The season, day by day

back to calendar

Tristan und Isolde

Richard Wagner 1813-1883

Story in three acts
Libretto by Richard Wagner based on Gottfried von Straßburg
First performed June 10 1865, Hoftheater, Munich

Sung in German with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks, in German, in the Holzfoyer half an hour before performances begin

Tristan Vincent Wolfsteiner
Isolde Rachel Nicholls
King Marke Andreas Bauer Kanabas / Falk Struckmann (June / July)
Brangäne Claudia Mahnke /Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (June / July)
Kurwenal Christoph Pohl /Simon Bailey (June / July)
Melot Iain Macneil
Ein Hirte Michael Petruccelli°
Ein Steuermann Liviu Holender
Stimme Eines Jungen Seemanns Michael Porter

°Member of the Opera Studio

Thrown together by fate, unable to be united in life. They first met some time ago, when Tristan, badly wounded in battle, was nursed back to health by Isolde, even though he murdered Morold, her betrothed, and is her country's enemy. Now this Irish princess is being taken to marry King Marke of Cornwall, Tristan's uncle, to seal the peace. What sort of relationship can there be, which has no foundation? Where can a relationship lead, which is faced with the impossible from the very start? Is this impossibility itself a basic prerequisite for existential longing and abandon?

For Richard Wagner setting this middle ages story to music was the fulfiflment of a self declared need to »let himself go, with complete abandon and no consideration at all of theory«. He revolutionised harmony with his much discussed Tristan chord, laying the foundation stone for modern music: the tension of dissonance no longer, as the rules of harmony demand, resolved in consonance, but remains – as a question or answer in the midst of an emotional world which Wagner established between »the most extreme longing for bliss and all decisive longing for death«.