Tristan und Isolde

Kurt Herbert Adler
San Francisco Opera Chorus and Orchestra
21 November 1980
War Memorial Opera House San Francisco
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
TristanSpas Wenkoff
IsoldeGwyneth Jones
BrangäneRuža Baldani
KurwenalThomas Stewart
König MarkeSimon Estes
MelotWarren Ellsworth
Ein junger SeemannQuade Winter
Ein HirtJonathan Green
SteuermannJohn Del Carlo

Also in 1980 the great god Adler emerged from his administrative command post – actually he was usually everywhere – to conduct Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, for, I believe, the only time in his career. The naysayers will, of course, return to their eternal contempt for Adler the Maestro, but I’d risk 30 days in the clink to say that this Tristan heard blindfolded, without knowledge of who’s on the podium, would confound some of those doubters into thinking the music director of a major German house were in the saddle. A luminous, urgent interpretation KHA gave us, very melodic, with a warm string sound: I can’t remember a Tristan more oriented in the pit toward the sound of cellos.

Spas Wenkoff the Bulgarian tenor, 52 at the time, and with a law degree yet, was an extremely strong Tristan, his voice attractive, jumbo-sized and – sound the trumpets here! – steady. He was very moving too. Another credit, Ruza Baldani’s warm, cozy Brangaene. Gwyneth Jones, convincingly angry and intimate by turns as Isolde – she sounded more a real person than some of her illustrious predecessors singing originally at 78 revolutions per minute from their Olympian pedestals – was quite memorable indeed.

User Rating
Media Type/Label
Premiere, PO
Technical Specifications
256 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 410 MByte (MP3)
Gwyneth Jones gives her role debut as Isolde
A production by Dietrich Haugk