OP2803. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, Live Performance, 1 Feb., 1972, Roma, w.Mehta Cond. RAI Ensemble, Roma; Birgit Nilsson, Helge Brilioth, Beverly Wolff, Peter Meven, Siegmund Nimsgern, etc. (Croatia) 3-Myto 011.239. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 608974502393
“Nilsson made so strong an imprint on a number of rôles that her name came to be identified with a repertory, the ‘Nilsson repertory’, and it was a broad one. She sang the operas of Richard Strauss and made a specialty of Puccini's TURANDOT, but it was Wagner who served her career and whom she served as no other soprano since the days of Kirsten Flagstad.
A big, blunt woman with a wicked sense of humor, Ms. Nilsson brooked no interference from Wagner's powerful and eventful orchestra writing. When she sang Isolde or Brünnhilde, her voice pierced through and climbed above it. Her performances took on more pathos as the years went by, but one remembers her sound more for its muscularity, accuracy and sheer joy of singing under the most trying circumstances.
Her long career at the Bayreuth Festival and her immersion in Wagner in general, began in the mid-1950s. No dramatic soprano truly approached her stature thereafter, and in the rôles of Isolde, Brünnhilde and Sieglinde, she began her stately 30-year procession around the opera houses of the world. Her United States debut was in San Francisco in 1956. Three years later she made her début at the Metropolitan Opera, singing Isolde under Karl Böhm, and some listeners treasure the memory of that performance as much as they do her live recording of the rôle from Bayreuth in 1966, also under Böhm. The exuberant review of her first Met performance appeared on the front page of The New York Times on 19 Dec., 1959, under the headline, ‘Birgit Nilsson as Isolde Flashes Like New Star in 'Met' Heavens’."
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 Jan., 2006
“After beginning his career as a baritone, Helge Brilioth restudied to continue his career as a Heldentenor. He soon embarked on a notable international career, much in demand in the heroic Wagnerian repertoire….In later years, he returned to the Swedish Royal Opera as a brilliant interpreter of comprimario and character rôles.”
- Richard T. Soper, NORDIC VOICES, p.232
“Beverly Wolff was an American mezzo-soprano who had an active career in concerts and operas from the early 1950's to the early 1980's. She performed a broad repertoire which encompassed operatic and concert works in many languages and from a variety of musical periods. She was a champion of new works, notably premiering compositions by Leonard Bernstein, Gian Carlo Menotti, Douglas Moore, and Ned Rorem among other American composers. She also performed in a number of rarely heard baroque operas by George Frideric Handel with the New York City Opera (NYCO), the Handel Society of New York, and at the Kennedy Center Handel Festivals. Wolff made only a few appearances on the international stage during her career, choosing instead to work with important opera companies and orchestras in the United States. She was particularly active with the NYCO with whom she performed frequently from 1958-1971. Opera News stated, ‘Wolff was one of a golden generation of American singers who dominated the NYCO roster during the general directorship of Julius Rudel. Her combination of stylish, intelligent singing and ‘big brass sound’, as she termed it, was a key element in some of the company's most celebrated productions."
- Zillah Dorset Akron
“Although Mehta never had difficulty pleasing the casual concertgoer, he did not always make a minority of hard-core aficionados ecstatic. They recognized his penchant for the superficial effect, his willingness to cheapen a subtle impulse, his tendency to exaggerate, his weakness (or is it strength?) for bombast and disinclination for subtle introspection.”
- Martin Bernheimer, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2 Oct, 2019