Program booklet »Tristan und Isolde«

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TRISTAN UND ISOLDE Richard Wagner


CONTENTS

Synopsis

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When I talked to Mahler about Wagner → Philippe Jordan

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A Dream Poet → Interview with director Calixto Bieito

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Action and Drama → Nikolaus Stenitzer

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Radical Eroticism → Andreas Dorschel

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Madness and Betrayal → Eva Illouz

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TRISTAN UND ISOLDE → Action in three acts Music & Libretto Richard Wagner

Orchestra 3 flutes, 1 piccolo, 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 3 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, 3 kettledrums, percussion, harp, violin I, violin II, viola, cello, double bass Stage music Act 1: 6 trumpets, 3 trombones Act 2: 6 horns, 1 trombone Act 3: cor anglais, wooden trumpet Length 5 hours, including 2 intervals Autograph Nationalarchiv der Richard-Wagner-Stiftung, Bayreuth World première 10 June 1865, Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater München Première at the Wiener Hofoper 4 October 1883




SYNOPSIS

Act 1 At Sea The Irish princess Isolde is being brought to Cornwall by Tristan and his entourage. There she is to marry King Mark, Tristan’s uncle. The marriage was arranged to seal the peace between Ireland and Cornwall, who had been at war ever since Cornwall, being taxed by Ireland, revolted against Irish dominion. Isolde curses her fate. She does not respond to the anxious inquiries of her confidante and companion Brangäne. Instead, she demands to speak to Tristan. This is an order to an underling. Brangäne delivers this message to Tristan, but he declines, making excuses. His confidant Kurwenal however clarifies the situation: it is now Isolde who is the underling. He mockingly reminds her that Tristan has slain Isolde’s fiancé Morold in Combat. When Brangäne delivers this message, Isolde reveals her secret to her: Tristan is in fact »Tantris« who had once come to Ireland, severely wounded, to seek the help of Isolde as she is famed for her powers of healing. As she nursed him back to health, she came to realize that the sick man must be the murderer of her fiancé Morold. She decided to kill him, but ultimately spared him out of pity. Before his departure, restored to full health, her patient had pledged his eternal thanks and loyalty to her. Now she considers herself betrayed. She swears that they both will die. She asks Brangäne to prepare the death potion that her mother gave her before her journey, along with other remedies and draughts. She then demands again to speak to Tristan, averring she will not leave the ship until she does. When Tristan appears, Isolde accuses him of murdering Morold. She invites him to drink a potion of atonement with her. Tristan, who indicates that he knows what Isolde’s intention is, drinks the potion with her. The two of them instantly fall passionately in love with each other. The ship berths, and King Mark’s arrival is announced. In response to Isolde’s inquiry, Brangäne admits that she gave the two of them a love draught instead of a death potion. SY NOPSIS

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Act 2 In Cornwall Mark and his entourage have gone on a nocturnal hunt, and Isolde awaits Tristan. When Isolde urges Brangäne to extinguish the torch as a signal to Tristan, Brangäne warns her against it. She suspects that Melot plans to set a trap for the lovers. Isolde counters that Melot is Tristan’s closest friend. Brangäne reluctantly gives the signal, whereupon Tristan rushes in. Tristan and Isolde are rapturously reunited and dream of leaving the brightness of the day and sinking into eternal night, a love death. Kurwenal bursts in and urges Tristan to save himself. Too late: Melot ushers King Mark in and triumphantly pronounces the betrayal to the king. Mark asks Tristan for an explanation, but Tristan and Isolde cannot wrest themselves from their state of harmony. Tristan makes Isolde promise that she will follow him wherever he goes. Provoking Melot, who stands ready to fight, Tristan allows himself to be badly wounded.

Act 3

← Previous pages: Ekaterina Gubanova as Brangäne, Iain Paterson as Kurwenal, Martina Serafin as Isolde, Opera School of the Vienna State Opera, 2022

At Kareol Kurwenal watches over the mortally wounded Tristan, while a shepherd keeps a look-out for Isolde’s ship. When Tristan awakes, Kurwenal must remind him of recent events: he, Kurwenal, carried Tristan to the ship and brought him to the castle of his fathers, where he can convalesce. Tristan envisions himself between night and day, between death and life. Only the thought of Isolde keeps him bound to the world. Kurwenal reports that he has sent for Isolde, whereupon Tristan becomes elated and believes he can see her ship. He reacts to the negative response with dejection and thinks of his parents, who died when he was born. He believes his anguish and hardships stem from this circumstance. Finally, the shepherd gives the signal: Isolde’s ship has arrived. The news of her arrival fills Tristan with ecstasy. When Isolde finally enters, Tristan dies. Isolde despairs. Now King Mark’s arrival is also announced. Melot and Brangäne, who arrive soon after, try to calm the raging Kurwenal, but he kills Melot and dies shortly thereafter in a struggle with Mark’s entourage. Mark laments Tristan’s death. He declares that he had come to give Isolde in marriage to Tristan. Isolde is no longer listening to him; she approaches Tristan’s body with growing ardour and speaks in growing rapture. Finally, she collapses over the lifeless Tristan.

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SY NOPSIS


Philippe Jordan

WHEN I TALKED TO MAHLER ABOUT WAGNER

With Tristan und Isolde, Richard Wagner essentially created something like a new genre. This is why the work was – and is – regarded as revolutionary. A revolution in several aspects. It starts with the subtitle, “an action in three acts”. Wagner is no longer talking about a “romantic opera”, as with Der fliegende Holländer or Tannhäuser. He doesn’t describe Tristan und Isolde as a “festival drama” like Der Ring des Nibelungen, or a “sacred festival drama”, like Parsifal. He talks about a “drama”. Why? Because the opera is an inner drama, a drama of the soul. The dramatic action moves from the exterior world to the inner world, offering little concrete action, compared to – for PHILIPPE JOR DA N

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example – Der Ring des Nibelungen. Instead, there is an exploration of the changing states of mind, an analysis of the human inner being. The view is directed beneath the surface, behind actual deeds. This can admittedly only be done by focusing on the psychological aspect. A prime example is in Act III, just think of how Tristan in several monologues descends layer by layer into his unconscious – before him, there had been nothing like this in music theatre. And if we see how precisely Wagner pours these inner processes in his characters into music, how finely he does this, feeling the impulses of the being, this is an inner drama. A second major aspect is Wagner’s implementation of the idea of the “endless melody”. While the number opera had already been abandoned in Der Ring des Nibelungen – even though the individual scenes were mostly still clearly separated – in Tristan the concept of a single melody which leads from one to the next seamlessly was much more consistently implemented. We experience a constant swinging, surging, rising, movements which are not significant in themselves but are always linked with their past and future. A third key aspect is the harmony. While Tristan is still an absolutely tonal work, it nevertheless initiates the “crisis” of tonality, the dissolution of the traditional harmonic system, and points to a path which around 60 years later will lead to the end of the previously known structure. It is always necessary to remember that Wagner was not doing all this simply to try out something unusual, or to provoke. He was concerned with adequately expressing the inner core of being in music. The purposeful nature of these innovations is clear simply from the fact that Wagner was working on Die Meistersinger around the same time, and this piece is the opposite of Tristan. The two operas are like two sides of a coin. Tristan is the night, Meistersinger is day, Tristan the tragedy, Meistersinger the comedy, Tristan the harmony and chromaticism, Meistersinger the counterpoint and a lot of diatonicism. Naturally, the differences are never absolute, Tristan has counterpoint and Meistersinger has harmony. But the emphasis is on other aspects. So, what was the reason for these innovations, what is Tristan about? Tension, and refusal to resolve it. This is the actual subject. Because the story of Tristan and Isolde is not about love at all, but about the desire for love, the desire for death. If love had been fulfilled; that would have been the end of the tension. The unsatisfied desire is shown in the overture. This is written in A minor, foreshadowing, everything is pointing to it. Except that we never reach the A minor chord. Wagner builds something up which is never re­solved, creating constant tension. There are occasional cadences in this overture, but these end as deceptive cadences. At best, we hear A major, a sort of proxy. But the pending resolution never happens. What do we feel? Longing. The theme of the opera. The actual resolution – even though the individual acts each have their clear conclusion – comes right at the end, a B major final chord. The resolution is finally reached, and the tension ends at last. 7

W HEN I TA LK ED TO M A HLER A BOU T WAGN ER


A symbol of this longing so masterfully created by Wagner is undoubtedly the notorious “Tristan chord”. This first sounds right at the beginning of the opera, and demands resolution. In fact, Wagner did not invent the chord, and was not the first to use it – it crops up repeatedly in earlier works, such as Beet­ hoven’s slow movement in his piano sonata no. 5 in C minor or Schumann’s cello concerto. The big difference is that Wagner used the chord right at the start of the piece, and not somewhere in between, as a transition. Its position gives it a signal function, with special dramatic significance. The audience wonders what Wagner means by the chord, where is he going with it? Later, he used it repeatedly, for example in Götterdämmerung, when Siegfried appears as Gunther, or in Parsifal, when Kundry kisses Parsifal. You could almost say it became Wagner’s new favourite toy. However, what impresses me perhaps even more at the start of Tristan und Isolde is the combination of two motifs linked by this chord, the so-called “suffering motif” with the rising sixth in the cello and the chromatically rising “longing motif” in the oboe. Basically, we aren’t hearing a melody, but two motifs which merge. And here we have once again the endless melody, right at the start of the opera. This brings up the term leitmotif. As in the Ring, Wagner works with leit­ motifs, with the difference that Wagner works much more clearly and con­ cretely in the Ring – there’s the motif for the sword, for Valhalla and many others. In Tristan, it is more a question of concepts such as “suffering motif”, “longing motif”, “doom motif”, there is much more symbolism involved. In addition, the motifs resemble each other in part, are modified, take on something nebulous, atmospheric. I am certain that this is exactly what Wagner wanted, to emphasise the vagueness, focus on the intangible. The whole complex of the Tristan myth includes Wagner’s relationship with Mathilde Wesendonck. She was the wife of the rich merchant Otto Wesendonck, who gave Wagner significant support and let him and his wife Minna live directly beside his villa. A loving relationship developed between Wagner and Mathilde Wesendonck, although I don’t believe this reached the point of an affair. I think she brought out a great deal in him, that this was a meeting of souls, that she inspired him. This was the desire to break away from convention, from ties, from compulsion, which is what Tristan is also about. However, I am also deeply convinced that if the love of Mathilde had been consummated, the longing would have been lost which Wagner needed to write this opera in this way. Wagner was able to process all the missing (and missed) experience in his piece – but he could only do that as long as it was actually missing. Speaking of myths, Wagner was not only a unique composer, he was also a marketing genius who knew how to create and disseminate various legends about his works and himself. We know his comments on Tristan – “I have more and more difficulty understanding how I could have done something like PHILIPPE JOR DA N

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→ Next pages: Andreas Schager as Tristan, Martina Serafin as Isolde, 2022

this. I’ve gone far beyond the boundaries of what is possible.” This sentence naturally has a lot to do with the marketing I mentioned. Conversely, I do believe in his astonishment. How the miracle of creativity happens is a mystery to all artists. I personally like Gustav Mahler’s comment on the same subject very much – “I don’t compose, I am composed”. This expresses how processes can take over, leading to so much that the creator of a work can hardly explain. Given this, it’s entirely possible that Wagner started with an idea and the whole thing got completely out of control, in the best way. We should not forget that he originally planned Tristan as a small, easily performed piece – but instead this giant emerged. We should also look at the world première planned at the Vienna Court Opera, but given up after allegedly 77 rehearsals. Today, we might shake our head at this, but the work was simply incredibly difficult at the time. It’s enormously challenging even today! Just the string parts – these are violin concerti, no easier than for example the Sibelius concerto. If we think about this at a time when nobody expected anything like this, we can understand how strange, innovative and simply “unperformable” all this must have seemed, from the music to the technical aspects. When the first Tristan, Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, died shortly after the world première in 1865, a new myth arose: the one of the mortal danger of this opera. Many people think today of Joseph Keilberth, who died of a heart attack during a Tristan performance, exactly at the point of “So we should die together, to be inseparable for ever”. So, is Tristan dangerous? Is it something “terrible”, as Wagner wrote to Mathilde Wesendonck? Can it “make people crazy”? I must say that this opera can grip you very strongly emotionally. I’ve had moments in Tristan (and in Wagner generally) which deeply surprised me, to the point where I wondered what was happening to me. As a conductor you have to try even more than usual to keep a cool head, and a clear eye out, like the captain of a ship, which otherwise will inevitably run aground or land on the reefs. Finally, a last comment, strictly for the Vienna State Opera. When I was assistant to Daniel Barenboim with Tristan und Isolde many years ago, he told me: “If you’re in Vienna at the State Opera, go to the archives and look at Gustav Mahler’s Tristan score with his personal entries!” Now at last I had the opportunity. And it’s really very illuminating how cleverly Mahler adapted the dynamics of the very loud and densely instrumented score. Many of the adjustments he made are part of the tradition these days, and the individual details show very clearly how knowledgeably he was working. For example, if you look at a crescendo in Wagner, then it’s mostly for all the instruments. Mahler made a distinction, starting with the strings, then bringing up the woodwinds, and only then the brass. This makes the process more varied and diverse. Looking through his score, thinking about how he worked was not a look back at a past world of interpretation, but a memorable and exciting discussion with the genius of Gustav Mahler.

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Laura Holder → Last Try

OCEANS CRY UNTIL YOU SWIM AWAY


A DREAM POEM

Interview with director Calixto Bieito


Let’s start with the water that fills our stage. Water has so many possible associations – the rolling sea symbolizes prospects, and at the same time the sea stands for the uncontrollability of nature, something threatening. In Freud’s interpretation of dreams, water is often associated with fertility. What were the ideas that brought stage designer Rebecca Ringst and you to decide to conceive of the stage as an area of water? Niels Bohr said that “part of eternity is within reach for those who are able to look on the dizzying expanse of the ocean with­ out closing their eyes”. This is a lovely saying, but Rebecca and I wanted to talk about the inner sea, the “underwater” we humans have, in order to bring out the background of the characters. The water on the stage is meant to help think about this background, and it gives the audience scope for associations like the ones you describe. CALIXTO BIEITO

Richard Wagner sent a description of the overture to the opera to Mathilde Wesendonck, in which he primarily describes what Tristan and Isolde experience in their Act II duet – longing, losing them­selves in each other, melting into each other. He presents his work as a manifesto of Romantic love, including its closeness to night and death. What do you associated with the idea of Romantic love? If we go back to the Middle Ages, Romantic love has little to do with what Wagner is showing. In my understanding of the Romantic epoch, it’s a love that brings the people experiencing it to a point where death no longer plays a role. It’s also a love which is constantly fed by distance, impossibility and waiting. It’s the contradiction between sexual desire and the morals of a monogamous society which prevents realization of this attraction. It means going on and on until the bodies dissolve in death. Death is part of this love. It’s a tender, forceful, raging, visceral love where there is no way back. The walls have to be broken down. CB

Let’s talk about where love comes from.“Chosen for me, lost to me,” Isolde says about Tristan in Act I. When she talks about this way of being “chosen”, it could mean fate, but it could also be her own deliberate choice of Tristan. What’s your interpretation? And what do you think of the idea of fate? That would really need a long answer, but my view is that the goal is the place where we finally end up. No one can know with certainty what their fate is. The question is, how far are we in control of our fate? How does our fate affect our life, our actions and our environment? CB

IN T ERV IEW W IT H DIR ECTOR CA LI X TO BIEITO

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Tristan and Isolde consciously and unconsciously construct their last journey. Death is part of their way of loving, it’s an act of love. There are many, many examples in history of where death and love come together, and the fear vanishes because the love is so great. How many couples have wished they could die together, for various reasons? However, the metaphors of death are so complex that you wonder if they could be understood differently. “Broken free of the world, high above the world, the longing for eternal night where eternal, true rapture of love smiles on him”– would it be conceivable to under­ stand the metaphor of death as the desire of the lovers to withdraw from the world and society so they can concentrate on each other? You could interpret it that way, but I think that in Tristan und Isolde the love, the pain and the longing are so great that the desire for death and love merges. CB

Gottfried von Strassburg’s verse novel Tristan, that Wagner used as a basis, is full of stories. Through the stories about love and betrayal we learn a lot about the characters, Isolde’s rage, Tristan’s wiles, Mark’s jealousy. Wagner makes no use of most of the stories, and he has a very personal agenda for his characters, as we have dis­ cussed earlier. You’ve come up with your own stories, your own setting for the characters in the opera. It was very interesting to read Gottfried von Strassburg’s novel. But I wasn’t interested in the mediaeval or pseudo-mediaeval or abstract characters. I believe Wagner called his operas “music dramas or poems”. I think we’re working towards a musical poem. Where a small commu­nity, lost in the mist, in the night, in darkness, is trying to just carry on. The language Wagner created helps me to create a space of mystery where the characters dream, think and dream again, and we can discover the longings and wishes behind these words. A beautiful dream poem. CB

A dream poem – that recalls various associations from the visual arts, particularly Surrealist art, which you’ve talked about fre­ quently in rehearsals. I love Goya’s last paintings and the films of Buñuel, Catalan Surealism. I grew up with all that. It also means for me that art is a possibility of expressing dreams, the most intimate wishes, the unconscious, the water that is in all of us, where everything is possible. Art. Love. Hate. Death. CB

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A DR EA M POEM


Let’s get back to the characters in the opera. Isolde is the strongest character – she revolts against the marriage planned for her, she doesn’t give Tristan up, even challenges him. We can even describe the character Andreas Schager has created as an anti-hero. For me, today’s heroes are anonymous. Tristan isn’t as strong as Isolde – he was lost in the mist for a long time, that’s how I describe him. He’s afraid, and that makes him a human hero. CB

Brangäne and King Mark have their own stories in this production. I told Ekaterina Gubanova she should think of Renata for Brangäne, from Sergei Prokofieff’s The Fiery Angel. Generally, I had a relatively clear picture of Brangäne. She’s a special person, unique, living on the fringe of the community. She keeps the lighthouse on the coast. King Mark is a character whose stable and balanced footing has been shattered. He is lost, although he has felt secure all his life. His world has broken into a thousand pieces. CB

There seems to be a certain magic at work in your rehearsal space. Can you describe the creative process you’re following together with the singers? No. I try to prepare, to be a sponge that soaks everything up, and to do the creative work together with the singers. If I want to work, I simply write bad poems, draw or make installations. Like that. I rely on that. During the rehearsals I try to bring in creative generosity and take each rehearsal calmly, but at the same time as if it was the last. You see, the secret is that there is no secret. CB

Except for his early pieces, you’ve directed almost all Wagner’s works, Der Ring des Nibelungen is only missing because the project was held up by the COVID pandemic. What’s your personal connec­ tion with Wagner? It’s a link that formed early, when I was 14 or 15. My first mentor, Adan Kovasics, gave me Wilhelm Furtwängler’s recordings. I listened to them with my little brother. We listened to Wagner’s operas, we played heroes, we fought, ran through the house with paper gear and helmets we’d cobbled together. Sometimes we used the knight and cowboy dolls we → had to stage small dramas to the music. I love Tristan und Isolde. The text can Iain Paterson Kurwenal, be a fairy-tale if you like, but Wagner is like Shakespeare in speaking clearly as Martina Serafin as Isolde, 2022 of his time and his life. Nikolaus Stenitzer conducted the interview. CB

IN T ERV IEW W IT H DIR ECTOR CA LI X TO BIEITO

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A DR EA M POEM


Nikolaus Stenitzer

ACTION AND DRAMA

Calixto Bieito’s work with Wagner’s dramaturgic challenges


An “action” had emerged. This was the term Richard Wagner used in the subtitle at the end of the composition process. Wagner, the “total artist” and gifted self-marketer, was never casual in decisions about his works, naturally including subtitles like this. It expresses what is particularly shown in Act II. Wagner had made a further step in the development of his dramaturgy and presented an idea of what “action” on the stage can be. In Oper und Drama (1850/51) Wagner shows what he means by positioning his music dramas as “works of art of the future”. In his causative and dialectical concept of art, language developed out of a “maternal primeval melody”, lyrics from sounds. Linking lyrics and music in music drama would be a return to the roots, although not as a programme for understanding, but one of emotion. “If we want to describe the expression exactly which, as a unifying force would also permit a unified content, we describe it as one which communicates most appropriately to the emotions the most comprehensive intent of the poetic understanding. Such an expression is the one which includes the poetic intent in each of its moments, but which also hides it in each from the emotions – in other words, it fulfils it.” (Oper und Drama VI.) It is important that the “real drama” which Wagner developed as music theatre emerged “organically” in the artist, but was absolutely rooted in the past which collected the “fine extract of life” in the artist which can then give rise to the seed of the future work of art. There are two implications here. The first is that the true artist – Wagner – has the link to the past which allows him to become the future artist. This philosophy of history with its necessary link to the “primeval melody” makes it impossible for him to reject e.g. Meyerbeer’s works serenely as unsuccessful or outdated art. Meyerbeer’s “mistake” must be “objectionable” to him, because it does not show these “organic roots”. What this means is clear enough. Second, the challenge Wagner posed himself is particularly evident in Tristan und Isolde. “The real drama is no longer influenced by anything external, it’s an organic process of being and becoming which develops and takes shape from its inner influences on the individual, and, for the purposes of the required contact with the external world, on the need for understanding of its message, as it is and as it emerges, but which gains comprehension by springing from the innermost needs to deliver the most enabling expression possible of its content.” (Oper und Drama VI.) The requirement for Tristan und Isolde was to make the link “under­ standable” between the story from Gottfried von Strassburg’s verse novel Tristan with the expression of emotion, although this in turn was based on a philosophical agenda. What Wagner wants to convey in his “drama” is not the gripping story of love and intrigue that Gottfried von Strassburg wrote, but the idea of the “all-consuming” love that he developed from his exploration of Schopenhauer and influences from Plato to Buddhism. 19

N IKOLAUS ST EN ITZER


Tristan und Isolde, the “action” that Wagner gave “symphonic dimension” to is a dramatization of these philosophical ideas at decisive – and extended – points. The duet between Tristan and Isolde in Act II is the key point, whose content could no longer be avoided according to the prevailing rules of dramatic art. This is why Wagner had to come up with something else, with the associated consequences for staging. In his three acts, Tristan and Isolde present different dramatic figures. Particularly in the first act, Wagner operates in masterly style with the “external action”. After the overture, the act begins with atmosphere and tension. The seaman’s solo is coded in archaic style, the aria evokes the lonely setting on the sea. Isolde’s entrance takes us in brilliantly dramatic manner into the heart of both the action and the character. The princess is raging, feels mocked, curses her fate. In Wagner’s complex language, reaching for the “primeval melody”, fragments of Isolde’s history and brushstrokes of her character emerge immediately at this specific point in her life: Degenerate race! Unworthy of your ancestors! Where, mother, did you give away the power of ruling over sea and storm? Tame art of the sorceress reduced to brewing cures! Arise in me again, bold force, here in my breast where you laid concealed! Isolde is cursing what she describes as decay – loss of power, in this case loss of magical power. A little later, she describes the geopolitical difficulty of her situation. She, the heiress to Ireland, is to be married to the “vassal Cornish prince”, who is also described as the “weary king” – an interesting detail, because this paints Mark as lacking appeal for Isolde, long before he appears. The Irish princess is quickly covered in words and music. Wagner builds up the tension with her stubborn demand to see Tristan. Other important figures appear in the conflict. Brangäne, concerned for “her lady” also shows a certain lack of understanding for Isolde’s problems, showing that not all social conventions have been abandoned – from her point of view, the marriage with Mark is a gain, and Tristan, who Isolde accuses of cowar­ dice is a “peerless hero”. As such he is also celebrated by Kurwenal and the assembled team with the “hero motif”, which is also a song of mockery aimed N IKOLAUS ST EN ITZER

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at the defeated Morold, Isolde’s betrothed – and so at her as well. Kurwenal is at least briefly introduced as a confident victor, who declares Isolde to be a subject, representing the change between Ireland, the former colonial power, and the rebellious Cornwall. And the hero himself? He is restrained and repeatedly declines the invitation to speak and the order to do so; it is virtually impossible to ignore the connection between his reticence and Isolde’s urging. The resolution comes in the form of an allusion to Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan, although remotely, as Wagner changes the meaning here as well. Nevertheless, the flashback in which Isolde describes her first meeting with Tristan is an extended narrative with which Wagner skilfully integrates the backstory of his piece into the action. The difference is the metaphysics of love that Wagner adds. Isolde knew everything, but didn’t kill Tristan as planned, because “he looked into my eyes” – she spares him out of sympathy, although she had already admitted that Tristan was her “chosen one”, that she feels the meeting is fateful. This also explains her rage. It is not snobbery but Tristan’s assumed betrayal of love that makes Isolde so restless and makes Tristan appear so helpless on the other side. Here, Wagner makes a decisive difference from Gottfried’s Tristan. There, lies are told and integrated constantly and casually for personal benefit, including on the love affair between Tristan and Isolde, which is directly and clearly described as a sexual relationship. Wagner’s agenda differs strongly from other versions of this material. The love potion is for him the screen he can project his concept of love on. And this concept, this philosophy cannot emerge from mutual conversation, or even stage action. In Act II, the external action of Tristan’s entrance is almost completely static, the emphasis shifts to the inner drama. As Carl Dahlhaus says, the action does not develop in dialogue between the characters, but “within them, as a joint inner process”. A “joint inner process” as “drama” is a dramatic tour de force, not only on paper. The two leading characters literally merge in their encounter; even before they start to complain – not in unison, but in agreement – on the imposition of the day as a counterpart of the “eternal night of love”, they literally merge in their antiphonal duet whose ecstatic exclamations are ultimately interchangeable. The fact that in one of the first rehearsals of the new Vienna production in early 2022 Andreas Schager as Tristan involuntarily and without noticing it began to sing Isolde’s part, perfectly if an octave lower, would probably have delighted Wagner as composer and librettist. Wagner intended to compose the inner drama as a completely symbiotic union of two people. Apart from the anecdote, the duet in Act II is suitable for arousing “postdramatic” fantasies for the music theatre. The long decisive scene in which the action is presented not in dialogue and staged events, and not even in 21

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action “frozen” in a musical number, but in sung symbiosis could arouse associations with Jean-François Lyotard’s idea of a “theatre of energies”, a theatre of “forces, intensities, affects in their presence”, differing from a theatre of meaning. The merging of Tristan und Isolde could be thought of in these terms. If the author and composer leaves a drama in which he intends to make an important part of the merging of the two main characters understandable, might it be conceivable to merge the characters correspondingly in the vocal parts? Exchanging parts, transposing them to reassign them, perhaps even between more than two singers? Tristan und Isolde sung by an entire chorus of “creatures of the night”? A staging which aims at interpreting the music drama as it stands in the score has to find other solutions for the most difficult place in the “drama”. This means finding staging for a duet lasting forty minutes which consists of a philosophy of love tending towards death. Calixto Bieito likes to use visual material which he collects with his set designer Rebecca Ringst as an aid – visual arts, photograph, film. The inspiration is images which are intended to lead to more and different images. On the stage, these images create abstract forms, but also highly concrete potential associations. Bieito has described the water on the set of the Tristan stage as an “inner sea” of his characters, a symbolic surface for the possibilities and transformations of the psyche. However, at the same time he talks about very concrete scenery, a community on the coast, by the sea, in the fog. Brangäne in particular evokes these associations. Lars von Trier’s earlier film Breaking the Waves was an influence here – at the atmospheric level, not in terms of content. The characters have stories, families, marriages which fail or have failed, obstacles to the desire to be together. Bieito is not always specific here, and appreciates the possibility of leaving the audience options for their interpretation. In the second act duet, the potentially “postdramatic” place, Bieito has found dramatic solutions. These come from the material that the place offers, and ultimately even from the circumstance that keeps Tristan and Isolde in the limits of the (music) drama. The voices of the two creatures of the night can alternate, overlay each other, can symbolize the “and” in “Tristan and Isolde”. They remain two voices, separated as long as they live. Calixto Bieito stages this separation and the despair it induces in Rebecca Ringst’s set of spaces. The two spaces that separate them have traces of a past or present which have to be set aside; but even this change is not enough, the spaces have to be overcome. This can only mean death, and Wagner’s score leaves no doubt of this. “Tristan I, Isolde you” and vice versa is not an opportunity for dissolution of multiple identities in free discourse, but a fantasy of a world beyond. A fantasy which, as we know, does not find fulfilment immediately N IKOLAUS ST EN ITZER

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– there is a reason why it remains conditional. “So we would die to remain united…” – initially, it is only Tristan who nears death. The separation has to continue. Calixto Bieito stages this as well. The “action” consists of cords between the protagonists which lead them towards and away from each other. This acts as an abstraction as well as concrete “action” by and between people. Both are reflected in the water that the characters in Calixto Bieito’s Tristan und Isolde wade through.

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Laura Holder → Attempt at Leaving

YOU COME AND GO IN WAVES I TRY TO STAND UP TO THEM INSTEAD I DIVE IN



Andreas Dorschel

RADICAL EROTICISM

An act of violence is the basis for Richard Wagner’s story of the love of Tristan und Isolde. Tristan killed Isolde’s betrothed, Morold. Consequently, Tristan was in Isolde’s hands – she could revenge Morold. But “He (Tristan) gazed into my eyes, his wretchedness tormented me” (Act I, scene 3). He, whose wretchedness torments someone, is the object of sympathy. Arthur Schopenhauer, whose main work Wagner was enthusiastically rereading while working on Tristan und Isolde, said: “All true and pure affection is sympathy or compassion, and all love that is not sympathy is selfishness.” (The World as Will and Representation, I.4.) But at the point where Isolde speaks of Tristan’s look, Wagner’s music knows better than Schopenhauer and better than his own word of lament suggests. It is music not of sympathy, but of an enraptured yearning. It is not true that musical expression must always be vague, or that it is only a matter of subjective feeling. Wagner’s music specifically, as here at the word “eye” is unambiguous where it wants to be, and only ambiguous where it is supposed to be ambiguous. A N DR EAS DORSCHEL

← Previous page: Martina Serafin as Isolde, 2022

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Love and death Due to its expressiveness, Tristan und Isolde is a work of radical eroticism. By virtue of its radical nature, Wagner’s drama is without an equal in four centuries of the works of the European theatre. In terms of impact, how­ ever, one might match it, and possibly exceed it – Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The love of Romeo and Juliet fails in the face of external opposition; the conflict between the Capulets and the Montagues and a fatal misunder­ standing leads to death. Without these, their love could flourish in Verona. By contrast, the politics Mark and Melot are driving and which Tristan was also involved in once is merely an external circumstance for the love of Tristan and Isolde. Their love involves an inner contradiction, and whe­ ther it fails or is fulfilled as a result is a question that arises in the twilight where day and night meet. The love of Tristan and Isolde lies in an inner contradiction because and as long as they belong to both the world of the day and the world of the night. This inner contradiction is the sole explanation why the drama, whose final phrase consists of the one word “unconscious” (Act III, scene 3) and which celebrates “oblivion” in the love duet (Act II, scene 2), takes its protagonists through all the depths and shallows of conscious perception and painful recollection. Love that fails in the face of external opposition can move; however, a poetic process that presents love in this way is not radical. Only something which comes from the roots (Latin: radix) can be this. The eroticism of Tris­ tan does both. It comes from the root of individual existence and attacks this. The erotic pressure consumes itself, because – as the composer puts it in his explanation of the Tristan overture – “everything achieved merely leads to new longing”. This sentence of Wagner’s comes from metaphysics, not psychology. If love, in accordance with its inner ambition, is to be unconditional and unlimited, then it cannot be fulfilled in a finite life, for example in marriage – and this points it to death. However, the fact that radical eroticism leads to death is not assumed in the poetry of Tristan, but made conscious through a convoluted path, not least in opposition to Isolde’s piercing doubt that a death from love could also be a death of love (Act II, scene 2). This is what she asks in the dialectical argument that Wagner, in the face of all the conventions of music theatre, uses to interrupt the so-called love duet in Act II. Isolde’s doubts fade, whether due to Tristan’s response or in the aware­ ness that love is remote from all reasons for and against. Ultimately there is no way in Tristan that the pressure for resolution is not the opposite of love but its own core. Wagner himself felt this was so unreasonable that after Tristan, this rejection of human community in favour of human isolation, he had to tackle the question of how living together is conceivable in his further works. 27

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Since ancient times, the two ways to think of human community in Europe have been politics and ethics. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg are Wagner’s politics, the design for order between conflict and piece in the polis, the city of Nuremberg. At the end, Wagner’s ethics, based on sympathy, culminate in Parsifal. Both pieces are rich in references to Tristan. They cannot ignore its radical nature, precisely because they – and particularly Hans Sachs and Parsifal – have to escape from it.

Pleasure and pain The desire to escape from radical eroticism is also present in the drama of Tristan und Isolde – in fact, it is the subject of Act I. The basic motif here is avoidance (explicitly called this in scene five by Isolde) – avoidance of yourself, avoidance of someone or other. This is why Wagner sets this act on a ship. In a world circumscribed by water, people are no longer able to escape from each other in any of the dimensions. On their journey from west to east, they are equally open to examination. And examination is the start of what will emerge in Tristan as “action”. The drama starts lyrically, and almost simply – or so it seems. “Heard as from a height, as from the masthead” the song of a young sailor sounds: Westwards the gaze wanders, eastwards the ship flies. The wind blows fresh towards home. My Irish child, where are you now? Are these your sighs that fill my sails? Blow, wind! Woe, my child! Irish child, you wild, adorable child! (Act I, scene 1) The song, like the shepherd’s song in Act III, seems naïve, but is still subtle. T. S. Eliot knew why he quoted from these verses in The Waste Land (1922). The poet was following here the maxims of Baudelaire, an admirer of Wagner, to pay attention to apparent, marginal incidentals (Wagner’s young sailor never appears on stage). What seems so harmless, in fact plumbs the depths of the drama. A N DR EAS DORSCHEL

→ Andreas Schager as Tristan, René Pape as King Mark, 2022

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The ship sails eastwards, to the English coast, crossing the east wind blowing to Ireland, where the young sailor left his beloved, and where he is gazing longingly. The look guides the emotion, the ship is a thing. The two, emotion and thing, are heading in opposite directions. And now the fantasy enters into it, a male fantasy, if you want. Are they perhaps her sighs filling the sails for him? In his fantasy, the young sailor calls on the wind to blow so he can feel his lover’s breath. But like all male fantasies, this idea is a contradiction. At the same moment, the young man realises that this will just take him further from her, and his “Blow, wind!” turns to the complaint “Woe…!” which he directs at his Irish maid, left behind. The word “wehe” (blow/woe) captures the ambiguity of love, linking desire and suffering, togetherness and separation, ultimately life and death in an inseparable unity. And Isolde’s misunderstanding in applying the last words of the song, “Irish girl, you wild, adorable girl!” to herself is correct, in a deeper sense, because it will be fulfilled for her in the inner contradiction of love. At the start of Act I, scene two, the song of the sailor can be heard again, but without the last two verses, so that the “Woe, oh woe, my child!” appears directly as a reference to Isolde’s pain. In a few verses, the song of the young sailor moves from an external view, sweeping the horizon, to an inner view, the “woe”, the deeply felt pain. What makes the eroticism of Wagner’s Tristan radical is the fact that emerges in the further course of the drama, that its subjects, to use an expression of Friedrich Rückert, “lose the world” in order to escape their own situation. Tristan and Isolde forget everything that is important to the society that they seem to belong to, after they’ve drunk the love potion. This is not the cause of their love, and, as a love potion, not the reason for their forgetting the social conventions. Because Tristan and Isolde already loved each other, since meeting in Ireland. The potion is significant not as a love potion, but simply because Isolde and Tristan think it is deadly potion, and in the belief that they will die, they now admit their love of and to each other, which they previously had to keep silent.

Night and day The prospect of death draws the teeth of convention, in a curious way. After drinking the potion, Tristan asks what he had dreamed of his honour, which Isolde replies to by asking what she had dreamed of her shame (Act I, scene 5). The day, as the realm of the world, and not the night becomes the setting for a deceptive dream. The significance of the music of the hunt at the start of Act II is also that Tristan and Isolde are surrounded by relationships between others, general social relationships as well as personal ones, but which their A N DR EAS DORSCHEL

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love rejects the reality of in favour of the only thing that matters to them, Tristan for Isolde and Isolde for Tristan. This is why Isolde ignores the sounds of the hunt along with Brangäne’s warnings. Tristan does not blow off Mark’s reproaches – they don’t reach him at all. In their night, Tristan and Isolde are remote from good and evil, sacred and profane. Their drama, which plays out in mediaeval Christianity, is the only one of Wagner’s libretti where the word “god” never appears. And yet even the atheist vision of this drama becomes a prayer in Tristan and Isolde’s night song: Descend oh, night of love, bring oblivion that I may live; take me in your bosom, shelter me from the world! (Act II, scene 2) Where the “Our Father” asks for us to deliver us from evil (Matth. 6:13), Tristan and Isolde ask the “night of love” to deliver them from the world. This deli­ verance means nothing more than reducing the world to a phantom. What constitutes reality for Mark, Brangäne, Melot and Kurwenal, is mere semblance for Tristan and Isolde. This takes it most radical form in Act III. Here, Tristan and Isolde say hardly anything that would seem clear to the other. They talk only of the inmost things; external things their words seem to be describing, Tristan’s “world of night” or Isolde’s “clouds of fragrance and “sea of delight” are merely metaphors for the inmost feelings. This relationship appears to relate only to the content of the drama, but takes on its form entirely. A dramatic treatment has never been integrated in such a way into the inner space of a virtual absence of action as it is in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The author pulls together the external actions into processes which can be expressed in just a few words. With this compression, he creates the rich inner drama as the actual space. This virtually inverts the relationship between the two, compared with conventional theatrical dramaturgy. Inner drama does not interrupt the action, and instead the abrupt flurry of action at the end of a scene or an act appears as a brief interruption of the ongoing stream of consciousness. In this way, subjective and objective time, unevenly weighted, contrast with each other. However, the subjective time of the individual awareness is finally and inadequately faced with the demands of a love that seeks to be unbounded. And this leads to the most radical consequence of the radical eroticism of Tristan und Isolde. 31

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Two and one Wagner demands two insights from his protagonists in Tristan und Isolde. The “world” that the lovers reject in their inner feelings is primarily a collec­ tion of external objects, ships, fortresses, towers, weapons and all sorts of other things which are useful for various purposes, but particularly for keeping personal power and amassing even more power. Fame and honour serve such power as decoration. By contrast “to live for love alone” (Act I, scene 2) – and this is the first stage in the task set – means that you are no longer interested in such goals. The lover is only concerned with the beloved, and this renders such goals and their physical assets to insignificance. This may be radical enough, but Tristan’s eroticism is even more radical. It “troubles” (Tristan himself uses the word in Act II, scene 2) not merely by the fact that things are perceived as manifold, but even by the plurality, the duality that seems to be the absolute basis – Tristan and Isolde. This is the other side of the metaphysical theory of the drama. The fact that they, Tristan and Isolde, two individuals, see their radical love as an obstacle. This second idea is much more disturbing than the first. Because in Jon Deathdridge’s words, this makes Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde the “love story to end all love stories”. If love is a relationship, as the world says and believes, a love in which there is no longer one individual facing another, is simply nothing. But if the world’s criteria no long apply, as with Tristan and Isolde, then such a love is – everything. And so they long to be united. This longing leads to the action of the drama, from the first act, through the second to the third. At first, Tristan and Isolde are not united, they grapple with the insight that they need to be, they approach this condition, are forced out of it, but without losing the insight. They finally reach the condition in an enlightenment in which all other differences including the difference between reality and fantasy disappear. The words Wagner uses to describe this enlightenment ultimately replace verbs in the first person by infinitives, which grammatically suspend the system of personal pronouns (“to drown, to founder”, Act III, scene 3). “How softly and gently” – this ending culminates in a lyric without a lyrical first person, and yet this was the lyric at the start, the song of the young sailor. In an unobtrusive and remote reference to his “wafting”, the whole world is now described as “breathing”. The other meaning the word had at the beginning, of pain, is avoided here, as Wagner sets the final chord → without the cor anglais, the instrument of the “sad path” of Act III.

Next pages: Andreas Schager as Tristan, Martina Serafin as Isolde, 2022

In the heaving swell, in the resounding echoes, in the breath of the world A N DR EAS DORSCHEL

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consuming all, to drown, to founder, unconscious – the ultimate rapture! (Act III, scene 3) The view from the masthead across the Irish sea at the beginning has now expanded to the universe. But this is not the visible firmament, in fact no­ thing visible at all. The two perspectives initially spoken of, the worldly and the worldless, day and night, part at the end of the drama as those of the eye and the ear. On stage we see two corpses, lying on each other. “Isolde sinks as if transfigured in Brangäne’s arms gently on Tristan’s corpse.” (Act III, scene 3) But in the language of metaphysics, this is mere appearance. Being still has the “resounding echoes”. The music conveys unity instead of duality in its final chord.

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Eva Illouz

MADNESS AND BETRAYAL

Variations of love in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde


Tristan and Isolde is one of the great romantic myths of Western civilization. The Cornish Knight Tristan must take the Irish Princess Isolde to his Lord, the King Mark, who will betroth her. But they drink (half by mistake and half by design) a love potion which destines them to fall in love and betray King Mark. In some versions, the effect of the potion wanes, they come back to their senses but freely chose to love each other again. In other versions, the potion lasts a life time. Wagner’s opera is distinctive in two respects: prior to the beginning of the action, Isolde has fallen in love with Tristan. She first healed his wounds when he was mortally wounded in the combat with her own fiancé, Morold, and came to her for help, disguised as Tantris. Upon recognizing him, she wants to slay him, but she looks at his eyes and falls in love with him (Isolde, Act I, Scene I: “Chosen for me, lost to me”). But Tristan has not only slain her fiancé, he also betrays his word when he comes back to take her to marry his Lord and uncle Mark. It is no wonder that the Opera opens with Isolde’s all-consuming rage. Tristan has taken away the life of someone dear to her, duped her and betrayed her. So deep are her distress and fury that she intends to kill herself and Tristan. The famous potion of love was initially meant to be a potion of death. Their love then starts through a cascade of conflicting motives, through deaths, both real and wished-for, through Isolde’s healing powers and care which brought Tristan back to life, through Isolde’s revenge and rage. It also starts with Tristan’s betrayal. In fact, the Opera starts and ends with Tristan’s two betrayals (we can only wonder if Wagner, who was writing the libretto under the influence of his having fallen in love with Mathilde von Wesendonck, knowing his wife was heartbroken, was letting his guilty conscience express itself ). The potion then is at once enabler and the seal of a fateful destiny. The servant Brangäne understands this when she realizes that the love potion will not be that different from the death potion: it will bring, she says, “Inescapable eternal misery.” Both Isolde and Tristan will remain the prisoners of Tristan’s betrayal to the courtly political order binding a knight to his Lord. The love potion is thus curiously close to the death potion, perhaps revealing what Denis de Rougemont had already observed about romantic love, namely that there is an affinity between the romantic love complex and death. Why is that? Isolde’s love starts as a highly ambivalent one, mixing hate and love for Tristan. Despite the indignities and wounds he has inflicted upon her, she cannot help loving him. But she also cannot help hating him, despite her love. She hates him all the more that she loves him. Ambivalence, for Freud, is the elementary condition of love. Interestingly enough, the effect of the potion is to erase this ambivalence and to transform it into an undiluted love, made mostly of longing. Wagner’s use of harmonic suspension makes us, the liste­ners, experience with the couple the pure delight of love and the pain of their incessant separation, longing and striving for reunion. In a summary 37

EVA ILLOUZ


of the Prélude to the opera, Wagner wrote that after drinking the love potion: “[T]here was no End to the longing, craving, delight and misery of Love: World, Power, Glory, Reputation, Chivalry, Friendship, everything dissolved like a bodiless dream, only one thing remaining: Longing, unsatiable longing that keeps re-begetting itself, thirsting and languishing, only redemption: death, dying sinking, no-more-awakening!” What the potion (and the myth of Tristan and Isolde) erases then is the fundamental experience of ambivalence. It erases the true history of love: the fact that we wish to destroy the person we depend on and we are so vulnerable to. That we hate the person who can hurt us. Desire (that is, the potion) is the route taken by our psyche in order to forget this dependence and this fundamental ambivalence. In many love stories and particularly in this myth, the lovers often become deprived of agency. Who is in love exactly? People in love feel exalted, they live on a higher plane, yet, in a long Western (and Arab) tradition, it is as if the lovers were dispossessed of their true self. They are either not themselves or altogether mad, as if possessed by a foreign spirit. In Antiquity, the God Cupid (or Eros) notoriously ran mischief through human affairs, by using his arrow on people, throwing it arbitrarily on people, mocking people’s reason and self-control (wonderfully recaptured by the Shakespearian Puck). Ever since then, love seems to have condensed a powerful paradox: it frees the most vital part of the self, it augments our very existence, yet it negates our ordinary self. This is why the question of the autonomy of the loving person has run through a vast poetic, philosophical and literary corpus. But where in Antiquity this loss of reason and identity was often comic, the Wagnerian potion here shows the tragic trajectory of such dispossession. The Wagnerian pair of lovers bears no joy, their love is not jubilatory, it seems to exist in the empty space of their longing. Philosophers like Simone de Beauvoir (in her The Second Sex) and later Alain Badiou (in his Eloge de l’Amour), somewhat dismissed the love between the famous pair because it is a love of the fusional and symbiotic type. Alain Badiou concurs: for him a love that aims to fusion and symbiosis, can in fact only end in death. It is obliged to exclude the outside world and when that outside world erupts, it must end. But that is hardly the case because their separation is inscribed in their love from the beginning and because their love is one of separation rather than fusion. Their love is nothing but a prolonged state of what Jacques Lacan called the lack, a deficit of being manifest in a state of perpetual desire. While this deathly love between Tristan and Isolde is what theorists and poets (and Wagner himself ) focused on ever since the Opera was first staged, at the emotional centerpiece and the vortex of the Opera we find an utterly → different sort of love that tends to be overlooked or underrated: The one that Next page: builds the friendship of Tristan and Mark. When he discovers the pair, Mark’s Ekaterina Gubanova as words are heart-breaking: Brangäne, 2022 EVA ILLOUZ

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“Mark (deeply affected) This to me? This, Tristan, to me? Whither has loyalty fled now that Tristan has betrayed me? What price now honour and honesty, now that the champion of all honour, Tristan, has lost it?” The King Mark (Wagner) does not rest and hammers at us over and over again his pain and his agony: “Why the reputation of honour the power and greatness which you won for King Mark? Did the honour and renown, greatness and power, the services beyond number, have to be repaid by Mark’s dishonour?” Mark repeats to Tristan all the ways in which he loved him and has given him his trust, protection and love. In an honor society, as Wagner’s Germany certainly was still, to lose one’s honor was to lose one’s entire social existence. Mark’s words are not those of a man possessed by sexual jealousy but rather the words of someone of love and friendship betrayed. Tristan betrayed one love for another. And thus the end of Tristan und Isolde compels us to ask today: is love indeed that mad and maddening feeling which not only distracts us from our duties and roles, but makes us sometimes betray who we are and hold dear? Thus formulated the mythology has an enduring power as it articulates the seduction of transgression, the fantasy of an individual power over social and political order, the sublime and destructive power of non-utilitarian passion. But this sublimity demands that we be expelled from ordinary life, that we become literally someone else. This is why it seems to me that culturally we have already moved away from that narrative of love as a passion that transforms us radically and even destroys our lives. Neither destructive, nor sublime, we have entered in the era where love is tailor-made to suit to the economy of our psyche, to meet our goals, to serve the King and our sexual desires. Tristan and Isolde seem like the distant echo of an era of duels and love suicides. We need, more than ever, to keep their passion as a horizon, but we need also to remember that Mark’s love is no less filling and fulfilling than Isolde’s.

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M A DN E S S A N D BET R AYA L



Imprint Richard Wagner TRISTAN UND ISOLDE Season 2023/24 (Première: 14 April 2022) PUBLISHER Wiener Staatsoper GmbH, Opernring 2, 1010 Wien General Director: Dr. Bogdan Roščić Music Director: Philippe Jordan Administrative Director: Dr. Petra Bohuslav General Editor: Nikolaus Stenitzer Design & Concept: Fons Hickmann M23, Berlin Layout: Miwa Meusburger Cover image concept: Martin Conrads, Berlin Printed by: Print Alliance HAV Produktions GmbH, Bad Vöslau ARTICLE ORIGINATION Nikolaus Stenitzer Synopsis – Philippe Jordan When I talked to Mahler about Wagner – Nikolaus Stenitzer Action and Drama – Andreas Dorschel Radical Eroticism – Eva Illouz Madness and Betrayal A Dream Poem, Interview with director Calixto Bieito, from: Opernring 2, 14/April 2022 – Laura Holder Attempt at Leaving (Abschiedsversuch), Last Try (Letzter Versuch), from Laura Holder Versuch, dich abzuschreiben. Gedichte. Berlin: Mikrotext 2021 (english translation of the poems: Catherine Hales) English translation with the exception of the poems by Laura Holder: Andrew Smith IMAGES Cover: © Gabriel Lester, Melancholia in Arcadia (2010) Page 2, 3, 10, 11, 17, 25, 29, 34, 35, 40: Michael Pöhn / Wiener Staatsoper GmbH

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