Countless singers, almost without regard of their type of voice, have been attracted by the "Liebestod". The temptation to sing this singular piece, being an intersection of music, love and cosmos, seems to be irresistable.
Each one of these singers has tried by her own means and style, to approach and resolve the mystery of the transfiguration, being the subject of the aria "Mild und Leise". From our perspective, this has been more or less successful and always dependant from the style and technique of singing of the respective era. To give an overview about those efforts and to facilitate a comparison between the various interpretations, we habe brought together all recordings of the Liebestod to be found from the beginning of the acoustic period until today, regardless if they have been recorded as the single aria or being part of the complete opers, recorded on shellack, LP, CD, video or DVD.
In the chapter "Isoldes A-Z" you will find the "heart" of our site: Here we present our collection, listed by the singers in alphabetic order, with a short biography (at the moment available in German only) of each singer, a list of the respective recordings in our collection, comments and a photo gallery; in some cases you can play a music file.
Within the chapter "Isoldes without Liebestod" we present those artists whose Liebestod is not available: also to this category belong all these historic singers who have been a "great" Isolde at their time and who do not deserve to be forgotten (from the times when the technique of recording still didn't exist). Here you can find also singers who have acted at a time when recording already has been invented, and who possibly even have recorded excerpts from "Tristan und Isolde", but not the "Liebestod" (?!) and at last the singers of our modern times who have interpreted or interprete the role of Isolde, but didn't record and even are without pirate recordings (?!?)
The meaning of the symbols (stars) after the names of some of the singers comes from a very personal point of view:
- a great singer, famous especially in the role of Isolde - singers, who are generally indentified with this role (e.g.:. Flagstad, Frida Leider).
- a great singer, also in the role of Isolde (e.g.: Schnaut, famaous especially as Brünnhilde), supposed to be able to become a "genuine" Isolde in the course of time.
A singer without a star indicates that she never has interpreted the role of Isolde on stage (at least, as far as we know)
The Liebestod being the center of our collection, we of course do not estimate less the whole opera. In the chapter "Tristan-Bank" we list all complete performances of our collection (a part of them is the source of the Liebestods in the chapter "Isoldes A-Z"). And as the opera of course consists of more than merely Isolde, we show reverence to the great artists who sang the other parts in this work (with respect to the most important aria of these characters) by making a chapter dedicated to Tristan ("Wohin nun Tristan scheidet..."), Brangaene ("Einsam wachend in der Nacht"), King Marke ("Tatest Du's wirklich...") and Kurwenal; Melot, Shepard, Sailor and Steersman can be found in the chapter "Others". In these chapters historic interpreters are listed as well as modern ones, not important if there is a recording of the "reference aria" or not.
As this website is also intended for research purposes, we tried to list all performances of the opera "Tristan und Isolde" given worldwide (including the participating singers) in the chapter "Cast". Of course we know that we have gathered a small part of the information only; but as this is of central interest for us, we ask for your help!! Those of you, who want to go more in the details, are invited to visit the chapter "Texts": there you will find explanations, which localize the opera within its historical context and the development of music (in an easy-to-understand manner), and an overview about the term "Fach" with its various categories for the soprano voices, especially the "hochdramatisch" sopranos, where the score of Isolde belongs to.The literature about Richard Wagner, his music and his works, about opera and singing in general and about the history of music is countless: Within the chapter "Bibliography" we present those books, that worked as references for us, being mostly part of our personal library. There we have found the majority of the "Quotations" which refer to "Tristan und Isolde": sentences and opinions of people from the world of music, literature and culture in general, who share(d) our passion for this opera, its music and the role of Isolde. Similarly, in the chapter "Anecdotes" we show you situations about this serious work that are not so serious at all and always make us smile. Within the chapter "Miscellaneous" we show all that stuff, that didn't fit in the other chapters, but belongs to "Tristan und Isolde" somehow.
This project is developping continously and probaly will never come to an end, as long this opera is given on the stages all over the world. With time, we intend to write critical analyses about the interpretations of some singers and to present it here. Despite of all our efforts, to gather as many recordings of the Liebestod as possible, we know that we probably never will find all of them; within the chapter "Wanted" we list all those Liebestods which we didn't find yet, but kowing about there existence! From our interest in recordings arose that in photos and postcards: our collection "G&K" is growing steadily. The chapter "Acknowledgement" is dedicated to the people who share our interest and contributed to the collection - thank you again! A recommendable (as we think) selection of webpages can be found within "Links". And some information about us under "About us". Please contact us under "Contact" if you have comments, corrections, critics and - very important - new Liebestods, recordings of better quality as those presented, photographs, biographical data and improvements of the cast informations.If there is changing something on our website, or if we have interesting news for you, please look under the corresponding chapter "News".
We hope you enjoy our website! Have fun!