Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Ligendza, Brilioth, Minton, McIntyre, Moll; Kleiber. Bayreuth, 1975
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In the 70s Carlos Kleiber and Caterina Ligendza would bring Tristan und Isolde to many of the worlds great theaters. Their collaboration left some of the finest examples of this opera and this recording is no exception. In Kleiber's hands, the score undulates and breathes like a living organism. Every string gesture or brass lick seems to spring like unbridled inspiration from the players. Catarina Ligendza's Isolde is not the most beautiful or the most most viscerally exciting, but she brings an intense commitment that is both Wagnerian and human in scale. She delivers a Liebestod that is not only grand in scale but also very intimate and musical. Helge Brilioth lends his attractive if somewhat underpowered tenor to the role of Tristan. He manages the challenges quite admirably although sometimes comes across as slightly wooden. Yvonne Minton is an impassioned Brangäne. She delivers one of the most delicate warnings I have ever heard (how many times does that moment come across no more than a mezzo yelling from offstage.) Kurt Moll is near perfection as Marke. The sound is superb.