Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Dernesch, Vickers, Balzani, Ridderbusch, Vermeersch, Weikl, Schreier, Unger; Karajan. Salzburg, 1973


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  • It is a shame that Jon Vickers did not sing Tristan more in his career as he may well be the greatest exponent of this role in the history of opera. No other tenor could plunge the depths of despair quite like he could, particularly in the final act.
  • Herbert von Karajan approaches Tristan with a lighter touch, evoking some of the most transparent textures I have ever heard during the Liebesnacht.
  • Karl Ridderbusch's King Marke presents a poignant portrait of a broken man.


  • Although I have always admired Helga Dernesch, she seems to have trouble coping with the considerable demands of Isolde on this particular evening. Her pitch suffers in the lyrical passages and the top doesn't always work for her. Still the color of her voice is very well suited to the role.
  • There are some light digital artifacts throughout the recording.

In Mono

OD 11606-3

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