Concert review: Tristan und Isolde

Asher Fisch
The West Australian

I was not among those weeping in their seats. Neither was I among those who, having seen it the first night, immediately afterwards bought tickets for this Sunday performance. 
But I was there — and knew I was in the presence of greatness. We’re not talking about the opera. That Wagner’s four-hour epic of passion and renunciation, Tristan und Isolde, is a work of genius is self-evident. 
The medieval story of star-crossed lovers Cornish knight Tristan and Irish princess Isolde — the former Cornish King Marke’s loyal friend, the latter Marke’s unwilling betrothed — is timeless, while the music, which broke every rule in the book as Wagner strove for artistic and spiritual transcendence, is sublime.We’re talking about the performers.  
WASO principal conductor Asher Fisch is an acclaimed exponent of late-romantic Germanic repertoire and a devoted Wagnerian, whose Ring Cycle recording with the State Opera of South Australia garnered 10 Helpmann Awards. 
 Here, WASO responded to his every look and gesture with assurance and a passionate, almost erotic, intensity which bound strings, winds and percussion not just to each other but to the tumultuous journeys of leitmotifs and singers alike. There were also the many show-stealing individual contributions, such as Leanne Glover’s ravishing Act II cor anglais solo.