Production photo of Tristan und Isolde ©ROH/Bill Cooper, 2009

Tristan und Isolde

27 April11 May 2020
The performance lasts about 4 hours 55 minutes, including two intervals
Main Stage
Opera and music

Performances of this production have been cancelled as the Royal Opera House is currently closed. Find out about other cancelled performances and how you can donate the cost of your ticket, exchange for a voucher or claim a refund here.

Richard Wagner described Tristan und Isolde as ‘the most audacious and original work of my life’. The opera is a landmark in Western music. Wagner’s musical innovations, daring use of harmony and depiction of extreme emotions have influenced generations of artists. The opera draws on the Celtic legend of Tristan and Iseult, and explores the theme of eternal love through sublime music.

The divide between the real and the metaphysical worlds is powerfully conveyed in Christof Loy’s contemporary production. King Marke’s court is depicted as an elegant dinner party, divided from the world of Tristan and Isolde’s transcendent love by a curtain. As the opera progresses, the characters move between the sphere of private emotions at the front of the stage and the artificial ‘public world’ at the back. Loy’s subtle staging draws attention to the beauty of Wagner’s score, highlights of which include the Act I Prelude, the lovers’ ecstatic duet in Act II and Isolde’s Act III aria ‘Mild und leise’, in which she bids farewell to the world.

Sung in German with English surtitles

Generous philanthropic support from

The Goldhammer Foundation, Malcolm Herring, the Tristan and Isolde Production Syndicate, the Wagner Circle and an anonymous donor.

Young ROH is generously made possible by

The Bunting Family and Sir Simon Robey.

A co-production with:



Tristan and Isolde have fallen in love – but Tristan has promised that Isolde will marry his uncle, King Marke. Isolde offers Tristan a deathly potion. Rather than bring death, it binds them still closer together.

After her marriage to Marke, Isolde continues to meet Tristan in secret. One night they are betrayed, and Tristan allows himself to be wounded. King Marke permits the lovers to be reunited, but too late. Tristan dies on Isolde’s arrival and Isolde withdraws from the world.


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicRichard Wagner

LibrettoRichard Wagner

DirectorChristof Loy

Revival DirectorJulia Burbach

DesignerJohannes Leiacker

Lighting designerOlaf Winter

DramaturgMarion Tiedtke


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.