Corona Music – Tristan & Isodel

May 1, 2020

There’s a poignant scene in Act 3. Where the hero is confronted by Brangaine the trusted handmaiden and confidante of Isolde after she has given the couple the mythical love potion. Brangaine says to Tristan – You have drank your death! To which he takes one step towards her and says – if you mean I will suffer the pain of love in my heart for your mistress and not know a single day of happiness…then I accept it. Tristan then takes a second step forward and continues – if it means that I have committed treason and sinned against my King (King Mark of Cornwall) and will be put to the sword…then again I accept this. Thereafter in the operatic version of Wagner’s story. The skies turn a menacing fiery red (just like 7 month Getai show red…very drama mama moment) as Tristan takes his final step and a pause ensues. Then Tristan declares – if you mean by I have drank my death…I will suffer the eternal flames of death in the after life….I will gladly accept that too in the name of love.

Today we hardly bat an eyelid over this dramatic sence. But in the days of Wagner’s candle powered stage set, horse and carriage and ivory dentures era where 50% of Germans were Lutheran Catholics who prayed 5 million times a day. This was the stuff that provoked revolutions, civil war and mass fainting spells….as what Wagner was trying to convey was Tristan expressing the inexpressible i.e my love for Isodel is much more significant than the idea of the creator. To paraphrase…it is not that believing there’s no such thing as God means I believe in nothing. Rather it means I believe in something far more significant than the idea of a creator… Hence this is perhaps the greatest emotional expression in music that has ever been written… because the underlying message is so terribly powerful.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: