09 August 2009
Great transmission of Tristan from Bayreuth
The Public viewing (20.000 at the Volksfestplatz) and Internet streaming of Christoph Marthaler's production of Tristan und Isolde at Bayreuth was a great success. Christoph Marthaler's production obviously profits from close-ups because there are lots of details like facial expressions you won't see from the auditorium.
Robert Dean Smith and Iréne Theorin were both great vocally, but I was more fascinated by the vocally more reserved Jukka Rasilainen's portrayal of Kurwenal as an insecure, naïve, and rather helpless unmanly man. A great performance!
The sets were great, although somewhat claustrophobic. In Act 2 and 3 the walls from the previous Act(s) were reused. The walls were lifted a couple of metres for each Act, so that Act 3 took place in the basement. Very elegantly done. And yes, also in this Bayreuth production you'll find a janitor (!), as you will in Katharina's Meistersinger (Nachtwächter) and Dorst's Rheingold. The janitor here was the Shepherd, walking around in the background, not understanding the Neon Light Bulbs.
The sound was rather metallic on my systems, with some occasional, not too serious interference. The picture quality was great, and the editing was superior for a live transmission. A great improvement from last year's transmission of Meistersinger.
I am very much looking forward to the DVD release!