Dudamel to conduct Peter Sellars Tristan

Dudamel to conduct Peter Sellars Tristan


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2022

Meanwhile in La-la land…

Peter Sellars will direct Los Angeles Philharmonic performances of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. The LA Phil are joined by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, led by Grant Gershon. The title roles are sung by Michael Weinius and Miina-Liisa Värelä.

There will be two cycles of three performances (one act per performance) on December 9-11 and December 15-17.


  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    The same team Sellars-Dudamel he’s supposed to be in Paris early 23.

    • sonicsinfonia says:

      Essentially the same production in concert and opera house versions, using the Bill Viola video, devised with Esa-Pekka Salonen for LAPO and the Paris Opera 2004/5 and later toured around the world.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    3 acts, 3 nights. Why? Is the attention span of the audience so limited or is it that the seats in the auditorium are too butt numbing for 5 hrs at one sitting?

    • music lover says:

      It´s done quite often this way.Also because symphony orchestras are often not used to play for such a long time.Sometimes each act is combined with some interesting piece in some way connected to Tristan.Donald Runnicles did this in his marvellous performance with the BBC Symphony(also recorded for Warner Classics)at the Barbican in 2003.

    • Gerry says:

      All of the above. It may also have something to do with musicians’ fees.

    • Bru says:

      Clearly you have never attended this type of event. Your ignorance is embarrassing

  • MacroV says:

    I assume they’ll be pairing each act with some other “related” work, as Salonen did with the Tristan Project about 15 years ago. Not a bad idea, though doing the whole show in one night – while quite a slog – is also quite the experience, and an unusual (and unusually long) one for a symphony orchestra. Probably a lot less overtime pay involved with the way they will do it.

  • Rabengeraun says:

    Lenny stretched this opera over a whole year in Munich back in 1981

  • Rob says:

    To be renamed Tristan and Starbucks. The lemonade version, all fizz no depth.

    • JB says:

      I remember one critic for whom the Bill Viola videos recalled ads for shower gel.

    • music lover says:

      Have you heard and seen it yet?

      • Hugo Preuß says:

        Nope, but if Wagner intended it to stretch out over three evenings, he could have told us. He didn’t. This isn’t the Bach Christmas Oratorio, where the six cantatas were indeed delivered on six different days. There are enough one act operas. Nobody is forced to do Tristan. But if they do, they should respect the composer.

  • M McGrath says:

    Looks like a potentially interesting production with Sellars. But does Dudamel do a credible Wagner?

    Now: one act per evening? One imagines the singers will be super fresh for each act and we wouldn’t have the usual exhausted Tristan in III. (Oh, wait, this is just replicating a recording session!) Will evenings 2 and 3 have a 10-minute film noir style review of the story to start things off? I wonder less and less why audiences stay away.

    I wonder if excerpts will be streamed on Tik Tok for those with really short attention spans?

    • V.Lind says:

      Not all symphony fans are opera fans. Breaking it up to make it an opera-in-concert version and part of an evening at the Phil makes perfect sense to me. I took someone to Tristan once and he slept through most of it.

    • music lover says:

      Symphony orchestras are not used to play 4 hours in one go.Bernstein,Runnicles,Salonen,Asher Fisch and many more did it spliced over three evenings.

  • Herr Forkenspoon says:

    Maybe they stay away because they don’t like the music or the prices, or the traffic, or, or, or.

  • Tamino says:

    Really? You have to throw yourself into LA traffic three times over three days to hear ONE Tristan?

  • Karl Keller says:

    Dudamel conducting “Tristan”?? May the all mighty have mercy on our souls…