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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde ()

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Wilhelm Furtwängler's 1952 EMI recording of Tristan und Isolde with the Philharmonia Orchestra is a gold standard among recordings of the opera. The integrity of his vision and his command of the opera's large structural elements make this a version that is widely admired by listeners who love the opera. Although his reading is never rushed, and is notable for its moments of sensuous languor, for the most part, and the opera has rarely sounded so impetuously and freshly imagined. The opening of the Prelude is a marvel; its primal rawness perfectly sets the stage for the searing drama. Isolde's Act I monologue and Marke's Act II monologue lack energy and are Furtwängler's least effective moments, but they are more than compensated for by the blazing intensity of the "Love Duet," the anguish of Tristan's yearning in the third act, and the ecstatic resolution of the Liebestod. Kirsten Flagstad made the recording late in her career, when she was in her late '50s, and while her voice doesn't have the... Hide synopsis

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