his fingers in too many pies. But this performance has changed my view completely. Domingo is not only vocally in superb form, his intense dramatic portrayal is electrifying! He loses all self-consciousness on stage and becomes Otello - there is no hint that he even thinks he is singing in an opera, he is so absolutely consumed by the role. Every expression on his face is under his absolute control. This is one of the most gripping portrayal of an operatic character I've ever seen. In this performance, Domingo absolutely blasts everyone else away - Fleming, Morris, Croft....
The second glory of this set is the absolutely ravishing soprano of Renee Fleming. Renee Fleming is also very much into her character. It is somewhat cruel to juxtapose Fleming's Desdemona with Domingo's towering Otello. Because you sense that Fleming's characterization is weaker than Domingo's. But that doesn't mean that Fleming cannot act - just that Domingo is simply too good in this role. In any case, Fleming's dramatic portrayal is also very intense - you feel and see her emotions and sorrow throughout the opera. She is a picture of chaste innocence in Act 1. In Act 2, her shock and grief are palpable. In Act 3, she gives Desdemona a somewhat stronger character than usual when Desdemona denies any marital infidelity. Her sorrow is heart-rending when Domingo accuses her of infidelity and finally, curses her at the end of Act 3. In Act 4, her Willow Song and prayer tugs at your heart strings. To top it all, Fleming's voice is absolutely ravishing. In some of her recent recordings, she has adopted some mannerisms. NOT SO DOWN HERE. She sings beautifully, and her singing projects her emotions but she does not overdo things nor does she engage in some of the somewhat irritating mannerisms of late.
James Morris is an excellent Iago. He acts well but certainly falls a little short of Fleming's or Domingo's intensity. Nevertheless, he is vocally excellent.
I like Cassio here. Not only is he really handsome, he is very much into his character and he is vocally in superb form.
The set, by Elijah Moshinsky, captures the Shakespearen atmosphere superbly. It is the exact same set (with very minor changes) as the 1992 Convent Garden Otello with Solti, Domingo, Kanawa and Serkus. It is a fantastic set.
James Levine's conducting is also superb. The tension never slacks and the drama keeps flowing.
An exceptionally fantastic production from the Metropolitan opera.
I've been following the recent Met releases - Fidelio with Karita Mattila and Ben Heppner, Tristan and Isolde with Jane Eaglen and Ben Heppner. And now this Otello with Domingo and Fleming. The Metropolitan Opera has really surpassed itself with all these 3 releases. They are all the best I've ever seen.
The 1998 production of Samson Et Dalila with Domingo & Olga Borodina ia scheduled for release in June 2004. I'm looking forward to it.
Also, the Met has actually videotaped Karita Mattila's stunning 2004 Salome. Because of lack of funding, it is stil waiting to be broadcast. But why wait? Every opera fan should WRITE IN TO THE MET and ASK THEM TO RELEASE IT IMMEDIATELY.
Go to the Met Website and find their contact email, and WRITE IN AT ONCE to ask them to release this incredible 2004 Salome.
In addition, The Met has videotaped the 2003 Ariadne Auf Naxos (Deborah Voigt) and the 2001 Wozzeck - all awaiting telecast due to lack of funding. Write in to tell them we want these on DVD. Show them our support.
Yes, don't even think about not buying this DVD!! In fact don't even think about not buying the Met 2001 Fidelio or Met 1999 Tristan and Isolde. These are already classics!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Stunned silence indeed, April 11 2004
By 
Rudolf Mallinson (Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
I can confirm that the audience indeed sat in stunned silence at the end of the Liebestod. Eaglen's account of the Liebestod was simply gorgeous, as is Levine's conducting and the Met orchestra in incredible good form. During the Liebestod, you are just completely mesmerized by the sheer beauty of sound coming from the orchestra and from Eaglen. Sometimes in live performances, the audience starts clapping just before the final orchestral chords die out. Not here. Everyone was sooooooooo quiet even for a few seconds after the orchestra stopped playing. Then the audience starting cheering and clapping in wild ecstasy at the performance.
Don't be misled by bad reviews. This is definitely worth your money, and it is one of the best Tristan's ever made on record. The advantage is that this is made in state-of-the-art digital sound. So in terms of sound, it beats classics like the 1966 Nilsson Bayreuth, not to mention the many Nilsson performances (unfortunately most of those were made in mono sound).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Jane Eaglen - VERY BEAUTIFUL DRAMATIC SOPRANO VOICE, April 11 2004
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
How many dramatic soprano who has the vocal heft to sing Brunnhilde and Isolde can claim to have a beautiful voice? Not many. Birgit Nilsson was one of those rare dramatic soprano whose voice was never ugly, although it was 'cold'. Jane Eaglen's voice is not as powerful as Nilsson's. But it is surely powerful enough to meet the demands of roles like Brunnhilde and Isolde. Unlike Nilsson, however, Eaglen's voice has the advantage of being 'warmer' in tone. It ravishes the ear even as it penetrates the orchestra. While you get the thrill of Nilsson 'hitting' you with her laser beam voice, you get the thrill of being continually ravished by Eaglen's beautiful, powerful voice.
I agree that anyone who heard Eaglen at the Met as Brunnhilde during this 2004 Ring cycle will agree that her voice is indeed powerful enough for Brunnhilde & Isolde. I heard the broadcast, and my, she had a beautiful voice. The same goes for her Isolde in this recording, in which she was in top form. Unlike many Isoldes whose voice quality deteriorated when they push the voice to meet the demands of the role, Eaglen's voice remains beautiful. Same with Heppner, who is without doubt vocally, the greatest Tristan on stage today.
So stop bashing this DVD. It is a fantastic production with fantastic contributions from all concerned
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars a fine performance..., March 12 2004
By 
C. Eyring (East Meadow, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
I have not seen this dvd (yet), but I saw this production live last September. I am surprised that the reviews for this performance are so negative. The singing was quite good at the performance I attended. Eaglen's Liebestod was just beautiful - her tone quality was very sweet and I thought her interpretation was very like my recording of Margaret Price. King Mark's monologue was also an outstanding performance. The staging of this production is what really stood out to me. The sets are minimalist but really stunning; like Wagner's music, they focus on the internal drama of the characters more than the external plot. Throughout there is a pillar upstage, obviously representing the obstacles the lovers face, that sinks completely into the stage at key points. At the beginning of the third act, Tristan is lying on a blanket that very slowly slides downstage. That sounds silly, but it is very effective. Later, small objects representing parts of Tristan's past appear upstage. The lighting is also beautiful. In a production of this magnitude, one has to expect that there will be good points and bad points, so relax, everyone, and find things to enjoy! I'm looking forward to adding this dvd to my collection of Tristan performances.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Best Tristan & Isolde on Record, March 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
Firstly, I must say that I am a big fan of Kirsten Flagstad, Astrid Varnay, Martha Modl and Birgit Nilsson. They were magnificent Isoldes that till today, cannot be replaced. Unfortunately, all of Flagstad's, Varnay's and Modl's Isoldes were recorded in mono sound. Birgit Nilsson had the good fortune of having her Isolde in Stereo. However, she was always matched with someone who just couldn't match her in terms of vocal prowess. Windgassen was a magnificent Tristan but his voice is just too small especially when singing beside Nilsson. Also, the 1966 Tristan from Bayreuth, magnificent as it is, has its flaw. One of them is the Bayreuth orchestra which is not alwasy together - the articulation is somewhat imprecise (the Liebestod is absolutely thrilling though). Plus the recording balance is not right. Solti's Isolde (Nilsson) is matched with Uhl. While Karajan's Tristan (Vickers) is matched with Dernesch who is less than the likes of Nilsson, Varnay, Flagstad, Modl. The rest of the discography has some good points here and there but one thing remains - there is no one version of Tristan on record which is completely satisfying. So where does this recording fit in?
I must say that there is still no one version of Tristan that is completely satifying. But - this is the most satisfying version of Tristan and Isolde I have ever heard. Jane Eaglen's top notes are not as powerful as Birgir Nilsson's top notes. But Jane Eaglen's voice is powerful enough to do justice to Isolde. Ben Heppner has a slightly more powerful voice than Eaglen. It matches Eaglens vocal power just nicely. For the first time ever, we have an evenly matched Tristan and Isolde both of whom have voices powerful enough to do justice to the 2 roles in superb stereo sound. James Levine's conducting is also superb - Levine has really grown through the years. The years of conducting opera at the Met has taught him how to pace an opera like Tristan superbly. The Met orchestra is also superb. And the sound quality is just the best I've ever heard for any Tristan recording. I don't think that either Eaglen or Heppner sings blandly at all. They sing superbly, and if anyone thinks that he or she can outdo Heppner and Eaglen, why don't YOU try singing the roles yourself. I think that this is the best overall Tristan and Isolde on the market. Don't miss it!!
Hurray!! For the first time in my life, I can enjoy the WHOLE opera in one recording rather than just parts of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a good Tristan in DVD, March 3 2004
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
It is amazing to Know that we have this fantastic DVD in Brazil since last January, and that in the States you must wait till March 9 . But don't worry. It worths the waiting. Not only the staging is very convincing , but also the musical result is fantastic. Heppenr is the best Tristan since Windgassen and Vickers. He is one authentic "Heldentenor" . All his sufferings in Act III are the most moving moments of this issue. Jane Eaglen has not exactly what we can say a " Physique du Role " for Isolde. But her singing is very beautiful, and Isolde is by far her best role . Rene Pape is the best Marke I ever heard. And Dalayman ( a fantastic Marie in Berg's Wozzeck) sings very well too. I never heard before Hans Joachin Ketelsen . He does a very good job as Kurwenal . The Metroplolitan Opera has now one of the best American Orchestras , by far , one of the best opera Orchestras in the world . They play the opera with enthusiasm , with lyricism , always with a veiled sound in the most intimate moments . The sonorities during the Love duet at ACT II are magic. Bravo Mr. Levine. For the first time, out of Bayreuth, we have a real complete Tristan. Even the traditional ( long) cut at the beginning of the Love scene was restored.
I think that this DVD has no concurrence: The DVD with Mehta has a very weak Tristan, The Video With Barenboin , in Bayreuth , shows one very doubtful solution for the final scene ( I really hate this Ponelle's solution). The only concurrence for the Met-DeutscheGrammophon DVD is the old Video( not easy to find) with Nilsson, Windgassen and Boulez, staged by Wieland Wagner , recorded in Japan in 1967 ( Black and White) . 32 years after we have another first rate version.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Achievement, Feb. 15 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso (DVD)
Complaints! Complaints! Tristan and Isolde was not performed at the Met for 16 years until 1999 because they couldn't even find anyone at all who could sing Tristan & Isolde 'live' on stage. In the studio, it is possible for small-voiced singers to take on Isolde & Tristan. But on stage? Impossible. That's why it took 16 years for Ben & Jane to appear. And what do they get - some ignorant person bashing their performance. Fact is Tristan & Isolde are among the 2 toughest role in the entire operatic repertoire. Jane & Ben does a magnificent job. We have been pampered too much by Nilsson's Isolde when Nilsson was in her prime. It is not really fair to compare Eaglen with Birgit Nilsson. Nilsson is very unique - there's only Birgit Nilsson & that's it. Jane is no Nilsson but she does a great job in her own way. Similarly Ben is no Jon Vickers. But he has his strengths. Stop bashing this DVD - we are lucky that the Met decided to release this - so much the richer for having yet another Tristan to look and listen to.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 27 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso
Wagner;Richard Tristan Und Iso by Brian Large (DVD - 2004)
CDN$ 62.99 CDN$ 35.50
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews