Tristan and Isolde press release

18th March 2016 in Press

Tristan and Isolde
Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner, after Gottfried von Strassburg

Conductor, Edward Gardner
Director, Daniel Kramer

World-famous sculptor Anish Kapoor joins director Daniel Kramer and conductor Edward Gardner for a new production of Wagner’s epic Tristan and Isolde

World-famous sculptor Anish Kapoor will design the sets for ENO’s unmissable new production of Tristan and Isolde. Directed by Daniel Kramer and conducted by former ENO Music Director Edward Gardner, Tristan and Isolde is one of the most hotly-anticipated arts events of 2016.

An epic drama told on a grand scale, Tristan and Isolde is one of the most powerful pieces in the repertoire. Described by Richard Wagner as ‘the most audacious and original work of my life’, the opera retells the legend of Tristan and Isolde’s transcendent but ill-fated love.

ENO’s first new production of Tristan and Isolde since 1996 is directed by ‘theatre’s most exciting young director’ (Daily Telegraph) Daniel Kramer. His previous work with ENO and Edward Gardner includes Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (2009) and Punch and Judy at the Young Vic (2008), for which he won the South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera. Kramer was also nominated for the Golden Mask award for Best Director for Duke Bluebeard’s Castle when it was performed at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow.

For this spectacular staging Kramer collaborates with Anish Kapoor, one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. Winner of the Turner Prize in 1991, he was awarded a CBE in 2003 and a Knighthood in 2013 for services to visual arts. He designed the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Britain’s largest piece of public art, which was constructed in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to stand as a permanent legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Kapoor has also designed stage sets that include Idomeneo for Glyndebourne in 2003 and Pelléas et Mélisande for La Monnaie in Brussels in 2008.

This thrilling score is conducted for the first time by former ENO Music Director Edward Gardner. Following his performances of Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning, five-star production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg (2015), The Stage wrote that his ‘immaculate sense of balance and flow denotes a great Wagner conductor’.

The creative team is completed by Costume Designer Christina Cunningham, Lighting Designer Peter Mumford and Video Designer Frieder Weiss.

An exceptional cast of experienced Wagnerians is led by Heldentenor Stuart Skelton as Tristan. He will perform the role for the first time in Baden Baden in March, conducted by Simon Rattle, followed by a series of concert performances with Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. After his performances with ENO he will go on to open the Metropolitan Opera’s 2016/17 season in the role. An ENO favourite, Skelton received particular acclaim for his performances in the role of Peter Grimes (2009, 2014) which were described as ‘astonishing’ (The Sunday Times).

American dramatic soprano Heidi Melton will make her ENO debut singing the role of Isolde. She recently made her Vienna Philharmonic debut singing Brünnhilde’s ‘Immolation Scene’ from Götterdämmerung and her New York Philharmonic debut with Alan Gilbert in Strauss Lieder and Act III of Die Walküre as Brünnhilde. She has been called ‘the Wagnerian voice we have been waiting for’ (La Presse) with a voice that is ‘big, gleaming and tonally resplendent’ (San Francisco Chronicle).

British bass Matthew Rose sings the role of King Marke. He most recently performed at ENO as Claggart in Billy Budd (2012), where he was described as ‘the star of the show’ (Daily Telegraph). In the 2015/16 season he made his debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, conducted by Edward Gardner.

Craig Colclough makes his role debut as Kurwenal. He made his ‘striking European debut’ (The Guardian) in 2014 in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning ENO production of The Girl of the Golden West. His performance as Jack Rance was described as ‘superb’ (Time Out) and ‘excellent’ (Daily Telegraph). He began his career at the Los Angeles Opera and, in 2012, became a Filene Young Artist at the WolfTrap Opera Company.

Scottish mezzo soprano Karen Cargill sings the role of Brangaene. Her engagements in the 2015/16 season and beyond include debuts with the Canadian Opera Company and Glyndebourne Festival Opera as well as return invitations to the Royal Opera House and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. The New York Times wrote that, in her performances as Waltraute (Götterdämmerung) at the Metropolitan Opera, she ‘brought such exquisite expression and a warm, vibrant and ample voice to the part that she thoroughly outclassed her colleagues onstage’. She made her ENO debut singing the role of Suzuki in Madam Butterfly in 2008.

Upcoming British tenor and ENO Harewood Artist David Webb sings the role of A Young Sailer alongside Stephen Rooke as Melot and Peter Van Hulle as A Shepherd.

 Tristan and Isolde opens at the London Coliseum on 9 June 2016 for 8 performances – June 9, 15, 22, 29 at 5pm and June 19, 26 & July 2, 9 at 3pm

Pre-performance talk: 19 June, 1.15-2pm, £5/£2.50 concs


Notes to Editors:

English National Opera is founded on the belief that opera of the highest quality should be accessible to everyone. We are a national company of international standard. We forge ground-breaking collaborations across art forms, and our world-class productions inspire, surprise, and captivate. We sing in English. We believe that singing in our own language connects the performers and the audience to the drama onstage, and enhances the experience for all. We bring our productions to the widest possible audience, whether at the London Coliseum, nationally or internationally. We make our work accessible by offering a large proportion of tickets at affordable prices, and by distributing it widely on screen and via digital media. We nurture talent across the entire company, whether on-stage, backstage, or in the pit. We provide a platform for young singers to develop global careers.
We tell the world’s most timeless stories, unforgettably.

For further press information please contact:

Annie Lydford
Press Officer
020 7845 9439
[email protected]

Christopher Calvert
Head of Media
020 7845 9245
[email protected]