Review by peteyspambucket March 4, 2005 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
|As bleeding chunks go, this is an excellent representation of "Tristan und Isolde" from the distaff side. I have found Polaski to be a thrilling performer on stage having seen her in the Ring several times at Bayreuth and the MET, and other roles like Elektra. This SACD captures the excitement of hearing her live. The Brangaene has a bit of a wobble, but she's very dramatic.
Several of the excerpts don't end where you might expect them to, but otherwise, this is pure unadulterated Wagner at its best. I was surprised at how well Bertrand de Billy shapes this music. It's urgent and detailed and very lyrical. Everything just sounds "right", which is great. Interestingly the preludes to all three acts are included. The Prelude to Act I is very nicely paced and gorgeous. The prelude to act 3 trails off at the end of the English Horn solo. A little strange, but it's fine.
Sound quality wise, I think it's a nicely miked performance with a lot of detail and good balanced sound as though you were about 5 rows back from the orchestra pit. The vocalists definitely sound a lot louder than the orchestra, and that is fine because they are giving such nuanced performances you need to hear them a little louder. The rear channels don't have that much information in them as you might expect from a classical piece.
This is the best Wagner SACD out that I have heard (others are Szell excerpts, Terfel excerpts). If you love Polaski or in particular, the music for Isolde's scenes, this is pretty complete, outside of her music in the duets/ensembles. A must for Wagnerians!
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