Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Nilsson, Windgassen, Töpper, Andersson, Hotter; Boulez. Osaka, 1969


Listen to a Sample:


Many of you will recognize this line-up from the only surviving video of a complete Wieland Wagner production.  It was taped in Osaka in 1969 and sports the greatest Wagnerian duo of their day- Birgit Nilsson and Wolfgang Windgassen.   Since the sound was in such good shape I decided to put it on CD.  I prefer Nilsson's performance here to the Karl Böhm recording.  Her f sharp at the end of the Liebestod is nothing short of a miracle of vocal production.  Windgassen for me was the perfect Tristan.  I love Melchoir but it seems almost too easy for him.  Windgassen truly sounds like a man who is reeling in Act III.  Pierre Boulez is in the pit for what may be one of the faster performances of this opera I have ever heard.   I generally like the pacing and It is nice to hear singers sing a complete line without having to break it up with a few breaths.   Hertha Töpper is great as Brangäne and Hans Hotter, here at the end of his career, has graduated to Marke and brings his entire interpretive prowess to create a very intimate portrait of a broken-hearted man.  As I indicated before the sound is truly excellent.

OD 10330-3