Tristan and Isolde
Libretto by the composer
Production from Opera Australia
Isolde, a beautiful Irish maiden with magical powers, is riding the high seas to marry her betrothed, the King of Cornwall. But first she must avenge the death of her former fiancé by killing Tristan, a dashing knight and nephew of the king. When the poison she concocts turns out to be a love potion, her vengeful ire and his bold betrayal are suddenly transformed into rapturous, unbridled passion. As the royal wedding approaches, Tristan and Isolde can only find comfort under cover of night. Yet even the darkness cannot hide their desires for long.
Well known to Washington audiences and Wagner aficionados, soprano Iréne Theorin brings her compelling portrayal of Isolde to a stunning production that celebrates the bicentenary of Wagner's birth with direction by Neil Armfield, who will also direct Opera Australia's first production of Wagner's Ring cycle later this fall. Conducted by WNO Music Director Philippe Auguin, and featuring an impressive international cast, Wagner's retelling of the beloved Celtic myth and its star-crossed lovers continues to enchant audiences across the globe.
Casting Update: Deborah Voigt, originally scheduled to perform the role of Isolde, has regrettably withdrawn from the production. Internationally renowned Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin will now sing the performances on September 15, 18, 21, and 24. British soprano Alwyn Mellor, making her WNO debut, will sing the final performance on September 27.
"Iréne Theorin delivered Isolde's final waves of sonic ecstasy in great lava flows of sound."
(Dallas Morning News)
Tristan: Ian Storey; Clifton Forbis (Sep. 27)
Isolde: Iréne Theorin; Alwyn Mellor (Sep. 27)
Brangäne: Elizabeth Bishop
Kurwenal: James Rutherford
King Marke: Wilhelm Schwinghammer
Conductor: Philippe Auguin
Director: Neil Armfield
Costume Designer: Jennie Tate
Lighting Designer: Toby Sewell
Performed in German with projected English titles. Titles may not be visible from the rear of the orchestra.
COME EARLY FOR FREE OPERA INSIGHTS
Musicologist Saul Lilienstein leads the Friday, Sep. 27 Opera Insight, starting 1 hour and 15 minutes before the performance and lasting 35–40 minutes. All other Opera Insights start 1 hour before the performance and last 20–25 minutes.
Informative and entertaining, Opera Insights take you inside the composer's mind, behind the scenes of planning a production, and into the history and social context of each opera.
These lectures are free, but patrons must present a ticket from any performance of Tristan and Isolde.
--Sep. 15 at 1 p.m.: Ken Weiss, music administrator
--Sep. 18 at 5 p.m.: Ken Weiss
--Sep. 21 at 5 p.m.: Andrew Jorgensen, director of artistic planning
--Sep. 24 at 5 p.m.: Andrew Joegensen
--Sep. 27 at 4:45 p.m.: Saul Lilienstein
STAY AFTER FOR A FREE ARTIST Q&A ON TRISTAN AND ISOLDE
Following this performance:
Sunday matinee, September 15
Join WNO artists for a unique opportunity to ask questions about the production.
All discussions begin immediately after the performance and are free with your ticket.
Performance Timing: Act I - 80 min.; Intermission - 25 min.; Act II - 66 min.; Intermission - 25 min.; Act III - 76 min. (4 hours, 35 minutes)