Sunday, August 9, 2009

Seattle Opera will do Tristan und Isolde next summer

Seattle Opera has announced that they will produce Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" in the summer of 2010. This production will be conducted by Asher Fisch, and it will feature stage direction by Peter Kazaras, sets and costumes by Robert Israel, and lighting by Duane Schuler. Principal singers include Annalena Persson in her Seattle Opera Debut as Isolde, Clifton Forbes as Tristan, Margaret Jane Wray as Brangäne, Stephen Milling as King Marke, and Greer Grimsley as Kurvenal.

Here is additional information from Seattle Opera's press release:

With thousands of Wagner enthusiasts from around the world arriving in Seattle for a nearly sold-out Ring cycle which opens today, General Director Speight Jenkins announced that Seattle Opera will present Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde July 31 through August 21, 2010, continuing its dedication to presenting the works of Richard Wagner. The company last staged Tristan in August 1998.

The new production of Tristan will be directed by Peter Kazaras, who is staging his first production of the opera, with costumes and sets designed by Robert Israel. This is the first collaboration for the pair. Maestro Asher Fisch, principal guest conductor at Seattle Opera, will lead the production.

“Over the last few years, director Peter Kazaras and designer Robert Israel have separately given Seattle Opera some of our most exciting evenings in the theater,” Jenkins said. “No opera offers more of a theatrical challenge then Tristan und Isolde. The imagination of these two artists will give Seattle a Tristan to conjure with.”

An opera whose score influenced subsequent composers positively and negatively more than any other ever composed, Tristan und Isolde tells a tale of longing. The two lovers, Tristan and Isolde, seek constantly to consummate their love, united finally only in death.

Swedish soprano Annalena Persson will make her United States debut as Isolde, with tenor Clifton Forbis singing Tristan. Forbis was last seen at Seattle Opera as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca in 2001, and has subsequently sung Tristan with many of the world’s major opera companies. Several veterans of Seattle Opera’s renowned Ring des Nibelungen production will return to Seattle for next summer’s Tristan. Soprano Margaret Jane Wray, currently performing Sieglinde and the Third Norn, will return to sing Brangäne, Isolde’s handmaiden. Greer Grimsley, currently singing Wotan in this summer’s Ring, will sing Kurwenal, a role he sang in the company’s last Tristan production, in 1998. Danish bass Stephen Milling, who sang Fasolt and Hunding in the 2001 and 2005 Ring productions, returns to the company to sing King Marke.

Maestro Asher Fisch has conducted Wagner’s Parsifal, Lohengrin, and Der fliegende Höllander for Seattle Opera. He won a 2007 Seattle Opera Artist of the Year award for conducting Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier and the 2006 International Wagner Competition.

Director Peter Kazaras, the artistic director of Seattle Opera’s Young Artists Program, has directed several Young Artists productions, as well as Bellini’s Norma and Mozart’s Nozze di Figaro on Seattle Opera’s mainstage. He will return to stage Verdi’s Falstaff in February and March 2010. Kazaras has a long history with Seattle Opera as a singer as well as director, performing in such roles as Loge in Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen. He is also a professor and Director of Opera Studio at UCLA.

Designer Robert Israel made his Seattle Opera debut with Die Walküre in 1985, and went on to design sets and costumes for the Ring production that was performed through 1995, as well as sets for Catán’s Florencia in the Amazon and Verdi’s Macbeth. He also designed both sets and costumes for the production of Wagner’s Parsifal.

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