Sunday, June 14, 2009

August 26, 2006: Let Georg do it

Notwithstanding Mitchell Kauffman's insistence (back in 2004) that John Culshaw's Tristan and Isolde project (Georg Solti conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and Birgit Nilsson's Isolde (above), Fritz Uhl's Tristan, Regina Resnik's Brangane, and Tom Krause's Kurwenal) was a "match made in hell," I really enjoy the efforts that Culshaw and others made to document the recording experience, just as the recording experience of his Ring project was filmed in The Golden Ring. Now that it is more cost effective to bring video equipment to "live" performances of opera (usually to the detriment of the audience because of the lighting requirements), the craft of studio work, particularly where the massive resources of opera are involved, is like to be lost; so it is nice to have a couple of artifacts around that can remind us of some of the efforts that went into making this kind of magic. Where Kauffman hears Solti "slugging," I hear visceral; and getting that effect in the sterility of a recording studio with no audience other than the other performers and recording engineers is no mean feat. Solti left us a wonderful legacy of Wagner recordings, and I really value that a few bits of that legacy now have a "making of" back-story!

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