OP0265. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE (Complete, Uncut Version), Live Performance, 9 Feb., 1997, Carnegie Hall, w.Queler Cond. Opera Orchestra of New York, New York Choral Society; Heikki Siukola, Elizabeth Connell, Petra Lang, Clayton Brainerd, Greg Ryerson, Robert Breault, Joel Sorensen & Frank Barr. (E.U.) 3-OONY 58006. [Brilliant sound in the Carnegie Hall acoustic!] Very long out-of-print, Final ever-so-slightly used copy appears unplayed!
“The heart of TRISTAN is in the orchestra, and Ms. Queler led hers well. If this is at bottom a pick-up group, the level of players was high for this occasion and they were well rehearsed. Most of these floating New York musicians have never played a Wagner opera before; they seemed fascinated by the experience. Ms. Queler does the famous prelude slowly. Urgency gives way to calm. Instead of pounding hearts there are sensual pleasures slowly tasted. The wonderful woodwind colors were nicely balanced; the strings sounded lovely.
Heikki Siukola was Tristan, Elizabeth Connell Isolde. Both roles ask too much, and Wagnerites have learned that each functions as a collection of moving parts, all of which are not expected to work well at the same time. Ms. Connell has most of Isolde's authentic qualities. The stamina is there, also the sometimes fearsome size, together with intelligent respect for musical values. If some of her upper-register attacks jarred the spine, the quiet of the ‘Liebesnacht’ was meltingly expressive and as finely articulated as a Schubert song….Mr. Siukola is a natural tenor, giving his voice the easy, pointed carrying power that most pushed-up baritone voices do not have. When he managed to stay on pitch for any length of time, the value of this kind of voice showed itself. It happened mostly in Act II….Wagnerians learn to love their heldentenors for that fact alone. Petra Lang made a splendid impression as Brangane, offering beautifully modulated singing of high intensity. Clayton Brainerd was the sturdy Kurwenal. Greg Ryerson sang King Marke's monologue (all of it) steadfastly….
TRISTAN survives and may even prosper without stage pictures. Small theatrical touches on Sunday (the Sailor's call from an upper balcony) were applied, but without the pretense of mobility; one listened and experienced through sound. Lovers of this astonishing work can never be satisfied with any one performance, but Ms. Queler provided enough of a fix to tide us over for the year. We thank her.”
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 11 Feb, 1997
“Elizabeth Connell, a South African-born opera singer who won acclaim internationally in roles by Wagner, Strauss, Beethoven and others, moved to London in 1970 and made her début at Ireland’s Wexford Festival in 1972. She had a long association with both Opera Australia and the English National Opera, and performed at the world’s major opera houses, including the Bayreuth Festival, La Scala and the Metropolitan Opera, where she performed 12 times from 1985 to 1991. She was singing Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s MACBETH at the Met on Jan. 23, 1988, when a member of the audience leapt to his death from a balcony during the second intermission, cutting short a live radio broadcast of the performance.
Ms. Connell began her career as a mezzo-soprano, with notable Wagnerian roles including Ortrud and Brangäne. Later she became a dramatic soprano, tackling roles like Fiordiligi in Mozart’s COSÌ FAN TUTTE, Leonore in Beethoven’s FIDELIO and Ariadne in Strauss’ ARIADNE AUF NAXOS. In 2008, she was hailed for her performance in the title role of Puccini’s TURANDOT at the Royal Opera House. She went on to perform the role in Sydney, Hamburg and Prague.”
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 Feb., 2012
“Petra Lang counts as one of the leading interpreters of Wagner repertoire. After starting out as a lyric mezzo soprano, she changed to the dramatic area and quickly developed herself into a sought after actress of Wagner’s Brangäne, Kundry, Venus, Sieglinde, Ortrud, Bartók’s Judith, Berg’s Marie, Berlioz' Cassandre and Strauss’ Ariadne as well as an interpreter of vocal works by Mahler. Since her change to the dramatic area, she has sung the Valkyries - Brünnhilde first in a concert performance in Berlin, Luzern, Bukarest, the Siegfried-Brünnhilde in Stuttgart as well as in the GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG in Bamberg, Luzern, Bucharest and Berlin and scenically for the first time in the Paris Opéra. Her big breakthrough in the role came in 2013/2014 in all three RING operas in the new production in Geneva - a success which she repeated among others in Budapest, Munich and Dortmund. In 2016 she gave her role début as Isolde at the festival in Bayreuth. At the Wiener Staatsoper she gave her début in 2002 as Fricka (WALKÜRE) and also sang Fricka (RHEINGOLD), Waltraute (GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG), Ortud, Kundry and Brangäne here.”
- Wiener Staatsoper