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Important years in Richard Wagner's life

1813 born in Leipzig
1834 Die Feen completed
1843 Holländer premiere
1845 Tannhäuser premiere
1850 Lohengrin premiere
1852 text of Rheingold and Walküre
1854 Das Rheingold completed
1856 Die Walküre completed
1859 Tristan completed
1865 Tristan premiere in Munich
1868 Meistersinger premiere
1869 Das Rheingold premiere
1870 Die Walküre premiere
1871 Siegfried completed
1874 Götterdämmerung completed
1876 First Festival in Bayreuth
1882 Parsifal premiere
1883 Wagner dies in Venice

 

Isolde's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde

isolde collage

Isolde's Liebestod appears at the end of act 3 of Tristan und Isolde. Tristan is just dead, and Isolde sings this farewell love song before she also dies. Here are some interpretations by great Isoldes.

Waltraud Meier

Waltraud Meier Liebestod

Birgit Nilsson

Birgit Nilsson Liebestod

Kirsten Flagstad

     

Hildegard Behrens

Johanna Meier

Johanna Meier Liebestod

Nina Stemme

nina stemme liebestod

     
Jessye Norman Orchestral Versions Maria Callas

 

Aria

Liebestod used in suicide scene in Aria

 

   

Isolde's Liebestod (the text)

Mild und leise
wie er lächelt,
wie das Auge
hold er öffnet ---
seht ihr's Freunde?
Seht ihr's nicht?
Immer lichter
wie er leuchtet,
stern-umstrahlet
hoch sich hebt?

Seht ihr's nicht?
Wie das Herz ihm
mutig schwillt,
voll und hehr
im Busen ihm quillt?
Wie den Lippen,
wonnig mild,
süßer Atem
sanft entweht ---
Freunde! Seht!
Fühlt und seht ihr's nicht?
Hör ich nur
diese Weise,
die so wunder-
voll und leise,
Wonne klagend,
alles sagend,
mild versöhnend
aus ihm tönend,
in mich dringet,
auf sich schwinget,
hold erhallend
um mich klinget?
Heller schallend,
mich umwallend,
sind es Wellen
sanfter Lüfte?
Sind es Wogen
wonniger Düfte?
Wie sie schwellen,
mich umrauschen,
soll ich atmen,
soll ich lauschen?
Soll ich schlürfen,
untertauchen?
Süß in Düften
mich verhauchen?
In dem wogenden Schwall,
in dem tönenden Schall,
in des Welt-Atems
wehendem All ---
ertrinken,
versinken ---
unbewußt ---
höchste Lust!

   tristan cover

Singing Isolde

"Singing Isolde requires a sort of state of being. You have to enter the Tristan und Isolde world completely. You have to give it 100% all the time. It's a big journey. It's a marathon."
Nina Stemme (The Guardian)

"You have to work yourself up into a lather at the start. But other times it's like flying. It's my favourite Wagner role, but you have to know what you're doing. You can blast yourself into bits in the first act and have nothing left for the third. It's very varied. It's like owning a huge chest of drawers and opening the one you need at each different stage."
Anne Evans (The Guardian)

"It's not one of those roles where you can just come on stage and turn on like a tap. You have to be revved up well before it starts. She goes off like a firecracker. But you still have to be focused at the end, when you have to produce your best singing of the evening."
Susan Bullock (The Guardian)

 

Tristan und Isolde on CD
Tristan und Isolde on DVD

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