Tristan und Isolde
The finest exponents of Wagner tackle a sublime story of impossible love in a new production by Pierre Audi
After three weeks of rehearsals, Emily Magee, initially cast to interpret Isolde, has annouced with regret that she had to return to the United States for personal reasons. We warmly welcome Rachel Nicholls who agreed to replace her immediately.
Daniele Gatti musical direction
Pierre Audi staging
Willem Bruls dramaturgy
Christof Hetzer sets and costumes
Jean Kalman lights
Anna Bertsch video
Torsten Kerl Tristan
Rachel Nicholls Isolde
Michelle Breedt Brangäne
Steven Humes King Marke
Brett Polegato Kurwenal
Andrew Rees Melot
Marc Larcher A sheppherd, a young sailor
Francis Dudziak A steersman
Orchestre National de France
Chœur de Radio France musical direction Stéphane Petitjean
APPROXIMATE RUNNING TIME
1st part: 1h25 - Intermission: 40mn - 2nd part: 1h25 - Intermission: 30mn - 3rd part: 1h20
For a quick bite to eat during the first intermission (40mn), pre book a set meal online, by phone or at the box office, at the Theater or outside at the "Bar des Théâtre" (150m).
Tristan is a sublime fresco of impossible love and the perfect opera. In 1857 Wagner, leaving Siegfried in the deepest forest, interrupted the composition of the Ring cycle, to pursue his own personal quest. His passion for the young poet Mathilde Wesendonck and their adulterous relationship obsessed him night and day. Tristan and Isolde is the musical mirror of their passion and rarely has an opera acted as the foil for an artist’s personal life. Wagner’s desire to demonstrate his belief in absolute love pushed his art to its limits— in terms of tone, movement and erotic tension—where decisions are constantly postponed until finally death intervenes. Everything in Tristan is both very cerebral and very sensual. The pared down libretto is completely out of step with the practice of the time.
Wagner condenses diverse medieval sources to enable him to create the perfect setting for his own concept of mystical union. It is the highpoint of German romantic music because of its representation of the pain experienced in life itself. Tristan is an opera of the extremes, where everything is pushed to the limit and where harmonic audacity is ever present.
Although Daniele Gatti grew up listening to Verdi, he has been considered to be a first-rate Wagnerian for many years now, conducting at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (in a recent production of Parsifal with Jonas Kaufmann) and the Salzburg Festival. Torsten Kerl is one of the most sought after Wagnerian tenors of his generation while British soprano, Rachel Nicholls, is recognised as one of the most exciting dramatic sopranos of the moment. Together they will make a tragically passionate couple. Director, Pierre Audi, has earned a reputation for productions ranging from the baroque to the modern and he likes to be tested. After his Ring cycle in Amsterdam, he will now rise to the challenge of Tristan with his customary panache.