L.A. Phil: A 'fresh context' for 'Tristan und Isolde'
By Valerie Scher
UNION-TRIBUNE CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
November 28, 2004
Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" is an epic melodrama, a mythic love story about the doomed romance between a knight and a princess.
The opera has been performed by U.S. companies ranging from New York's Metropolitan Opera to Seattle Opera, from Lyric Opera of Chicago to Los Angeles Opera (though not at San Diego Opera).
Soon, it will be the Los Angeles Philharmonic's turn. And leave it to the orchestra's adventurous music director, Esa-Pekka Salonen, to help give a new spin to the Teutonic classic that premiered in 1865 in Munich, Germany.
"I wanted to find a fresh context that was slightly unusual," says Salonen, 46.
Make that very unusual.
"The Tristan Project" - the multimedia, semi-staged version that opens Friday at Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall - is unlike any other "Tristan."
Because productions of the three-act opera are so long - lasting nearly five hours including intermissions - the philharmonic will present one act at a time and pair each act with works that were influenced by the opera. ("Tristan" will be sung in German, with English subtitles.)
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