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Tristan und Isolde Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

Tickets on sale
19 Sep 12:00


Duration 5:00

Breaks 2

By Richard Wagner

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

The new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, directed by Pierre Audi, has already received high acclaim in Paris and Rome.

In short

While working on the Ring, Wagner experienced a crisis. He put Siegfried aside for a while and wrote a groundbreaking opera, based on the mediaeval love story of Tristan and Isolde. He received added inspiration from his extra-marital affair with Mathilde Wesendonk. Two of her five poems that he set to music (Wesendonklieder) became preliminary studies for Tristan, in which the action and the music blend to form a symphonic whole.


The new opera Tristan und Isolde was the height of modernity, as the succession of chords was determined more by chromaticism than by their harmonic function. The ‘Tristan chord’ put a bomb under traditional theory of harmony, as it were, and the orchestration was also extremely innovative. After Tristan und Isolde, Wagner’s composition style changed for good.

Pierre Audi

Director of Dutch National Opera, resident director

PIERRE AUDI (stage director) became director of De Nederlandse Opera in 1988. As of 1 January 2013 he has become Director of Dutch National Opera. In the twenty-five years of his leadership of Dutch National Opera and its forerunner, De Nederlandse Opera, he is credited with giving the Netherlands its own opera tradition. His combined vision and audacity have earned him respect, both in the Netherlands and far beyond its borders, as both the Director of Dutch National Opera and as a stage director.

Marc Albrecht

Chief Conductor

Marc Albrecht, Chief Conductor of The Dutch National Opera and The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Musical director 
Marc Albrecht
Stage director 
Pierre Audi
Sets and costumes 
Christof Hetzer
Jean Kalman
Anna Bertsch
Willem Bruls
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Rehearsal director 
Ching-Lien Wu
Stephen Gould
König Marke 
Günther Groissböck
Ricarda Merbeth
Ian Paterson
Andrew Rees
Michelle Breedt
Ein Hirt/Ein junger Seemann 
Marc Larcher
Ein Steuermann 
Roger Smeets


Tristan und Isolde is the third Wagner opera conducted by principal conductor Marc Albrecht for Dutch National Opera, following Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal. In Bayreuth, he conducted Der fliegende Holländer. The two title roles are sung by Stephen Gould (Siegfried in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung) and Ricarda Merbeth (Chrysothemis in Elektra).

Director Pierre Audi challenges the audience and takes them down into the depths. ‘An opera like a feverish dream’, wrote de Volkskrant. This is the seventh Wagner opera that Audi is directing, following the extremely successful Ring des Nibelungen (four parts), Parsifal and Lohengrin. Audi also directed the opera about Wagner, composed on commission from Dutch National Opera: Jonathan Harvey’s Wagner Dream.


Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.

Co-produced with Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

    Mon 13 Feb de Volkskrant, 2016

    ‘Audi’s production transports you to infinite chasms. (…) An opera like a feverish dream’.