Opera: Richard und Ludwig

Most Wagnerian productions are mounted either in Cecil B. DeMille rococo or, in recent years, Bayreuth Freudian. Last week, for a change, Munich's National Theater opened a new Tristan und Isolde that dispensed almost entirely with theatrical effects, set the most important scenes in near-darkness. Explained Director Rudolf Hartmann: "I wanted this to be a Tristan in which the main interpretation was left to the music." His concern, which would have delighted Richard Wagner, suited the occasion: the 100th anniversary of Tristan's première—also in Munich.

The opera's first production was almost as...

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