For my birthday, Koen bought special box tickets for Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde! Because it was opening weekend, there was also a 45 minute lecture before the opera began with dramaturge Luc Joosten, who went into detail explaining the history, development/inspiration, and theme. Koen and I both thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon and if you’re close to Antwerp or Ghent, you should definitely try to find tickets before it closes!
In case you’re unfamiliar with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, here is a synopsis from the Vlaamse Opera’s website:
“Tristan accompanies Isolde to her marriage to King Marke. But on the journey, a coincidence transforms the love that’s been simmering between them into a fiery passion. Once they reach land, it is clear that their relationship does not have a chance in this world. That is why they both seek refuge in the night and beyond life.
To evoke this otherworldly passion, Richard Wagner created a unique musical language that far exceeded the musical boundaries of his time. His composition balances on the limits of tonality and opened the door to a modern world of sound. The music allows Tristan and Isolde the space and intensity to be themselves. This is perfect material for ‘king of darkness’ Stef Lernous. Here, the artistic director of theatre collective Abbatoir Fermé will be applying his dark, grimy aesthetics to the great opera repertoire for the first time, daring to take on Wagner.”
The Prelude is especially moving. I had chills when the opera began! I think it’s most recognizable from Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, which used the piece in its opening sequence which you can watch here: Melancholia Opening Sequence