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The infant Richard Wagner saw a performance of Raoul Barbe-Bleu, which given the subject matter certainly explains a lot. So, appropriately, there are more family and relationship complications in Tristan und Isolde, recorded live in concert in Perth, 2018. This is an enjoyable recording, if not a great one. Asher Fisch’s conducting is well-paced, never drags, and he’s sensitive to his singers: it is not a hugely personal reading. Tristan is Stuart Skelton, who is excellent and still sounds vocally fresh and even attractive in his Act III ravings, where so many others flag. There is natural warmth to his tenor and his involvement in the role comes across well. Likewise the Isolde of Gun-Brit Barkmin, who makes the most of the text. Her soprano is slender for this role, so cuts more through the orchestra than riding atop, but it has clarity and bite. Ekaterina Gubanova’s Brangäne is luxuriously sung, and her Act II warnings are in tune, as so often they are not. The temperature drops for the Kurwenal of Boaz Daniel and the Marke of Ain Anger, but Fisch, Skelton and Barkmin make a fine case for a lithe traversal of the score.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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