Wagner: Tristan und Isolde - Nilsson, Cox, Fonseca, Vermeersch, Mazura; Wallat. Mannheim, 1975


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Many of you probably don't need another recording of Birgit Nilsson singing Isolde.  She owned the part for decades and left many great documents of those performances.  This performance is worth having, however, because it catches her in what would be some of her last outings in this role.  Nearing sixty, she gives a very compelling performance.  The voice lacks some of the ease she enjoyed ten years previous.  That said she still sings it better than anyone could today.  What people often fail to mention about Nilsson is her artistry.  She never relied on her voice alone to carry a performance and after about twenty years of living with this role she delivers an amazingly nuanced performance.  Jean Cox never reached the peak of stardom but he shows himself to be the rarest of all birds- a true Heldentenor.  He sings the role tirelessly.  Franz Mazura ventures into bass territory as Marke.  Although baritonal in quality the voice has a distinguished quality and he delivers all of Marke's heartbreak without becoming overly histrionic.  The sound is good.

OD 10350-3

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