Tristan und Isolde

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 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.

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. 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, 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. 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.

Number of discs: 3
Release Date: February 26, 2008
Label: BBC / Opus Arte