I have recently bought the Frida Leider edition release of the excerpts from Frida Leider's two recorded Tristan und Isolde performances with Melchior in March 1933 and I just must write something about it.
After buying over 30 recordings of this most wonderful opera of all I thought that I had heard it and knew it, but after listening to Leider's live performance I have to say that nothing I have heard before can even compare to listening to Frida Leider's live performance. I have five performances with Flagstad and four with Nilsson and they all pale by comparision. Leider is the very embodiment of the doomed lover. Her liebestod is THE most staggeringly hauntingly beautifully sung and acted piece of music I have ever heard. The sound is truly bad, even worse than bad, but what you get if you get past the extremely bad sonics and noise is something that will haunt you for the rest of your life, the supreme Isolde of the 20th century making everyone that came after sound hollow and one dimensional.
Melchior is also really exceptional, but there are quite a few complete performances with him with Flagstad and Traubel in much better sound.
It can be ordered from the Frida Leider Gesellschaft at www.frida-leider.de
Has anyone else heard this most wonderful of all Tristan performances?