Tristan und Isolde

Horst Stein
Coro y Orquesta del Teatro Colón Buenos Aires
10 October 1971
Teatro Colón Buenos Aires
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
TristanJon Vickers
IsoldeBirgit Nilsson
BrangäneGrace Hoffmann
KurwenalNorman Mittelmann
König MarkeFranz Crass
MelotRicardo Yost
Ein junger SeemannRenato Sassola
Ein HirtEugenio Valori
SteuermannTulio Gagliardo

During the last part of the season at the TEATRO COLON only one production stood out above the rather routine performances which characterized this period. Thanks to the efforts of the two leading singers and the conductor Tristan und Isolde (September-October) turned out to be the most interesting operatic production to be seen or heard in Buenos Aires in 1971. Even though Birgit Nilsson and Horst Stein were a strong factor in the success of the production it was Tristan himself who gave a special character to the whole performance. Jon Vickers sang the part for the first time and, since the opening performance, those who watched him had the feeling that they were seeing the incarnation of Wagner’s hero, something which had not been felt since the golden days of Max Lorenz and Lauritz Melchior. For 20 years no good Isolde needed to fear that she would be deprived of this ‘one woman’ show — especially if this Isolde was Nilsson, even though she might have by her side the worthy Wolfgang Windgassen who was never a true Heldentenor. Vickers has that touch of authenticity and his dramatic approach does not compare unfavourably with that of his intelligent predecessors. His voice came over with more brilliance than usual and he added a colour just right for the role with no noticeable limitations in his range and without showing any signs of fatigue throughout. After many years this opera finally had two stars. Nilsson sang Isolde as well as one would have expected, making full use of the maturity of her interpretive qualities and, as ever, the brilliance of her voice. Stein, who was conducting here for the first time, was outstanding. It was said here that he brought out the emotional side of the music in the same way as did Fritz Busch. In any case, the orchestra of the Colon has not played with such brilliance and coordination in a work of Wagner since the time of Erich Kleiber. Among the rest of the cast Franz Crass was a noble but somewhat pompous King Mark; Grace Hoffman was convincing as Brangaene, Norman Mittelmann a bit dull as Kurwenal.


User Rating
Media Type/Label
OOA 1987
Technical Specifications
A production by Ernst Poettgen
There are cuts in this performance: in Act 1, Scene 3, from “die Morald schlug, die Wunde” (Isolde) to “machtlos liess ich’s fallen” (Isolde); in Act 2, Scene 2, from “Dem Tage! Dem Tage!” (Tristan) to “dass nachtsichtig mein Auge wahres zu sehen tauge” (Tristan); and in Act 3, Scene 2, from “[nur eine Stunde] bleibe mir wach!” to “Nicht meine Klagen darf ich dir sagen?” (Isolde). Also, 5 bars from Act 2, Scene 1 are missing from the original recording – “Ist er nicht Tristan’s freund? Muss mein Trauter mich [meiden, dann weilt er bei Melot allein.]” (Isolde). [Jonathan Brown]