For the opening of the Lucerne Festival in August 2004, Claudio Abbado chose the emotion of a voice. The whole realm of the possibilities offered by the voice are here: the melodic side of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs and the operatic depth of the second act of Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, performed in one go.
On stage, shined a constellation of stars. First of all, the Lucerne Festival orchestra featuring world class soloists such as cellist Natalia Gutman or the clarinetist Sabine Meyer. The American soprano Renée Fleming opened the night with the Four Last Songs, the beauty of her sound and the modesty of her emotions offered a magnificent and refined vision of Richard Strauss's masterpiece. Tristan gathered the ideal casting with Violeta Urmana, Renée Pape and Mihoko Fujimara.
The brightest star of the night was surely Claudio Abbado who weaved a soft and silky orchestral fabric, together with tremendous solos. Despite the nimbleness of the interpretation, the dramatic expression of Abbado's Tristan is fiery.
Gala concert of the Lucerne Festival
Orchestre de l'ORTF, Georges Prêtre - Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris, Georges Sébastian
London Philharmonia Orchestra, Charles Mackerras