Perhaps Wagner’s most beautiful and most sensuous composition, Tristan and Isolde, will open at Folkoperan on the 14th and 15th of October 2020. Linus Tunström will make his directing debut on the opera stage with this production, Wagner’s epoch-defining opera whose urgent tones propel a drama as powerful as the urgency of the love it describes. Folkoperan’s newly renovated and intimate auditorium will allow this opera to burn fiercely. 

With the renowned Tristan chord at the beginning of Tristan and Isolde Wagner doesn’t merely open the opera, he opens a new world of epoch-defining sound that supports a constant state of excitement in which the resolution is forever just beyond our reach. For this, the legend of Tristan and Isolde’s eternal love, with its three acts of orgiastic searching and longing, is deemed to be one of opera’s most sensuous works.

In a letter to friend Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner writes:

“…Having never in life been fortunate to experience true love, I wished to create a monument, a tribute to this most exquisite of all dreams, one in which love, from beginning to end can for once satisfy its hunger….”

Linus Tunström places these lines at the forefront of his interpretation of Tristan and Isolde. We meet the aging artist as he stages this total immersion in love, one he never experienced himself; a love so powerful that it invades one’s life and completely dissolves one’s own ego. He sets in motion an uncontrollable energy, bringing to life a pair of young lovers willing, for the sake of their love, to accept their own annihilation.

Director Linus Tunström writes: 

“The endless waves of music create a pendulum motion, swinging between light and dark, the ideal world and reality, not in the least between life and death. Love is a drug. Desire for the ultimate fulfilment approaches a totalitarian lust. It is a love story laboured forth through an intensive chamber play, in which the absolute climax arrives first in the opera’s final moments.

Linus Tunström has for three decades been one of Sweden’s most established theatre directors, also directing at leading theatres in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. He was managing and artistic director for Uppsala Municipal Theatre  for nine years. Linus has also directed a television series for Swedish National Television, dance productions for Cullberg Ballet, the musical Evita for Malmö Opera and the Cannes award-winning short film, To Be Continued. Tristan and Isolde at Folkoperan will be his debut as director for opera.

Tristan and Isolde at Folkoperan is opening 14th and 15th of October 2020, playing through 22nd of November. 

On stage 

Tristan: Jesper Säll/Daniel Svenson
King Mark: Johan Schinkler
Isolde: Julia Sporsén/Åsa Thyllman
Kurwenal: Joa Helgesson 
Melot/A shepherd: Tor Lind
Brangäne: Elisabeth Leyser
Butoh dancer: Tana Maneva
Folkoperan’s orchestra

Production team

Music and libretto: Richard Wagner
Musical arrangement: Annelies Van Parys
Swedish translation: Eva Ström
Dramaturge: Magnus Lindman
Adaptation: Stefan Johansson
Musical direction and conductor: Marit Strindlund
Director: Linus Tunström
Set and costume design: Maja Ravn
Light design: Clement Irbil
Make-up and hair: Therésia Frisk

Set and costume sketches for Tristan and Isolde at Folkoperan by Maja Ravn.