13 April 2007

The Tristan Project

It would take quite a lot to dispose me to move to Los Angeles -- or anywhere in California, for that matter -- but more events like this would certainly help. Based on Richard Wagner's extraordinary opera, Tristan und Isolde, The Tristan Project is a collaboration between video artist Bill Viola, Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Esa-Pekka Salonen, and theatre director Peter Sellars.

Following the success of its premiere in Los Angeles and the subsequent staging of the complete Tristan and Isolde in Paris during the 2004/05 season, the Philharmonic's Tristan Project returns in April before its East Coast premiere in New York City. The cast for the Tristan Project in both Los Angeles and New York features soprano Christine Brewer as Isolde, tenor Alan Woodrow as Tristan, and bass John Relyea as Marke, and mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter debuts as Brangäne.

The creative team of Esa-Pekka Salonen, video artist Bill Viola, and director Peter Sellars collaborate again to present Tristan and Isolde: the complete opera in two full evenings, and performances over three evenings with one act per night, each paired with a different work by Debussy, who was heavily influenced by Wagner's work. Viola's video images, which offer literal, metaphorical, and spiritual complements to one of mythology's most famous and tragic love stories, are again projected on specially designed screens during the performances.

From all that I've read, seen, and heard, this project is extraordinary. More information and images can be found here.

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