Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Shuard, Cox, Meyer, Vermeersch, Moll; Sébastian. Genève, 1972
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This recording of Tristan und Isolde is notable because it sports the superb, and woefully under-recorded, British soprano, Amy Shuard. Shuard’s voice was remarkable because it had the power required of a great Wagnerian without the hard edge that can often detract from the humanity of the characters. Hence her Isolde is not so much vengeful warrior, but a very hurt and desperate woman. This somewhat softer touch makes the character’s transformation after the love potion seem a lot less stark by comparison. Jean Cox as Tristan proves a good counterpart as his lyrical instrument skewed younger than many of his Heldentenor colleagues. Kerstin Meyer is just past her prime as Brangäne, but still delivers a haunting “warning” in Act II. Kurt Moll’s dashing bass makes one wonder why Isolde would eschew him for Tristan, regardless of the odd love potion. The sound is generally good although there are some brief portions missing in Act I.