Tristan und Isolde Conductors in Bayreuth
One of the performances this year was recorded and released on CD. Norwegians Gunnar Graarud is Tristan and Ivar F. Andresen King Marke. Listen to Andresen here (link will open your default MP3 player).
On 26 June 1930, in the presence of Siegfried, Winifred, Daniela, Eva and the assembled musical directors and assistants, Toscanini took his first rehearsal. It turned out to be something of a shock. The maestro demanded the highest virtuosity, and was angry when he did not find it. Instead of being grateful, as a 'non-German', for being allowed to conduct on the 'hallowed' soil of Bayreuth, he complained - and in Italian, to boot. Lieselotte recorded that ' when he did not like the way the second violins played a particular passage, he brought his baton down so hard that it broke in half, and he threw the broken halves over his shoulder and stamped his foot ... the musicians are already grumbling about his intensive rehearsals. He sings, or rather croaks, loudly along with every part.' His frequent beating out of the time, accompanied by a furious 'no, no', earned him the nickname 'Toscanono'.
Brigitte Hamann: Winifred Wagner: A Life at the Heart of Hitler's Bayreuth
For Toscanini it was a great night, his Bayreuth debut.
To his presence—perhaps
his last engagement as an opera conductor —was ascribed an early
sell-out of admissions for the whole season. He is conducting all five
Tannhauser performances, the three of Tristan. Before him no South European
had held the conductor's wand at the Festspielhaus. Thus to him had fallen
the honor of bringing true Friedrich Nietzsche's words of long ago to Wagner: "We
must 'Mediterraneanize' music." Tannhauser had not been given in Bayreuth
in 25 years. It was an equally long time since Toscanini had conducted
it. After each act (and at following performances) the great audience cheered
tempestuously, threw hats, stamped, applauded, called for conductor and
cast. But they called vainly. There are no curtain calls at Bayreuth.
(Time Magazine, Monday, Aug. 04, 1930)
Victor de Sabata
Herbert von Karajan
A performance from this Festival was recorded.
“Although Kleiber was reputed to be a most difficult conductor, he differed from Leonard Bernstein and Georg Solti in being able to reconcile his wishes with the requirements of the Bayreuth management. His threee years with us, 1974-6, were almost completely devoid of friction, and his musical achievements were enthusiastically hailed by artists, festival staff, and audiences alike. It was unfortunate that personal reasons prevented him from conducting in 1977, the last year of his Tristan production.”
Acts – the Autobiography of Wolfgang Wagner
A new production. Stage director: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle.
This production by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle was filmed and released on DVD with Johanna Meier and René Kollo as Isolde and Tristan.
New production. Stage director: Heiner Müller.
This production by Heiner Müller became a huge success. It was Waltraud Meier's debut as Isolde. The production was filmed and released on DVD with Waltraud Meier and Siegfried Jerusalem as Isolde and Tristan.
1999 was the last year Daniel Barenboim appeared at the Bayreuth Festival: “I never made a conscious decision to leave Bayreuth. It was a process
of evolution. In 1997, I decided I wanted to return to Argentina in the
summer of 2000, because I had played my first piano recital in Buenos Aires
on 19 August 1950. The desire to return and play a concert in Buenos Aires
on 19 August 2000 ran in a slightly sentimental vein. I would have preferred
to appear in the same hall, which was very small, but it does not exist
any more. Therefore, the concert was to take place at the Teatro Colón
instead. I shared my thoughts with Wolfgang Wagner, who understood perfectly
well, and I told him jokingly that, like a true criminal, I had to return
to the scene of the crime. Ideally he would have liked to have someone
conduct Meistersinger in my absence. However, as we pondered the options,
it became clear rather quickly that it would have been very impractical
to have someone else conduct it for one year, and have me come back the
year after. It made more sense to have the same conductor in 2000 and also
in 2001. So the decision to leave was simply the result of reason and timing.”
Daniel Barenboim - A Life in Music
Tristan: Robert Dean Smith
Isolde Iréne Theorin