Season & Tickets

Tristan und Isolde


The Seattle Times

“There could hardly be any doubt of the overwhelming vocal and orchestral glory this performance achieved under Asher Fisch’s masterful baton. The orchestral sound, crucial in any Wagner opera, was magnificently full, rich and delicately nuanced, from soaring string, plangent woodwinds [to] threatening drums and heavy brass. … With this sumptuous support, every voice projected a quality hard to match in any operatic cast in the world. … Annalena Persson unfurled a securely centered tone that could dominate the ensemble with apparent ease. There is an edge to her sound, but an edge that thrills rather than disturbs. And for once we could watch a singer whose slim, tall figure and beauty made a truly credible Isolde. Her worthy partner as Tristan was Clifton Forbis, a tenor with a warm baritonal tinge to his voice, and equally adept in portraying the intermingled torment and ecstasy of his role. … As King Marke, Danish bass Stephen Milling revealed perhaps the richest voice of all. … Peter Kazaras, the unfailingly creative [stage] director, masterfully present Tristan as an opera of the mind. … He showed us a extratemporal drama taking place not in the physical world but in the characters’ imaginations, perhaps in that supposed instant of insight that precedes death.
-Bernard Jacobson, The Seattle Times
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The Gathering Note

“The musical and dramatic aspect of the production are extraordinary. The driving forces are the conducting of Asher Fisch—how well the orchestra played—and [the direction of Peter] Kazaras. Fisch never disappoints in elucidating the music. His palette seems immense, his range of dynamic variation equally large. He has full command of the line, which never seems to end, and produces tremendous beauty of tone. He gets the best of this orchestra. … Kazaras has grown considerably. Tristan is long but one is never aware of its length with Kazaras. He keeps the action moving surely and without any silly gestures and useless movement. He listens to the music the way some directors seem not to. … He has a vivid imagination that he puts to good use. Kazaras is not afraid to let the music have its say. … Clifton Forbis is a good Tristan, among the best on the international stage today. His voice is warm and yet strong, able to sustain the long passages Wagner wrote for the character. [As Isolde,] Annalena Person, with her blonde hair and tall figure, is both imperious and sympathetic. Her voice is powerful, able to do all that Wagner asks. … Margaret Jane Wray sang Brangäne with dramatic emphasis and keen focus. Greer Grimsley’s Kurwenal was good; a faithful servant and friend. Stephen Milling as King Marke provided both gravitas and depth of emotion.”
-R.M. Campbell, The Gathering Note
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The Classical Review

“The new Seattle Tristan boasts an impressive cast and the lyrical hand of conductor Asher Fisch in the McCaw Hall orchestra pit. … You’ll have to go a long way to beat the leading singers, [who, along with] the rest of the cast, have voices with the requisite Wagnerian heft; at times, as in the duets, an almost overwhelming volume of sound sweeps out from the stage and into the house. Persson is an attractive singer who looks right as Isolde. Forbis, a sturdy and reliable Tristan, rose to real heroism in the tenor-killing Act III, in which his passionate longing for Isolde was convincing and compelling. Greer Grimsley made an affecting and resonant Kurwenal. Margaret Jane Wray’s gleaming, powerful soprano gave the handmaiden role of Brangäne unusual impact. Stephen Milling was almost too good as King Marke: a noble, empathetic man whose pain and decency were made so real. … In the orchestra pit, seasoned Wagnerian Asher Fisch did wonders with the sensuous score, giving it the rich colors and surging emotion without ever overwhelming the singers. … When musical values are paramount, the audience is mostly well served.”
-Melinda Bargreen, The Classical Review
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“General Director Speight Jenkins has worked his uncanny casting magic once again. Seattle Opera’s singers and conductor make a feast of Wagner’s score. At curtain, the audience rose for a standing ovation for the vocalists. … Even the third act—of a long opera—rivets you. The remarkably dramatically astute [stage director] Peter Kazaras expand[s on the concept of] subjective time. It’s rare that you actually watch an opera wondering how it turns out. … Annalena Persson [is] a gifted actor with the requisite vocal range. … [As] King Marke, Stephen Milling [is] majestically human in his demand to know “Why?” … Margaret Jane Wray is superb. … By the time [Maestro Asher] Fisch took the podium for the second act, bravos were being shouted out amidst the applause.”
-Michael van Baker, SunBreak
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Jul. 31 - Aug. 21, 2010

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Photo Credit

Tristan und Isolde © Rozarii Lynch photo