Vienna will stream notorious Tristan tomorrow

Vienna will stream notorious Tristan tomorrow


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2022

The Calixto Bieito production of Tristan und Isolde, described as Vienna’s ‘most terrible, dilettante performance’, can be seen tomorrow on the Staatsoper channel, here. (You will be required to register, but it’s free).

Our critic Larry L. Lash advises: ‘Whereas Dominique Meyer offered free streaming of operas and dance evenings several times a month, Bogdan Roščić has shut down the platform and shows only a few performances each season on the company’s website. They are also taken down rather quickly. A new ballet (to Haydn’s “Die Jahreszeiten”) will be streamed on Saturday, so it is likely the “Tristan” will only be available until then.’


  • Larry L. Lash says:

    The Staatsoper livestreams are still free – but they have been drastically reduced in number by Roščić.

    • Imbrod says:

      It’s silly to compare streaming policy during Covid lockdown with today’s more open situation. For over a year every opera house that could muster the technology was giving it away; each house has retreated to a policy which suits their perceived needs. The Met tap has been shut off, though season premieres generally make it to public television toward the end of the season. Munich provides a few free streams for a limited time, as before. I don’t find Vienna’s occasional offerings particularly stingy.

  • zayin says:

    Oh goody, who can say no to Wagner and bare bottoms?

    Seriously though, when the Met telecasted Akhnaten, all the nudity was changed, the singer was covered up and the camera zoomed in on the face.

    Rated R on stage, but rated G in the cinema.

    Sorry, can’t have a visual record of the naughty bits for posterity.

    • Kenny says:

      Well, at least The Met played Akhnaten and televised the G spots. We never did get a Moses und Aron telecast in 99-03.

      • zayin says:

        Apparently the Met’s 1999 Moses und Aron was PG rated even on stage:

        “Forgive my cynicism if I attribute the opera’s box office success at the New York City Opera nine years ago in good part to scenes of carnality involving performers naked as jaybirds. ”Moses und Aron” virtually promises full-frontal titillation, but at the Met the binocular crowd will have to make do with writhing sports bras and white cotton underpants.”

        An aside: My God, I just read this Bernard Holland review, he wrote with such verve and depth, it compels you to read the review from beginning to end, I don’t know how we managed to suffer through Anthony Tommasini’s dry thin techno reviews all these years. I hope Zachary Woolfe returns the NYT classical section to its better days.

    • IP says:

      I agree that having any clothes on in a Glass opera is totally at odds with the musical content.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • wiener says:


  • Hugh Kerr says:

    Watching it crap production but well sung so far!

    • Michael says:

      I was completely confused but also intrigued by the production, but thought not only was it one of the best sung performances of Tristan I have seen but also give 10/10 for the commitment of the singers in what must been a very difficult and complex staging – however odd/confusing/ridiculous at times – to sing in. I also “enjoyed” it more than many dull traditional performances – however brilliantly sung – I have seen over 50 years. I’ve written before how I think Wagner would have loved the inventiveness of “Regietheater” (I think he’d have called it using your imagination!): he would certainly have been chuckling at this Tristan und Isolde.

  • Bloom says:

    The whole stuff is sensational.Boo to the booers. First of all, very beautifully conducted, sung and acted ( special mention for Mr.Jordan and Mr.Schager ). And also an inspired stage concept able to convey both the mystery and the extreme power of Wagner s monster opera to the contemporary audience.

  • zayin says:

    Conclusion on viewing:

    There is only so much one can do to make things happen on stage, only so many breasts and penises and asses one can fit on a single stage, because at the end of the day, Tristan und Isolde remains stubbornly the “park and bark” opera that it is.

    And this production is no exception.

  • Kareol-resident says:

    ‘The Calixto Bieito production of Tristan und Isolde, described as Vienna’s ‘most terrible, dilettante performance’’ – not by every critic or audience member (read the reviews). Having seen it yesterday via the excellent stream – pretty well filmed and recorded, I’d say it was a very serious piece of work and elicited performances which were outstanding from Tristan, Isolde, Kurwenal especially. What agenda has SD got on this production? A personal problem with Bieito? Not all his work conveys the message he has in his mind clearly, and his aesthetic is very personal though completely rigorous. But to dismiss this kind of work as dilettante is ludicrous and lazy. ‘Tristan und Isolde’ is as bleak as it gets in this production and I find that very much in the spirit of the piece: nihilism and self-absorption writ large. The piece is painful and we love it for that. This production recognises that pain. Bravo.