Sunday, 30 March 2008

Tristan and Isolde at the Vienna State Opera

Of course it doesn´t make sense to compare a Tristan performance at the MET with one at the Vienna State Opera. But it´s difficult not to make some sort of mental comparison when listening to broadcasts of two live Tristan performances from March 28th less than 12 hours apart.

What I thought of the MET performance, I wrote here.

Casting and schedule details of the Vienna State Opera Tristan performances here.

At the Vienna State Opera the main strength of the performance was the absolutely glorious orchestra with conductor Leif Segerstam. He applies that exact sense of drama to the opera, which I feel Levine falls short of. If I had known he would show such mastery with this score, I would probably have attended one of the performances...

The cast in brief: Evelyn Herlitzius was a fine Isolde (once you ignore her sometimes excessive upper level register vibrato and fluttering), completely without the nasal sound that Deborah Voigt exhibits. John Treleaven´s Tristan will never be a favorite of mine, but he kept up the intensity until the end in an honorable performance and seemed in good voice. Stephen Milling was a superb, sonorous King Marke and Boaz Daniel and Janina Baechle fine as Kurwenal and Brangäne.

I´d appreciate comments from anyone present at any of the performances in Vienna.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful performance. The orhcestra was a bit overwhelming in the Liebestod but the power....the power. Fantastci!

Anonymous said...

I was at the performance on the 28th. The total revelation for me was the conducting of Segerstram - passion and absolute control. Treleaven was in remarkably secure and ringing voice and was a very dignified and ultimately tragic figure. Herlitzius gave all in the first act but was weaker thereafter.

Milling was as bland as Marke as he was as Gurnamanz 2 nights earlier.

I though Baechle was overparted and was not worthy of the rest of the company.

mostly opera... said...

Since Leif Segerstam was chief conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra for several years in the 1990´s I know him fairly well..and I must say that I hadn´t imagined he had this in him. I would have gone to Vienna had I known.

Even via the radio, the power and passion was overwhelming right from the beginning of the prelude.

Wonder if they give him the Parsifal next year - Christian Thielemann just announced he won´t be conducting in Vienna until 2010 at the earliest...

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