Tristan and Isolde. Berlin State Opera, May 12th, 2008. Production: Harry Kupfer. Cast: Waltraud Meier (Isolde), Ian Storey (Tristan), Matti Salminen (King Marke), Michaela Schuster (Brangäne), Roman Trekel (Kurwenal), Reiner Goldberg (Melot). Conductor: Daniel Barenboim. Further information here.
The original cast for this performance was Peter Seiffert, Katarina Dalayman and Christof Fischesser. We heard Ian Storey, Waltraud Meier and (as a last-minute replacement) Matti Salminen. I have not heard anyone complain about these substitutions yet...
Much may be (and is) said of Daniel Barenboim. And whatever one may think about him or his accomplishments in other fields, or with other composers, there is general agreement that it is with Richard Wagner, that he truly excels.
As I´ve said before, in my book, she delivers the definitive interpretation of Isolde and I genuinely have no desire whatsoever to see anyone else in this part. Except for maybe Karita Mattila.
Roman Trekel as Kurwenal did not seem in very strong voice, and I wonder if these dramatical barytone parts really suit him?
And a curious thing: There was a lot of Chéreau in this production. In particular when Ian Storey covered Waltraud Meier´s eyes at the beginning of the "O sink hernieder" in Act 2. Unless, that of course was Kupfer´s orginigal intention? Also in several situations in Act 1 it seemed (fully understandably) like Ian Storey had imported Chéreau´s (excellent by the way) concept.
If Daniel Barenboim doesn´t conduct the Tristan and Isolde next year in Berlin, one almost have to consider visiting the Metropolitan Opera to hear him there. Without Waltraud Meier though…