Love and Death in Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde'

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Stuart Skelton and Nina Stemme as Tristan and Isolde.

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is an extraordinary journey through the human psyche, and through the two most powerful forces guiding our lives: love and death. From the opening bars of the Prelude, the music draws us in with an intense and restless longing that doesn't loosen its grip until the final, transcendent moments of the opera. 

This week on He Sang/She Sang, Merrin Lazyan speaks with writer Paul Thomason about the intoxicating magnetism of Tristan und Isolde, and tenor Stuart Skelton compares singing the role of Tristan to climbing the Himalayas. 

Paul's YouTube pick (Kirsten Flagstad):

Merrin's YouTube pick (Birgit Nilsson):

 This episode features excerpts from the following album:

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (EMI Classics, 2005)
— Plácido Domingo, tenor; Nina Stemme, soprano; Mihoko Fujimura, mezzo-soprano; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducted by Antonio Pappano