Tristan und Isolde
Conductor: Christopher Franklin
Music by Richard Wagner
Musical drama in three acts
Sung in German with surtitles in Italian and English
Director Guglielmo Ferro
Set designer Pierpaolo Bisleri
Costume designer Virginia Carnabuci
A new production by Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste
Characters & performers
|Tristan, nipote di re Marke||Bryan Register (7, 11, 14/IV)|
|Hans-Georg Wimmer (9, 12, 15/IV)|
|Marke, re di Cornovaglia||Alexey Birkus|
|Isolde, principessa d'Irlanda||Allison Oakes (7, 11, 14/IV)|
|Ana Petricevic (9, 12, 15/IV)|
|Kurwenal, scudiero di Tristan||Nicolò Ceriani|
|Melot, cortigiano di re Marke||Motoharu Takei|
|Brangäne, ancella di Isolde||Susanne Resmark (7, 9, 11, 14, 15/IV)|
|Daniela Denschlag (12/IV)|
|Giovane marinaio||Andrea Schifaudo|
|Un pastore||Dax Velenich|
|Un timoniere||Hitoshi Fujiyama|
|Marinai, cavalieri, scudieri.|
|L’azione ha luogo in mare ed in terra|
|di Cornovaglia e Bretagna.|
RUNNING TIME: ABOUT 4 HOURS AND 30 MINUTES
ACT ONE: AB. 75 MIN.
BREAK: AB. 25 MIN.
ACT TWO: AB. 60 MIN.
BREAK: AB. 25 MIN.
ACT THREE: AB. 75 MIN.
At sea, on the deck of Tristan's ship, during the crossing from Ireland to Cornwall.
Isolde is resting in a tent on the deck. Tristan is carrying her to Cornwall to marry his uncle king Mark. The princess orders her handmaid Brangäne to summon Tristan to pay her homage before landing, but he refuses to leave the helm he is steering. Kurwenal, the hero’s loyal squire, laughs at the handmaid’s insistence: Tristan has to pay no homage; he has killed Morold, the Irishman loved by Isolde, and now he is bringing the princess of Ireland in marriage to his lord. Then Isolde tells Brangäne her secret. One day she found on the shore a wounded man who told her to be Tantris, but later she realized he was Tristan. She was about to take revenge and had already raised her sward to kill the fake Tantris, when he looked at her with pleading eyes and so she could not slay him. She healed him with her magic potions and concealed her secret; then he was allowed to leave with the promise to never come back. But, betraying their pact, the man came back in great pomp under his real name of Tristan to ask the hand of the young princess of Ireland for his old uncle Marke, king of Cornwall. Isolde orders Brangäne to prepare the magic potions she received from her mother; she wants to avenge the wrong: she’s going to drink the death potion together with Tristan. When Kurwenal announces that they are close to the coast of Cornwall, Isolde tells him to call Tristan. The hero arrives and she accuses him of cowardice; she had healed him so that revenge could catch him in his prime. Tristan, pale and gloomy, offers his sword to Isolde so to clear the offence with death, but she rejects it: they will drink together the reconciliation potion. Tristan is aware that the cup is poison and yet he takes it. They both drink, but death doesn’t arrive: Brangäne has replaced death potion with a love one. Overwhelmed by a deep emotion, they look at each other in ecstasy; standing still, for a moment, they fall into each other’s arm, as the cries of the crowd announce king Marke’s arrival.
In Marke's royal castle in Cornwall.
A torch is burning at the door: Isolde tells Brangäne to extinguish it so that Tristan, at that signal, can rush to her. But the handmaid warns her to be cautious and to beware of Melot, king Marke’s knight, who has noticed the love looks they exchanged at their arrival in Cornwall. Isolde, remaining unmoved by Brangäne’s loving warning, catches the torch and extinguishes it. A growing love desire upsets Isolde. Tristan arrives and the two lovers throw themselves in each other’s arms, overwhelmed by a burning passion. Hopelessly embraced, they forget everything and long for annihilation in the oblivion of earthly things. Brangäne’s calling shakes their long ecstasy, since night is coming to an end. But the two lovers are deaf to the calling of both the desperate Brangäne and Kurwenal, who has rushed in begging Tristan to save himself. Melot and Marke break in. Tristan has betrayed his old king: he is not worthy of forgiveness. What is going to do Isolde? She will follow Tristan anywhere. Melot, jealous of his beloved Isolde, throws himself against Tristan who, severely wounded, falls into Kurwenal’s arms, while king Marke holds Melot from being pitiless towards Tristan further.
Tristan's castle in Brittany.
Kurwenal is attending Tristan, almost dying. In delirium and feverish half-asleep, the knight reminds of his childhood and of his war deeds; but his desire for Isolde bursts out more and more indomitable in his supplications. Kurwenal has sent a messenger to Cornwall to ask Isolde to get there as soon as possible. It’s a long wait: memories are still haunting Tristan. At last his beloved arrives, just in time to catch his last breath. She begs him to live: she will heal him and, after a mad night of love, they will die together. But Tristan can’t hear her passionate appeal anymore and Isolde, bewildered, falls over her lover’s corpse. Then Marke, Melot and Brangäne arrive with a group of soldiers. Kurwenal attacks Melot and kills him. Then he flings himself at king Marke, but he is killed in turn and falls by Tristan’s side, thus showing to be a loyal servant even in death. Brangäne tries to revive Isolde. Marke, informed by Brangäne about the mystery of the love potion, had come to join the two lovers in marriage, renouncing his rights on Isolde. But the woman, completely insensitive, murmurs sweet words on Tristan’s body and then dies, almost transfigured by a divine joy.