Summary Richard Wagner. Tristan and Isolde

Summary Richard Wagner. Tristan and Isolde

TRISTAN AND IZOLD

Stage action in three acts

R. Wagner’s libretto

Characters:

Tristan

Mark, the King of Cornwall, his uncle

Kurvenal, servant of Tristan

Melot, the court of King Mark

Isolde, the Irish Princess

Brangena, her maid

A young sailor

Shepherd

Helmsman

Tenor

Bass

Baritone

Tenor

Soprano

Soprano

Tenor

Tenor

Baritone

Sailors, knights and squires.

The action takes place on the deck of the ship, in Cornwall and in Brittany.

Time of action: early Middle

Ages.

HISTORY OF CREATION

The legend of Tristan and Isolde is of Celtic origin. She came, probably from Ireland, and enjoyed the widest popularity in all countries of medieval Europe, spreading in a variety of options (her first literary processing – Franco-Breton romance – refers to the XII century). Throughout the centuries, it was overgrown with various poetic details, but the meaning remained the same: love is stronger than death. Wagner interpreted this legend differently: he created a poem about a painful all-consuming passion, which is stronger than reason, a sense of duty, related obligations, which overturns the usual ideas, breaks ties with the surrounding world, with people, with life. In accordance with the composer’s intention, the opera was marked by the unity of the dramatic expression, by the enormous tension, the tragic heat of feelings.

Wagner was very fond of Tristan, he considered him his best composition. The creation of the opera is associated with one of the most romantic episodes of the composer’s biography – with his passion for Matilde Wesendonck, the wife of a friend and patron who, despite her ardent love for Wagner, managed to subordinate her feeling to her husband and family. Wagner called “Tristan” a monument of the deepest unrequited love. The

autobiographical nature of this opera helps to understand the composer’s unusual interpretation of the literary source.

With the legend of Tristan and Isolde Wagner met in the 40s, the idea of ​​the opera arose in the autumn of 1854 and completely captured the composer in August 1857, forcing him to interrupt the work on the tetralogy “Ring of the Nibelung.” The text was written in a single impulse, in three weeks; in October the composition of music was started. The work was carried out with great interruptions, the opera was completed in 1859. The premiere took place on June 10, 1865 in Munich.

MUSIC

“Tristan and Isolde” is the most peculiar of the Wagner operas. There is little external action, scenic movement – all attention is focused on the experiences of the two heroes, on the display of the shades of their painful, tragic passion. Music, full of sensual longing, flows non-stop flow, without dismembering into separate episodes. The psychological role of the orchestra is extremely great: to reveal the emotional experiences of the characters, it is no less important than the vocal part.

The mood of the whole opera is determined by the orchestral introduction; here, brief motives, sometimes mournful, sometimes rapturous, always intense, passionate, never giving peace, constantly replace each other. The introduction is not closed and directly passes into the music of the first act.

Motives for entry penetrate the orchestral fabric of the first act, revealing the state of mind of Tristan and Isolde. They are contrasted with song episodes serving as a backdrop to the psychological drama. Such is the opening act of the song of a young sailor “I Look at the Sunset”, sounding from afar, without orchestral accompaniment. Energetic, courageous ironic song of the Kurvenal, picked up by the choir “So tell Izolde you.” The central characterization of the heroine lies in her great story “By the sea shuttle, drive the wave, to the Irish rocks floated”; here there is restlessness and confusion. Similar sentiments marked the beginning of the dialogue between Tristan and Isolde “What will be your order?”; at the end of it the motifs of loving longing sound again.

In the second act, the main place is occupied by the huge love duet of Tristan and Isolde, framed by scenes with Brangena and King Mark. The orchestral introduction conveys the impatient excitement of Isolde. The same mood prevails in the dialogue between Isolde and Brangena, accompanied by a distant roll call of hunting horns. The scene with Tristan is rich in contrasts of experiences; its beginning speaks of the stormy joy of the long-awaited meeting; then there are memories of the sufferings suffered in the separation, the curse of day and light; the central episode of the duet is wide, slow, passionate tunes that glorify night and death: the first is “Come to earth, the night of love” with a flexible, free rhythm and a tautly sounding unstable melody – borrowed by Wagner from the work he wrote on the “Tristan” romance “Dreams” to the words of Matilda Wesendonck. It is complemented by the call of Brangena – warning of danger – here the composer revives the beloved medieval “troubadours” form of “morning songs”. One of Wagner’s best melodies is “So, we’ll die to live forever” – a colorful, endlessly unfolding, aspiring upwards. A large increase leads to a climax. In the final scene stand out mournful, nobly restrained complaint of Mark “Did you really save you? and a small chanting farewell to Tristan and Isolde “In a distant country there is no sun in the sky,” where the echoes of a love duet sound. to live forever, “- a colorful, infinitely unfolding, ascending skyward, a great increase leads to a culmination. In the final scene stand out mournful, nobly restrained complaint of Mark” Did you really save yourself? Is that so? “And Tristan and Isolde’s little farewell farewell” In the far country, there is no sun in the sky, “where the echoes of the love duet sound. to live forever, “- a colorful, infinitely unfolding, ascending skyward, a great increase leads to a culmination. In the final scene stand out mournful, nobly restrained complaint of Mark” Did you really save yourself? Is that so? “And Tristan and Isolde’s little farewell farewell” In the far country, there is no sun in the sky, “where the echoes of the love duet sound.

The third act is framed by two detailed monologues – the wounded Tristan at the beginning and the dying Isolda at the end. In the orchestral introduction, using the melody of the romance “In the greenhouse,” the words of Matilda Wesendonck embody the sorrow and longings of Tristan. As in the first act, the painful emotional experiences of the characters are highlighted by more clear song episodes. Such is the sad play of the English horn (the shepherd’s pipe), which opens the action and repeatedly returns in the monologue of Tristan; such are the energetic speeches of the Kurvenal, accompanied by a march-like orchestral theme. They are contrasted with the brief remarks of Tristan, uttered as if in oblivion. The big monologue of the hero is based on sharp changes of mood. It begins with mournful phrases: “Do you know that? I know better, but what – you can not know,” where the echoes of his farewell to Isolde from the second act are heard. Gradually, dramaticism grows, Tristan’s speeches are desperate, unexpectedly he is replaced by joy, stormy jubilation, and again desperate longing: “How do you understand, the melody is ancient, sad.” Then light lyrical melodies follow. A dramatic break in the act is the cheerful play of the English horn. At the time of Tristan’s death, the theme of loving longing repeated again, opening the opera. Izolda’s expressive complaint “I’m here, I’m here, my dear friend” is full of dramatic exclamations. She prepares the final scene – Isolde’s death. Here, melodic melodies of the love duo of the second act are widely and freely developed, acquiring a transfigured, enlightened ecstatic sound. in Tristan’s speeches despair sounds, unexpectedly it is replaced by joy, stormy jubilation, and again desperate longing: “How can you understand, the melody is ancient, sad.” Then light lyrical melodies follow. A dramatic break in the act is the cheerful play of the English horn. At the time of Tristan’s death, the theme of loving longing repeated again, opening the opera. Izolda’s expressive complaint “I’m here, I’m here, my dear friend” is full of dramatic exclamations. She prepares the final scene – Isolde’s death. Here, melodic melodies of the love duo of the second act are widely and freely developed, acquiring a transfigured, enlightened ecstatic sound. in Tristan’s speeches despair sounds, unexpectedly it is replaced by joy, stormy jubilation, and again desperate longing: “How can you understand, the melody is ancient, sad.” Then light lyrical melodies follow. A dramatic break in the act is the cheerful play of the English horn. At the time of Tristan’s death, the theme of loving longing repeated again, opening the opera. Izolda’s expressive complaint “I’m here, I’m here, my dear friend” is full of dramatic exclamations. She prepares the final scene – Isolde’s death. Here, melodic melodies of the love duo of the second act are widely and freely developed, acquiring a transfigured, enlightened ecstatic sound. Then light lyrical melodies follow. A dramatic break in the act is the cheerful play of the English horn. At the time of Tristan’s death, the theme of loving longing repeated again, opening the opera. Izolda’s expressive complaint “I’m here, I’m here, my dear friend” is full of dramatic exclamations. She prepares the final scene – Isolde’s death. Here, melodic melodies of the love duo of the second act are widely and freely developed, acquiring a transfigured, enlightened ecstatic sound. Then light lyrical melodies follow. A dramatic break in the act is the cheerful play of the English horn. At the time of Tristan’s death, the theme of loving longing repeated again, opening the opera. Izolda’s expressive complaint “I’m here, I’m here, my dear friend” is full of dramatic exclamations. She prepares the final scene – Isolde’s death. Here, melodic melodies of the love duo of the second act are widely and freely developed, acquiring a transfigured, enlightened ecstatic sound.


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Summary Richard Wagner. Tristan and Isolde