|Stuart Skelton and Nina Stemme as Tristan und Isolde|
I enjoyed the Met broadcast on Saturday. I have to confess it’s my first time sitting straight through Tristan und Isolde; and I found myself drifting a bit during Act 3. That said, I confirmed my conviction that you really just need to “give in” to Wagner’s pace; let time stand still, as it were; and the piece doesn’t seem quite as long as it really is.
All of the singing was glorious; but I wished for better acting from Tristan and Kurwenal (and less barkiness from K). I find I have a tendency to close my eyes during these broadcasts, not because I don't want to see the scenery or the singer but because it allows me to wallow in the sheer sound of both voice and orchestra! Nina Stemme...well, she's awesome; I do need to open my eyes when she sings, because she also is an engaging actor. Stewart Skelton and Ekaterina Gubanova also sang beautifully; and of course René Pape is in a class of his own as King Marke. Really, everyone sang well.
I was not bothered by the updated setting, though the set was nothing if not dreary. For me, the cargo ship setting enhanced the feeling of Isolde being kidnapped. The sailors menacing the women was creepy but appropriate. A little part of me wanted Isolde to be a bit dressier; but, her dress and demeanor accentuated the “captive” aspect.