Bound in marriage against her will, princess Isolde resolves to end her life along with that of her enemy, the knight Tristan. But when a love potion is substituted for poison, the two are drawn into an all-consuming, obsessive love affair that destroys everything – and everyone – in its unstoppable path.
‘I am still looking for a work with as dangerous a fascination, with as terrible and sweet an infinity as Tristan,’ Nietzsche wrote of Wagner’s great tragedy. A story about longing and yearning, about an unresolved and unresolvable love, expressed in music that famously delays and denies us resolution until its very final bars, the opera still exerts the same fascination today. Reinventing the rules of harmony and shifting music’s centre of gravity, it remains one of the most influential works in the repertoire – a touchstone for all that has come since.
Robin Ticciati conducts a semi-staged performance of Wagner’s great love story, with a full orchestra on stage.