Antony Hermus conducts Tristan und Isolde
Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde (arr. Henk de Vlieger)
Few works have influenced music history as profoundly as Wagner’s musical drama Tristan und Isolde. Chief conductor and Wagner specialist Antony Hermus performs a 75-minute orchestral arrangement by Dutch composer Henk de Vlieger. This is extended, especially for this concert, to include the original love duet from the second act and Isolde’s Liebestod from the last act. In it, Viennese star soprano Martina Serafin takes the part of Isolde and American star tenor Ben Gulley sings the role of Tristan.
Celtic myths surrounding the figure of Tristan - a knight from the world of King Arthur - inspired Wagner to compose perhaps the most intense love drama of all time. Just as important as Gottfried von Straßburg’s novel in verse Tristan, however, was Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy. According to this philosopher, ‘salvation’ lies only in the denial of the will to live. Wagner expresses this magisterially: his yearning chords find no rest for hours - the desire grows and grows - until finally, during Isoldes Liebestod, everything resolves itself one key higher than the key in which the musical drama began. A union of Tristan and Isolde is only possible in death. The demanding score is known to exhaust the audience, emotionally, psychologically and physically. However, the redemption at the end of Tristan und Isolde is all the greater. “The world is poor for one who has never been so ill as to taste this ‘infernal pleasure’,” Nietzsche once wrote.
Antony Hermus, conductor
Martina Serafin, Isolde
Barbara Koselj, Brangane
Ben Gulley, Tristan
Antony Hermus was recently appointed Chief Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra, starting an initial four-year term in September 2022 with a Designate year.
Martina Serafin was born in Vienna into a family of musicians and studied at the Vienna Conservatory under Otto Edelman.
Slovenian mezzo-soprano Barbara Kozelj has established herself as a charismatic and versatile soloist and musician.
The American operatic tenor, Ben Gulley, has been hailed "as an outstanding tenor (Opera News)" and "startlingly-gifted (San Francisco Classical Voice