Betrayal, lost honour, guilt and expiation; boundless, consuming, illicit passion; the desire for death and oblivion: such are the ingredients of Tristan und Isolde, a legend of Celtic origin about the tragic love of a knight and a princess. Over the centuries the myth has fascinated writers and musicians alike. According to Friedrich Nietzsche, Richard Wagner made it into an almost metaphysical opera that transcended his own artistic talent, with a score straddling the border between Romanticism and modernity. No only is Tristan und Isolde unparalleled in Wagner's output: its mystery remains impenetrable, despite the efforts of artists and thinkers who have marvelled at the timeless force of the love story it relates. That mystery still disturbs us today.
Music drama in three acts. Libretto by the composer, based on Gottfried von Strassburg's version of a Breton medieval legend. Music by Richard Wagner. Premiered on 10 June 1865 at the Munich Court Theatre. First performed at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on 8 November 1899. Last staged at the Liceu on 6 September 2012, in concert version.