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Tristan & Isolde

Tristan und Isolde

WAGNER

SUMMER 2023

Introduction

From that puzzling first phrase, landing on the Tristan chord, Wagner’s late masterpiece weaves its magic. Epic – in every sense – it is one of the most extraordinary experiences, not just in the opera canon, but in western art. It is not surprising that the final act has induced heart attacks in a number of conductors.

Wagner wrote it while in temporary exile and enamoured with his mistress, Mathilde. The story – of the noble knight Tristan and his passionate love for Isolde, who has, alas, been promised to another, King Marke – reflects the composer’s emotional upheaval.

For this mighty undertaking, director/designer Charles Edwards creates a staging based on Wagner’s original set designs. Gwyn Hughes Jones takes the role as the ardent Tristan and Rachel Nicholls is the feisty Isolde.

An opera in three acts

Sung in German with English surtitles

Music: Richard Wagner

Libretto: Richard Wagner

First performance: 10 June 1865, Königliches Hoftheater und Nationaltheater, Munich

UK première: 2 July 1884, Covent Garden

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Cast & Creatives

TRISTAN, a Breton nobleman, adopted heir of Marke GWYN HUGHES JONES
ISOLDE, an Irish princess betrothed to Marke ∙  RACHEL NICHOLLS
BRANGÄNE, Isolde’s maidCHRISTINE RICE
KURWENAL, Tristan’s servant ∙  DAVID STOUT
KING MARKE, King of Cornwall MATTHEW ROSE
MELOT / SAILOR, a courtier, Tristan’s friend MARK LE BROCQ

CONDUCTOR ∙  STEPHEN BARLOW
DIRECTOR / DESIGNER ∙ CHARLIE EDWARDS

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