"I have always believed that opera is a planet where the muses work together, join hands and celebrate all the arts." ~ Franco ZeffirelliJapan has always seemed so mysterious to me and I am sure that to many around the world, the same is true for the United States. I have never been there, but my brother has performed there several times and is currently preparing for an opera in Tokyo. This photo was taken during his last trip to Japan, one in which he finally had a bit of down time to visit the countryside outside the main part of the city. I love the bright red framing the wide walkway.
This time around it is Tristan and Isolde, a tragic love story in the vein of Romeo and Juliet. Tristan, having lost his parents in infancy, has been reared at the court of his uncle, Marke, King of Cornwall. In combat, he kills Morold, an Irish knight, who had come to Cornwall, to collect the tribute that country had been paying to Ireland. Morold was engaged to his cousin Isolde, daughter of the Irish king. Tristan was severely wounded in this battle as well and places himself, without disclosing his identity, under the care of Isolde who comes of a race skilled in magic arts. She discerns who he is and though aware that she is harbouring the slayer of her betrothed, she spares him and carefully tends him. She develops a great passion for Tristan but does not tell him as does Tristan for her, but both deem their love to be unrequited. Soon after Tristan’s return to Cornwall, he is dispatched to Ireland by Marke, that he may win Isolde as Queen for the Cornish king.
The music-drama opens on board the vessel in which Tristan bears Isolde to Cornwall. Deeming her love for Tristan unrequited she determines to end her sorrow by quaffing a death-potion; and Tristan, feeling that the woman he loves is about to be wedded to another, readily consents to share it with her. But Brangäne, Isolde’s companion, substitutes a love-potion for the death-draught. This rouses their love to resistless passion. Not long after they reach Cornwall, they are surprised in the castle garden by the angry King and Tristan is severely wounded by Melot, one of Marke’s knights. Kurwenal, Tristan’s faithful friend, bears him to his native home, Kareol. Desperately, Isolde follows him, arriving just in time to fold him in her arms as he dies. She breathes her last over his dead body.
"And thus they sang their mysterious duo, sang of their nameless hope, their death-in-love, their union unending, lost forever in the embrace of night's magic kingdom. O sweet night, everlasting night of love! Land of blessedness whose frontiers are infinite!" ~ Thomas Mann (1875-1955) - about Tristan and IsoldeThis is one of the most difficult roles to sing as Wagner fashioned a musical score with interwoven dissonant chords and uneven meter and the two main characters are essentially on stage through the whole production. Wagner's operas tend to be long... as in 4 to 6 hours long. But, in this one he gets the girl... of course, he dies in the end... but between the fatal blow and his on stage death, he sings a brilliant aria.
So if you happen to be in Tokyo this Christmas.......
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