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Tristan und Isolde
Tue, 25. June 2019, 16:00

Opera in three acts (1865)

Music by Richard Wagner

Text by Richard Wagner based on the verse »Tristan« by Gottfried von Strassburg

Although Tristan once beheaded her fiancé, the Irish royal daughter Isolde saves the life of the hostile king of Cornwall’s nephew and falls in love with him. Although Tristan secretly reciprocates Isolde’s love, he is now accompanying her to carry out her forced marriage with King Marke simply out of a sense of duty. Deeply humiliated, she wants to put an end to her life as well as his. Because he wants to escape his feelings for Isolde, they both voluntarily drink a supposed death potion. Near death, they both confess their forbidden love for each other. But then, tormented by unfulfilled longing and desire for each other, both are forced to carry on living, wishing more than ever for unity in death...

Inspired by Schopenhauer’s philosophy, Richard Wagner adapted this medieval epic in the 1850s and created a musical score that put far more emphasis on the protagonists’ overwhelming emotions and streams of consciousness than any other opera before. By concentrating to the full on the innermost lives of the characters, who barely perform any actions, his almost symphonic-sounding music is able to unfold in a great, highly autonomous way. By means of pronounced chromaticism and advanced harmony, as well as by strict renunciation of formal caesura, Wagner creates an extremely erotic score, an »infinite melody« of ardent tensions. Like the constantly growing, all-consuming longing of the two lead roles, it urgently moves to an increasingly painful conclusion (or salvation), neither of which are actually granted.

approx. 5:25 h with two intervals