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.