With our production of Tristan und Isolde just a few weeks away, the name "Richard Wagner" is on the tips of everybody's tongues – even opera neophytes know his name! His music is still used extensively in film and television and his operas inspired the outdated operatic cliche "It ain't over til the fat lady sings." Read on to discover just how much you already know about the music of Richard Wagner.
Posted by Danielle D'Ornellas / in 2012/2013 / comments (0) / permalink
American video artist Bill Viola is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading new media artists. His works have been exhibited throughout the world in museums including the National Gallery in London, the Berlin Guggenheim, and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. During the course of his career, he has been instrumental in the establishment of video as a vital form of contemporary art and has taught at the California Institute for the Arts and the Getty Research Institute. Learn more about Bill Viola here.
The video imagery Bill Viola created for this production of Tristan und Isolde provides literal, metaphorical and spiritual complements to the tragic love between Tristan the knight and his beloved princess, Isolde.
In the video below, Heidi McKenzie interviews Bill Viola about the inspiration behind the video imagery he created for Tristan und Isolde. Listen as Viola reveals the influence of Eastern culture in his art (an interest he shares with Richard Wagner!) and more.
Photo of Bill Viola by Kira Perov.
Tristan und Isolde
What's it all about?
In Tristan und Isolde, two great enemies fall deeply in love as they unwittingly share a love potion, and, like all star-crossed relationships, their love ends tragically.
In this story, the princess Isolde has been abducted by Tristan to marry his uncle, King Marke. In his first attempt to abduct Isolde, Tristan killed her fiancé Morold and posed as a stranger to trick Isolde into healing his critical wounds. When Isolde discovered his identity and threatened to kill him, he swore to leave her alone. Unfortunately, Tristan quickly broke his promise and returned to carry her off to King Marke.
During their voyage, Isolde begs to speak with Tristan, plotting to poison him and each time he wisely refuses to meet with her. After repeatedly wishing vengeance on her captor, she finally gets a chance to meet him and the tables turn! Isolde demands that Tristan drink her secretly poisoned brew in an attempt to atone for his misdeeds, but unbeknownst to Isolde, her maiden Brangäne spikes their drink with a love potion instead. As the two now-lovers express their love for one another, they know their union will be short-lived and bleak, resulting in one of the best duets in all of opera.
Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001