I started watching a tad of the La Scala telecast (or whatever you'd call it) of Tristan und Isolde, the one from last December that was telecast in a number of theaters Stateside (but I missed it), and it's now in bits and pieces all over youtube which is a helluva way to see an opera as long and complex and concentrated as Tristan.
But it's addictive, not least because it's so much better a performance than the one (well, I saw two and heard four) that played the Met this month. The staging was very modern but not pointless (the only point of the Met staging was so Jane "the Blob" Eaglen, for whom it was originally created, would be seen to move as little as possible, since moving on stage is the only thing she does worse than sing). Barenboim conducted a moving, not too heavy account of the score, the Tristan (Ian Storey) wobbled more than one might like (we had that better in New York), Salminen as Marke and De Young as Brangaene sing significantly better and act far more intensely than they did here, and Waltraud Meier is - an Isolde! a revelation! imperfect but, as actress and singer, brilliant of voice and extraordinary in movement and look. The real deal. Debbie Voigt is fast losing what little claim she has to any vocal eminence, and her Isoldes were disgraceful, just not acceptable on any major stage. Janice Baird, her gallant occasional replacement, was a little better but not a triumph in the part.
Meier is the real deal. So is this performance of Tristan, which I intend to acquire as soon as it is available on video - though I have the old Bayreuth Barenboim performance, am supposed to be reviewing it for Opera Today (and I will! I will! but I haven't got around to it yet).