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A deeply engaging Tristan und Isolde

Having seen the Glyndebourne and Royal Opera productions of Tristan und Isolde not so long ago, I was quite looking forward to a concert performance of this epic Wagner opera - one without cumbersome staging and weird stage directions. It turned out to be one of the best performances I have ever heard of this work. Gary Lehman sang Tristan with thoughtfulness and directness. His voice remained strong and composed throughout the three acts. It would be very exciting to see him as Siegfried in the near future. Violeta Urmana was absolutely fabulous - the Isolde role enabled her to show off her entire range of vocal colours and emotions. Could she be a future Brünhilde? And there was a really good rapport between them. Anne Sophie von Otter's Brangäne was also very good - especially in Act II where she sang from a Level 6 Box high above everyone else - very effective. Bill Viola's video projections were good in places, distracting in others - luckily this being a concert performance one can ignore what's
being shown above the orchestra. Esa-Pekka Salonen led the Philharmonia Orchestra with firmness and encouragement - and the players were responsive throughout. A memorable Tristan und Isolde is hard to come by, and this one will stay with me for a little while.

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