What do Salt Spring Island and New York City have in common? Arbutus beaches? Skyscrapers? No. How about … the Metropolitan Opera! That’s right. On eight lucky Saturdays between now and April, Met Operas will be live broadcast on ArtSpring’s stage. Salt Springers and New Yorkers will see the action, majesty and music unfurl at exactly the same
The first o
pera of the season is Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, appearing on screen on ArtSpring’s stage on Saturday, October 8th, at 9:00 AM (or noon in New York). Tristan und Isolde is based on a Celtic legend that many believe pre-dates Arthurian myth, and indeed may have inspired the legendary love triangle of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot.
The legends of Tristan and Isolde vary, but agree on the basic plot: Tristan, a knight and the nephew of King Marke of Cornwall, has an ongoing affair with Isolde, King Marke’s war bride. As with Arthurian legend, Tristan, Marke, and Isolde all love each other, with Marke regarding Tristan as his son. In most versions of the story, Tristan and Isolde’s romance is fuelled by a love potion they ingest before Isolde’s marriage to the king, a strange element by modern sensibilities, and one that was tactfully omitted from the 2006 Hollywood movie version starring James Franco and Sophia Myles.
What sets Tristan und Isolde apart? For opera singers, Tristan und Isolde is known as one of the most demanding vocal performances, with Isolde often considered the mother of all soprano roles. On October 8th, Nina Stemme plays Isolde and Stuart Skelton plays Tristan, with Sir Simon Rattle conducting.
Rather than medieval England, director Mariusz Treli?ski has set his 4-hour epic in World War II-times. In addition to the downward-spiraling love triangle, Tristan und Isolde is also overshadowed by rumors of renewed war between Cornwall and Ireland, a theme made more pronounced by the stark, military costumes, and the military war ship on which the first act of the opera takes place.
Tickets to Tristan und Isolde are available at the ArtSpring Box Office, 100 Jackson Avenue, or here online. There will be an intermission with refreshments half-way through the performance. For more information, contact ArtSpring at 250-537-2102.