Tristan und Isolde | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader

Tristan und Isolde Recommended Soundboard The Short List (Theater)

When: Tue., Jan. 27, 6 p.m., Sat., Jan. 31, 6 p.m., Wed., Feb. 4, 6 p.m., Sun., Feb. 8, 1 p.m., Thu., Feb. 12, 6 p.m., Mon., Feb. 16, 6 p.m., Fri., Feb. 20, 6 p.m., Tue., Feb. 24, 6 p.m. and Sat., Feb. 28, 6 p.m. 2009

If your boyfriend’s got a death wish and you’re about to marry his uncle, you shouldn’t expect things to go smoothly—and they don’t for the star-crossed lovers in Lyric Opera’s production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. Drawn from a Celtic myth that sets love against honor, riddled with philosophical precepts about the folly of all desire, and inspired by Wagner’s raging (and probably unconsummated) passion for the wife of one of his most important patrons, Tristan is a marathon in slow motion, nearly five hours of highly wrought feeling conveyed in a score that—in 1865—broke gorgeously with tonal tradition. The formidable lead roles are handled by Deborah Voigt and Clifton Forbis; Andrew Davis conducts the excellent Lyric Opera orchestra. Jewel-tone sets by David Hockney were designed for a 1987 LA Opera production; they’re striking, but their steep perspective and cartoonlike lines suggest the illustrations for a book of lighter fare. At worst, they leave Tristan tottering on the edge of camp. --Deanna Isaacs

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