Dutch National Opera presents

Tristan und Isolde Richard Wagner (1813-1883)

This show was to been seen in January 2018


Duration 5:15

Breaks 2

By Richard Wagner

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

This performance of Dutch National Opera was presented in January and February 2018. From 13 June 2018 onwards, Dutch National Ballet will be presenting:


Tristan + Isolde

A choreography by David Dawson. The music is composed by Szymon Brzóska.




Richard Wagner
Handlung in drei Aufzügen
Libretto by Richard Wagner
World premiere 10 June 1865, Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater, Munich


New production
Co-production with Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

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

In his staging of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Pierre Audi concentrates on the myth of love itself, represented by the title figures. Principal conductor Marc Albrecht is conducting his fourth Wagner opera for Dutch National Opera.

Watch the trailer!
"Nacht der liebe"
Watch the story in this video

About Tristan und Isolde

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 Wesendonck. Two of her five poems that he set to music (Wesendoncklieder) 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.

Marc Albrecht and Pierre Audi

Tristan und Isolde will be 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.

Light and dark

Whereas Wagner composed music that avoids the gravity of traditional tonality, lighting designer Jean Kalman creates the effect of Isolde’s immateriality through compositions of light and dark. Towards the end, all that remains of the heroine is a black silhouette that disappears into the shadows.

Pierre Audi

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 years of his leadership till september 2018 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

Former chief conductor

Marc Albrecht, who was chief conductor of Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra| Netherlands Chamber Orchestra from 2009 until 2020, is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.


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.

Team, Cast and Chorus

Marc Albrecht
Stage Director
Pierre Audi
Set & Costume Designer
Christof Hetzer
Lighting Designer
Jean Kalman
Video Designer
Anna Bertsch
Willem Bruls
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Dutch National Opera Chorus
Chorus Master
Ching-Lien Wu
Stephen Gould
König Marke
Günther Groissböck
Ricarda Merbeth
Iain Paterson
Andrew Rees
Michelle Breedt
Ein Hirt
Morschi Franz
Ein Steuermann
Roger Smeets
Ein junger Seemann
Martin Piskorski

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

    Tue 21 Nov Tristan und Isolde (2016 Parijs/Rome) - Bachtrack****

    'A rapturous Tristan und Isolde' ‘Indeed, every cast member sings with impressive technical and idiomatic command. Audi’s probing way with the secondary characters helps sustain dramatic interest, with only the excellent Rees’s Melot stuck in a two-dimensional existence as the voice of poison, crippled both in form and nature. Michelle Breedt is a haunted, troubled Brangäne (…).’

    Tue 19 Dec Tristan und Isolde (2016 Parijs/Rome) - Il Messagero

    'Pierre Audi is, thanks heaven, one of the few directors who works with Wagner by subtraction, imagining the story in a minimalist dimension, out of time, abstract: the love between the two is like a metaphor, to the point that they never touch each other practically. The beautiful lights, beautiful and dominated by the black and white of Jean Kalman, have played a leading role in accompanying the dramaturgical course.' 'Don't miss it.' [translated from Italian]