Seattle Opera continues its 2022-23 season with Richard Wagner’s epic “Tristan and Isolde.” Building on the tradition of Wagner productions in Seattle, “Tristan and Isolde” brings Wagner to the McCaw Hall stage for the first time since 2016, according to a Seattle Opera news release.
Mary Elizabeth Williams, a longtime Seattle Opera favorite, makes her role debut as Isolde, marking a major foray into new Wagnerian repertoire.
Williams, who first sang at Seattle Opera as a Young Artist in the 2000-01 season, appeared most recently as Serena in “Porgy and Bess” in 2018.
For Williams, debuting this role in Seattle has been an opportunity to reflect on her history with the company.
“Seattle Opera has been so many things for me during my career: an incubator, a launching pad, a refiner,” Williams said. “It is only fitting that I would begin my Wagner journey in Seattle. I am overflowing with gratitude.”
Joining Williams is world-renowned heldentenor Stefan Vinke, who made headlines at Seattle Opera as Siegfried in the 2013 Ring cycle. Internationally recognized Wagnerian soprano Amber Wagner makes her Seattle Opera debut as Brangäne, alongside Ryan McKinny as Kurwenal, Morris Robinson as King Marke, and Viktor Antipenko in his Seattle Opera debut as Melot. Heidi Melton will fill the role of Isolde in the Oct. 23 performance. At the helm is Jordan de Souza.
The production comes to Seattle from the Teatro Argentino de la Plata outside Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Seattle Opera General Director Christina Scheppelmann hopes this production will give Seattle audiences a taste of the rich, extensive opera tradition in South America.
“Some of the great opera houses of South America predate those in the United States, and that long tradition has fostered great creativity and imagination,” Scheppelmann said in a release. “This production uses a generous palette of colors and images that, in conjunction with Wagner’s irresistibly powerful music, produces an intensely emotional experience.”
“Tristan and Isolde” runs Oct. 15 through Oct. 29 at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St., with tickets starting at $35. Evening performances are at 6:30 p.m.; Sunday matinee performances begin at 2 p.m. For more information, visit seattleopera.org/tristan.
Rounding out the fall, the Opera Center hosts learning opportunities, recitals and behind-the-scenes exhibits to enhance the experience of “Tristan and Isolde”:
Amber Wagner in Recital
7:30 p.m. Oct. 19, Tagney Jones Hall
Wagner veteran and Seattle Opera debut artist Amber Wagner (Brangäne, Tristan und Isolde) presents an intimate but soaring program with selections ranging from Wagner and Strauss to Bellini, Barber and Gershwin. Get tickets and more information at seattleopera.org/on-stage/amber-wagner-in-recital/.
Opera Talk: Singing like Germans with Kira Thurman & Naomi André
7 p.m. Oct. 20 at Tagney Jones Hall
Free. Join a conversation with Kira Thurman, author of “Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms,” and Seattle Opera scholar-in-residence Dr. Naomi André. Drawing on her experience as a classically trained pianist who grew up in Vienna, Thurman traces the sweeping story of Black musicians performing in Germany and Austria over more than a century.
Get more information and RSVP at seattleopera.org/classes-camps-clubs.