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Thread: Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

  1. #16
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    I would like to raise a question. What type of love does it depict? Is it youthful passion or some sort of mystical bond that can't be broken? It doesn't seem to me to be a mature, developed love with equal elements of emotion, reason and mysticism. What if the two protagonists had run away and lived together for twenty years, what would their relationship look like then?

    N.
    Someone said, succinctly, that Tristan is not about love, it's about passion. The work shows how natural emotions, needs and drives - in this case sexual passion - eros - exist unhappily and are driven to desperate extremes and delusions in a world where human relationships are strictly defined and circumscribed by custom and ideology. Plenty of art - much of opera, in fact - deals with the struggle of love to find a way in a society that rejects its claims, but Tristan distills, in a tale of extreme simplicity, both the power of passion and the pain of its incompatibility with what Tristan calls the "day world."

    It's no use wondering about what sort of relationship the pair would have under different circumstances. In that "day world" there is no opportunity for the lovers to have a relationship in the mature sense of the word, and the only conceivable (to them) fulfillment of desire is desire's own cessation in death. We don't know whether they ever consummated their desire physically, but I'm inclined to say that it's at best irrelevant; the yearning is the point, and nothing short of the "love death" could satisfy it. King Marke's forgiveness came too late, not merely because Tristan was physically dead but because the lovers were long since dead to the world.
    Last edited by Woodduck; Oct-23-2019 at 19:39.

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    For most opera seeing a stage production is a help for me. For T&I it is a hinderance. Nothing happens. I seem to recall a review of a Metropolitan Opera performance which characterized the two leads as resembling two dirigible competing for the same mooring.
    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

  4. #18
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    For most opera seeing a stage production is a help for me. For T&I it is a hinderance. Nothing happens. I seem to recall a review of a Metropolitan Opera performance which characterized the two leads as resembling two dirigible competing for the same mooring.
    I think you mean this production:

    https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Wagne...s=music&sr=1-1

    The lovers appeared incapable of moving, much less expressing anything. We can blame the singers (one of whom, Jane Eaglen, was so obese she seemed incapable of doing more than raising her arms), the director for not lighting a fire under them, and the stage designer for a drably austere production.

    I don't think Tristan is really an opera in which nothing happens. It just has to acted with intelligence and passion.

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  6. #19
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    I think you mean this production:

    https://www.amazon.com/Richard-Wagne...s=music&sr=1-1

    The lovers appeared incapable of moving, much less expressing anything. We can blame the singers (one of whom, Jane Eaglen, was so obese she seemed incapable of doing more than raising her arms), the director for not lighting a fire under them, and the stage designer for a drably austere production.

    I don't think Tristan is really an opera in which nothing happens. It just has to acted with intelligence and passion.
    Could be the production I was thinking of. But I must say I have found the other productions I have seen (on DVD) to be unsatisfyingly static, including those with Waltrude Meier, who has the physical presence to pull off the part (and sing it). I have only enjoyed the piece in audio recordings, particularly the live Bohm recording on DGG.
    There are two kinds of music, good music and the other kind. - Duke Ellington.

  7. #20
    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    Could be the production I was thinking of. But I must say I have found the other productions I have seen (on DVD) to be unsatisfyingly static, including those with Waltrude Meier, who has the physical presence to pull off the part (and sing it). I have only enjoyed the piece in audio recordings, particularly the live Bohm recording on DGG.
    Have you seen this?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McoRns-aWQQ

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  9. #21
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodduck View Post
    Wow!. That's awesome! what a cast. And great production too!!
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  10. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Stage action? There is little or no stage action. Why the opera is best listened to as an aural experience rather than watching two mature singers (they have too be) trying to play two young lovers. It is a masterpiece but once I admire rather than love.
    You're suggesting that there's an incongruity in such a portrayal - that such extreme passions are associated with young lovers?

  11. #23
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    You're suggesting that there's an incongruity in such a portrayal - that such extreme passions are associated with young lovers?
    Well they are supposed to be young lovers aren’t they? If this is a drama they should look approximately young
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 09:05.

  12. #24
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Wow!. That's awesome! what a cast. And great production too!!

    This was the only complete film of a Wieland Wagner production.

  13. #25
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    For most opera seeing a stage production is a help for me. For T&I it is a hinderance. Nothing happens. I seem to recall a review of a Metropolitan Opera performance which characterized the two leads as resembling two dirigible competing for the same mooring.
    I have it on DVD (bought for nothing in charity shop). Singing is fine but it looks ridiculous. As frankly do many productions with close ups of elderly singers. Better go audio.
    Last edited by DavidA; Oct-24-2019 at 09:04.

  14. #26
    Senior Member haydnguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    One of the best resources on TC is Trout's blog about recordings of various works that were chosen by the original TC project. Here is his entry on Tristan und Isolde. The photo files don't work for me, but the information is still all there.
    Wow, what a blog! (I can see all the images)

  15. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Well they are supposed to be young lovers aren’t they? If this is a drama they should look approximately young
    Indeed - you don't think they succeed?

    Edit: I see you have answered this.
    Last edited by janxharris; Oct-24-2019 at 09:39.

  16. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by janxharris View Post
    The prelude is superb, but what follows sounds much like film music - merely playing a supporting role with the focus taken by the stage action.

    Getting through this work is a gruelling ordeal for me.

    Surprised to see so few members posting here.

    Have been listing to:
    Barenboim (cond.), Ponnelle (dir.), Kollo, Meier, Salminen, Schwarz, Becht, Schunk, Pampuch, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus (1983)
    I struggled with it at first. It took me a while and then suddenly it clicked.
    It was during Brangaene's Warning. I felt like I'd taken a mild dose of ecstasy. I had to turn it off and collect myself. I've never reacted to music like that before or since. An incredible once in a lifetime experience.
    And now I find the Prelude to Act 3 the ultimate representation of tragedy. If I image what the worst thing that could possibly happen would sound like - it's the opening of Act 3.
    I'd probably go the Böhm recording if I had to pick one as I think Nilsson is astounding. The moment in Act 2 when she throws the torch to the ground just before Tristan rushes in knocks the wind out of me.
    Flagstad in the Furtwängler recording is pretty phenomenal too.
    I love the piece but it definitely takes some work.
    Last edited by damianjb1; Oct-24-2019 at 11:04.

  17. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by damianjb1 View Post
    I struggled with it at first. It took me a while and then suddenly it clicked.
    It was during Brangaene's Warning. I felt like I'd taken a mild dose of ecstasy. I had to turn it off and collect myself. I've never reacted to music like that before or since. An incredible once in a lifetime experience.
    And now I find the Prelude to Act 3 the ultimate representation of tragedy. If I image what the worst thing that could possibly happen would sound like - it's the opening of Act 3.
    I'd probably go the Böhm recording if I had to pick one as I think Nilsson is astounding. The moment in Act 2 when she throws the torch to the ground just before Tristan rushes in knocks the wind out of me.
    Flagstad in the Furtwängler recording is pretty phenomenal too.
    I love the piece but it definitely takes some work.
    Interesting - thanks.

    You mean Brangäne's warning about Melot in Act II.
    Last edited by janxharris; Oct-24-2019 at 11:48.

  18. #30
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidA View Post
    Well they are supposed to be young lovers aren’t they?
    I don't believe that there's anything in the opera to suggest their age. Nor do I remember that there is any indication of the time between Acts 1 and 2.

    If this is a drama they should look approximately young.
    That's fine if you don't expect them to sing well. And if you rely on video, it's harder to disguise age than it is on stage.

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