Tristan and Isolde

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

17:00 - 22:00
D-Prices: € 136,– / € 100,– / € 72,– / € 44,– / € 26,–
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Information about the work

Opera in 3 acts
First performed on 10th June, 1865 in Munich
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 13th March, 2011

5 hrs / 2 intervals

In German with German and English surtitles

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

recommended from 16 years
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17:00 - 22:00
D-Prices: € 136,– / € 100,– / € 72,– / € 44,– / € 26,–
Buy tickets
the content

About the work
Betrayal, lost honour, crime and atonement, passionate love, a yearning for death and forgetting… The tale of Tristan and Isolde grew from a Celtic legend into today’s work of mythical stature. It inspired Richard Wagner to his “opus metaphysicum” [Friedrich Nietzsche].

TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, with its decidedly romantic score, is considered a harbinger of modernism. The chord that introduces the opera – the famous “Tristan Chord”, one of the most hotly discussed items in the history of music – threw musicologists into disarray, challenging accepted ideas of tonality and harmony. Equally explosive is the love between Tristan and Isolde, who defy pressure to comply with conventions and moral codes.

Tristan, the “man of sorrow” who is ever mindful that his mother died giving birth to him, is in love with Isolde and yet determined to deliver her, as agreed, to his king, thereby breaking not one but two pledges. Isolde, too, is not blameless in this forbidden love affair, having in an earlier period spared the life of Tristan – who had stayed her hand with a look - instead of killing the murderer of Morold, her would-be bridegroom. She is increasingly estranged from her familiar domesticity, and, flouting all social norms, the couple inexorably approach their longed-for end – their own erasure?

About the production
TRISTAN AND ISOLDE continues to fascinate and disturb to this day. It has occupied philosophers, psychologists, writers, composers and musicologists. Briton Graham Vick, one of the most innovative stagers of opera in recent years, who worked and appeared at opera houses and festivals around the world and steered the fortunes of the Glyndebourne festival over many years, brought a solemnity to his rendering of the lovers’ story, rejecting over-dramatization. He placed his protagonists in a drawing room that, to the casual observer, appears unremarkable but whose slightly worn elegance is speckled with details alluding to the archaic foundations beneath. With unsparing precision he charts the development of the love affair, showing us the effect it has on the couple over the years. And Tristan’s perplexing utterance from his monologue in the final act – “That awful potion, which taught me torment… I myself did mix and stir it!” – lies at the core of Vick’s slant on the material.

Derived from a literary myth, TRISTAN AND ISOLDE has itself acquired the characteristics of a myth. One message of Graham Vick’s production is that it is not given to us, as Wagner’s listeners and onlookers, to be too smug in our enjoyment of the spectacle. The tale of this pair of lovers, albeit coming to us through the mists of time, is far too close for that kind of comfort.

Our recommendations

Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Der Ring des Nibelungen – Das Rheingold
Der Ring des Nibelungen – Die Walküre
Der Ring des Nibelungen – Siegfried
Der Ring des Nibelungen – Götterdämmerung
Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg


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Advents-Verlosung: Das 2. Fensterchen

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away 3 DVDs of "Der Schatzgräber" - an opera in a prelude, four acts and a postlude by Franz Schreker. If you would like to win one of the three DVDs, please send an e-mail today with the subject "The 2nd window" to

DER SCHATZGRÄBER (THE TREASURE HUNTER) by Franz Schreker was a triumph at its world premiere in Frankfurt in 1920 and went on to play 44 times at assorted venues over the next five years. It then fell victim to a shifting zeitgeist and slipped from opera-house programmes, with a National Socialist ban on performances sealing its demise. Even after 1945 the Schreker revival was a long time coming – and THE TREASURE HUNTER has not featured prominently in the renaissance.

As with the vast majority of Schreker’s libretti, the story of Els and Elis explores the relationship between fantasy and reality, between art and life. Soulmates in the sense that they are both at the mercy of the king’s disposition, Els and Elis set off in search of different treasures. Elis, the minstrel, uses his magic lute to locate a stash of jewels and do humanity a good turn. Els, an innkeeper’s daughter who has grown up motherless in a tough, male-chauvinist world, becomes a liar, cheat and murderess in pursuit of her goal, tasking her suitors to steal the queen’s jewels and then having them killed once they have returned with the haul of treasure. Yet even with the gold in their possession, the pair are not content, and so, true to form, Schreker turns his attention to the theme of yearning per se, which is the actual “treasure” that the composer is interested in, “a dream of happiness and redemption”. Elis and Els are caught up in a swirl of dreams, memories, premonitions, songs and music. Their stories take on a dreamlike quality in a world beset by greed, murder and emotional inconstancy. For Franz Schreker the path to redemption could only be via art. Composed during the turmoil of the First World War, the TREASURE HUNTER score amounts to Schreker’s personal confession of artistic faith, executed in florid strokes of late-Romantic musical colour.

Conductor Marc Albrecht; Staging Christof Loy; Set design Johannes Leiacker; Costume design Barbara Drosihn; With Tuomas Pursio, Doke Pauwels, Clemens Bieber, Michael Adams, Joel Allison, Michael Laurenz, Thomas Johannes Mayer, Seth Carico, Daniel Johansson, Gideon Poppe, Stephen Bronk, Elisabet Strid, Patrick Cook, Tyler Zimmerman a. o.; Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Closing date: 2 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 4 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.