Christof Loy’s Olivier Award-winning production of Tristan und Isolde returns to The Royal Opera. Wagner’s intensely intimate opera tells the story of Tristan and Isolde, who long to escape together from the limitations of the everyday world – even if they can only do so through death.
The Irish princess Isolde is betrothed to King Marke of Cornwall but is in love with his nephew Tristan. On the journey to Cornwall, Isolde tries to kill herself and Tristan, but her confidante Brangäne substitutes a love potion for the poison, causing Tristan and Isolde to admit their feelings for each other. After Isolde’s marriage Tristan and she continue to meet secretly, until King Marke discovers their liaison. In his remorse at having betrayed his uncle, Tristan tries to kill himself – but cannot die until he has seen Isolde one last time. Christof Loy’s inventive staging uses a curtain to divide the prosaic world of King Marke’s court – here shown as an elegant dinner party – from the world of Tristan and Isolde’s transcendent love at the front of the stage.
The stellar cast features expert Wagnerians Swedish tenor Michael Weinius and German soprano Ricarda Merbeth making their Royal Opera debuts in the challenging roles of Tristan and Isolde. German bass Franz-Josef Selig sings King Marke and Romanian mezzo-soprano Ruxandra Donose makes her role debut as Brangäne. Danish bass-baritone Johan Reuter sings the role of Tristan’s confidant Kurwenal. Sought-after Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov, acclaimed for his interpretations of Lohengrin and Tannhäuser with The Royal Opera, returns to the Company to conduct Wagner’s daring and sensual score.
Tristan und Isolde opens at the Royal Opera House on 27 April 2020 at 5pm with subsequent performances on 30 April and 3 (matinee), 8 and 11 May 2020.