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Subject: Fwd: FT's Met 'Tristan' review
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 29 Sep 2016 00:48:07 -0400

text/plain (127 lines)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 5:00 PM
Subject: Re: FT's Met 'Tristan' review
To: janosG <[log in to unmask]>

Could Mr. Bernheimer  have failed to notice that the reason for that
radar circle was to telegraph the news that this TRISTAN was going to take
place entirely on board a large ship?  The parallel boxes opening up
as the First Act unfolds, each represent a different deck, but then in an
abrupt change of style, we are transported to the vessel's unpiloted bridge
for the love scene, and thence to the cargo hold where Act Two clumsily
ends.  Act Three, predictably,  brings us to the infirmary where Tristan,
in and out of a variety of
hallucinations, revisits his woodsy boyhood home, and imagines a totally
gratuitous portrayal of his young self  loitering about.  When Isolde's
arrives amid an electrifying display of marine illuminations, the lovers,
in this
production's only touching moment, are reunited, and the act ends as
Isolde, alone against the wall, with slit wrists, kneels beside a seated
dummy of Tristan and brings the unhappy voyage to an end.

(A little late but, with revisions, I repost the above and regret that I
had not been bold enough to use the subject line "MB MISSES THE BOAT".  I
hope he
doesn't mind).


On Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 2:22 PM, janosG <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> <
> 7a5.html?siteedition=intl>
> ["Subscribe to read"]
> <
> 7a5.html?siteedition=intl>
> Financial Times / Arts / Sept. 27, 2016
> "Tristan und Isolde"
> Metropolitan Opera, New York
>      The mighty Met hasn’t had much luck with "Tristan und Isolde" in
> recent times. In the so-called good old days, Wagner’s "Gesamtkunstwerk"
> enjoyed the vocal splendors of Lauritz Melchior, Kirsten Flagstad, Helen
> Traubel and Astrid Varnay, not to mention such lesser lights (term used
> advisedly) as Set Svanholm and Ramon Vinay. Theatrical values, however,
> were prosperously primitive. So were the cuts.
>      The last Met "Tristan", dating back to 1999, was staged by Dieter
> Dorn. Surviving till 2008, it fluctuated between neat abstraction and silly
> obfuscation. Now, as of Monday, we have yet another problematic and clumsy
> version of the beloved love-tragedy, this one directed by Mariusz Treliński
> and designed by Boris Kudlicka. It is shared, not incidentally, with
> Baden-Baden, the Polish National Opera and Beijing.
>      Trelinski has set the period piece in a modern symbol-land dominated
> by a seemingly irrelevant, eminently fussy radar circle-scope that spins on
> the quasi-industrial cyclorama ad nauseam. The hyper-clever sets, which
> reportedly place the inaction “in a contemporary wartime setting”, provide
> more confusion than enlightenment. At best one should try to ignore the
> clumsy sexual images.
>      All this is doubly regrettable because the musical standards remain
> lofty. Simon Rattle conducts with a compelling fusion of piety, pity and
> passion. Nina Stemme invests Isolde with luminous tone, tireless energy and
> infectious sympathy. Stuart Skelton's Tristan may lack the power of his
> most illustrious predecessors, but he sings – also acts! – with unfailing
> urgency. René Pape commands the stage as usual, this time as the sadly
> betrayed King Marke. Appropriately integrated support is provided by
> Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne and Evgeny Nikitin as Kurwenal.
>      The official company blurb proclaims that "Tristan" stresses themes
> associated with ancient Celtic culture: mysticism, magic arts, an evolved
> warrior code and a non-Christian vision of the afterlife. Little of that
> emerged on Trelinski’s stage.
> For better or worse (probably worse) the production was dedicated to the
> memory of John Botha, the extraordinary South African tenor who died of
> cancer at 51 this month. A member in good vocal standing of a vanishing
> super-forceful breed, he had sung 80 performances of ten roles with the Met
> over the past 20 years. His heavyweight assignments included the title
> roles of Verdi's "Don Carlo" and "Otello", Stolzing in Wagner's endless
> "Meistersinger" plus Siegmund in "Die Walküre" and Florestan in Beethoven's
> "Fidelio" not to mention the daunting protagonist in ""Tannhäuser". He will
> be sorely missed.
> ###
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