Richard Wagner (1813–1883)
Opera Tristan and Isolde (1859)
Opera in concert
Tristan — Andreas Schager
Isolde — Brigitte Christensen
Brangäne — Eve-Maud Hubeaux
Mark — Matthias Goerne
musicAeterna orchestra and choir
Conductor — Teodor Currentzis
Tristan and Isolde is Richard Wagner’s most peculiar musical drama, the epitome of Gesamtkunstwerk. The opera was written in 1859, but staged only six years later. “A work impossible to perform” was the verdict delivered by the Vienna Opera to Tristan and Isolde after several dozen rehearsals. Even now every production of this masterpiece presents a titanic feat for the director.
There is almost no external action in Wagner’s opera, yet the music is full of it. The attention of the characters, the composer himself and the audience is focused on the reverent, tantalizing, and frenzied feelings of two people. The libretto, which the composer turned into a Celtic legend, addresses the complex issues of philosophy and psychology contemporary to Wagner. The dark sides of human nature that cannot be put into words find a way out in the world of sounds.
The concert performance of Tristan and Isolde allows one to immerse themselves in the element of true action — the movement of thoughts and feelings, soul searching, explosions of passion, fits of despair, and the soaring of enlightenment in the finale.