This is visually appealing production that takes place on a convincing ship. It makes effective use of a split-screen so is probably best seen in a cinema or on a very large television. The director points up the drama as well he can but there is no escaping that this is a very static opera and, for most of the first act, the participants are just standing there describing the back story. As usual with this opera, I eventually stopped reading the subtitles and just let the music wash over me.
Having seen this opera half a dozen times I am still at a loss as to how Tristan gets back to his castle in Brittany for Act III after being mortally wounded in Act II. Also, why is Isolde not with him? Why is he waiting for her ship to arrive? Of course, this being an opera, Robert Dean Smith, as Tristan is able to sing robustly through most of Act III despite being at death's door. He finally pegs out as Isolde arrives and I must say that Deborah Voight is magnificent during the Liebestod. She looks radiant at her new fighting weight and the singing seems effortless.
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