Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde)

By Richard Wagner

ISBN: 9780714544106

98 pages

RRP: £10.00 £8.00

‘A Landmark in Musical History’ is John Luke Rose’s title for the introduction to this extraordinary piece of theatre. It belongs to the German tradition of mystical writing, and a short note on the poem itself by Martin Swales and Timothy McFarland elucidates some of Wagner’s literary techniques. Anthony Negus, who assisted Reginald Goodall on the WNO production of Tristan und Isolde, has contributed a penetrating analysis of the musical structure of the opera, while Patrick Carnegy assesses the remarkable solutions to staging an opera which some argue is best experienced with your back to the performers.

Contents: Synopsis, Timothy McFarland; ‘Tristan and Isolde’: A Landmark in Musical History, John Luke Rose; A Musical Commentary, Anthony Negus; The staging of ‘Tristan and Isolde’: Landmarks along the Appian Way, Patrick Carnegy; An Introduction to the German Text, Martin Swales and Timothy McFarland; Tristan und Isolde: Poem by Richard Wagner; Tristan and Isolde: English Translation by Andrew Porter

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  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner (1813–83) was a composer who drew inspiration from Christian and Nordic mythology, as well as the philosophy of Schopenhauer, to pioneer dramatically new forms of music. His concept of the “Total Artwork” led to the construction of the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, an opera house he designed specifically for productions of his own operas. He also wrote widely on music and art. His operas include Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the four parts of Der Ring des Nibelungen.