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- ...Boulez...conducted...Tristan only once...was in Osaka in 1967 on
tour with Bayreuth forces (but a local orchestra). It is available on
tape and CD...
"all his Wagner is not only mediocrely cast, but often the singers are
either indifferent to or ignorant of the meaning of what they're
singing, and of the pitch at which they are singing it" (Michael Tanner)
Hmmm, and there I thought McIntyre was one of the best Wotans I'd
heard. Tough shit Siegfried Jerusalem, Gwyneth Jones, Franz Mazura,
Hofmann, Altmeyer et al. Not only don't you know what you're singing,
but you're singing it off-key!
You can go off-pitch briefly, whereas off-key perhaps suggests something more consistently wrong, a whole phrase or passage. It's worth noting that in the full quote Tanner's specific example is the closing scene of Gotterdammerung, in other words Gwyneth Jones -- and her tendency to waver in pitch is no secret.
As for the other singers you mention, I find McIntyre's performance for Boulez much less impressive than when I heard him at Covent Garden, probably due to Chereau's insistence on playing Wotan as a brutal hypocrite. He sounds rough and vocally monochrome compared to Hotter or Schorr, which he did not elsewhere. Hofmann and Altmeyer are good, certainly, but not the absolute best, especially Altmeyer's way with words; and do they outweigh so many other turkeys in central roles, notably Manfred Jung's utterly miserable, inadequate Siegfried? And I'm afraid that though I've heard Franz Mazura many times, both live and on disc, he always sounded hoarse and leathery -- bearable in Lulu, but not Wagner. So while I'm always ready to disagree with Tanner, and have done so in print many times, here I feel he has something, even if he perhaps overstates his case.