Saturday, October 08, 2016

Tristan und Isolde in HD

Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Production:  Mariusz Trelinski

Tristan:  Stuart Skelton
Isolde:  Nina Stemme
Brangäne:  Ekaterina Gubanova
King Marke:  René Pape
Kurwenal:  Evgeny Nikitin

English Horn Solo:  Pedro R. Díaz

Things I liked about Wagner's Tristan und Isolde live in HD today.

I liked the outstanding conducting by Simon Rattle.  I very much enjoyed listening to him talk about today's performance.

I liked Debbie Voigt interviewing Nina Stemme, one Isolde to another.  I liked it when Nina said playing a Valkyrie could make you more of a Valkyrie.

I liked that this was the first time I thought while listening to the performance that only the Metropolitan Opera orchestra could play this piece this much more beautifully than anyone else.

I liked Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton putting their own personal stamps on this opera.  So much emotion, so much emotional singing and acting.

I liked René Pape, the best Wagner baritone around.

I liked so much love.  So much love by everyone on the stage, in the pit, behind the stage.  So much love.  I cried.

I liked the production which took images from the libretto to form the basis for its visual effects.

I liked talk about the anniversary performance of Antony and Cleopatra by Samuel Barber.  It was a new house with all the fancy new equipment.  Franco Zeffirelli used every new gadget in his production, and most of them failed.  Rosalind Elias and Justino Díaz were interviewed from the original cast.  And it's not true that the other performances were cancelled.

I liked Richard Wagner's libretto which I could primarily understand in Nina's singing.  This was a surprise.  This production might just work better without the surtitles.  In the house this would be possible.  For me the text was too bright against the dark background.

I liked seeing the love in their faces.

I haven't thought of anything I didn't like except Isolde smoking.  I feel recovered from Donnerstag.

In case I haven't been clear enough I want to say that I found this Tristan und Isolde to be deeply satisfying on every level.  I felt that the story penetrated my consciousness as never before, that the orchestra playing was profoundly beautiful and the singing actors the best ever.

Of course the production is Regietheater.  We are moved to an abstraction of today with military uniforms and modern dresses.  If there were difficulties, they were to be found in the projections, sometimes symbolic, sometimes personal.  A boy is seen and a thin man in a white uniform who cannot be King Marke.  I think this comes from the Act III solo by Tristan where he describes how he knows the sad tune he is hearing.  His mother died when he was born and his father when he was still a child.  So the projections picture the young Tristan and his father who must also have been a high ranking military man.  The ghost child is also Tristan.

I thought I was seeing a solar eclipse in the black circle surrounded by light.  And some kind of nautical device in the other circle.  I always feel free to ignore symbolism.

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