Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Wagner, Tristan und Isolde, Bayreuther Festspiele mit Daniel Barenboim, 1983 production, Tristan René Kollo, Isolde Johanna Meier  ★★★★★
First of all, if you are not an inveterate Wagner fan, don’t waste your time on T&I. You will go crazy. If you bleed Wagner, then this is a must. The production was superb, with excellent props and design, and Kollo was the most stupendous Tristan I have ever seen. Having seen a more recent production of T&I using a modern staged genre and Isolde as Janet Eaglen, I longed for a more traditional approach. While Eaglen had a perfectly splendid voice, her morbid obesity did not fit the bill for an Isolde, who is supposed to be young and sexually irresistible–Janet was uncomfortable to watch because of her massive overweight. But, back to this production. I typically perfect many conductors over Barenboim.  Yet, Barenboim remains first-rate, it is just that Karajan, Solti, Fürtwangler, and others do a more convincing overture and direction of general orchestration. This production gets 5 stars for its absolutely unbeatable love scene in Act 2 between Tristan and Isolde, and for the entire third act, so sublimely performed, up to the knock-out Liebestod by Meier.  All in all, this is my preferred dvd version of the opera.