Festivals: Wagner Perfumed

There is no doubt that Wagner's Tristan und Isolde is an opera about sex. But how sexy it is depends on whether the audience relies more on its eyes or its ears. While the score throbs with passion, most of the dramatic action takes place in the souls of the title characters, with very little left for the stage.

The result is that in most productions, Tristan and Isolde are lovers who seem to forget that they have bodies. Sometimes the audience wishes it could forget too, in view of the age and bulk...

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