That's what Mark Swed of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the return to Walt Disney Concert Hall of one of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's most talked-about projects in years. Conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and director Peter Sellars have collaborated on a concert-hall semi-staging of Wagner's opera — to which is added four hours of video by the acclaimed artist Bill Viola.
As David Patrick Stearns put it in The Philadelphia Inquirer, "Viola doesn't illustrate, but [rather] creates an ongoing dialogue with the opera ... The video is full of fire and water, and sometimes water that's on fire. Waterfall images are frequent, but in this opera about transfiguration, water rushes up, not down." (We offer some still's from Viola's work below.)
There are two performances of "The Tristan Project" at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center: Wednesday, May 2 at 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 5 at 2:00 p.m. Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic, with concert staging by Peter Sellars and video by Bill Viola. Christine Brewer sings Isolde and Christian Franz is Tristan, with Anne Sofie von Otter — in her first Wagner role — as Brang‹ne, John Relyea as King Marke, Jukka Rasilainen as Kurwenal, and Michael Slattery as the Sailor and Shepherd.
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All photos by Kira Perov, Ô©Kira Perov and Bill Viola.