Le Vin herbé | Welsh National Opera

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SummaryBack to top

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Production

★★★★ The Guardian

★★★★ The Independent

★★★★ The Stage

★★★★The Telegraph

‘sublimely sung... a vividly poignant marriage of music and theatre’

The Independent

Alongside the very familiar La bohème and Madam Butterfly, we’re also offering something off the beaten track in Spring 2017. Many opera-goers will be familiar with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde but Frank Martin’s intimate opera offers a very different take on the legend. This rarely staged production of this exquisite and elegant tragedy promises a truly intoxicating experience. Tristan and Iseult are enemies brought together when they mistakenly drink a love potion. Their affair inevitably leads to a tragedy. 

Iseult the Fair, Princess of Ireland, is being taken by sea to marry King Mark of Cornwall by Mark’s nephew, Tristan. She is deeply unhappy and hates Tristan for taking her away from her homeland and for having killed her fiancé in battle. During the journey they mistakenly drink a love potion concocted by Iseult’s mother and intended for Iseult and Mark on their wedding night. Tristan and Iseult fall hopelessly and irrevocably in love.

The lovers run away from King Mark’s court to live in the wild. Mark discovers them sleeping but leaves them unharmed. Tristan and Iseult regret the hurt they have caused others and themselves. Iseult returns to King Mark and Tristan to his homeland of Brittany.

Years pass and Tristan marries Iseult of the White Hands. When he is fatally wounded in battle, he longs to see Iseult the Fair one last time. She returns to him but too late; Tristan is dead. Iseult lies down to die beside him.

  • Performances start at 7.15pm
  • Running time approximately one hour 50 minutes with no interval
  • Sung in English with surtitles in English (and Welsh in Cardiff and Llandudno) 


English translation by Hugh Macdonald

For details on production dates, times and pricing please click on your chosen venue on the right.

Cast & CreativeBack to top

Conductor James Southall
Director Polly Graham
Designer April Dalton
Lighting Designer Tim Mitchell
Musical Preparation David Doidge, James Southall, Stephen Wood
Movement Director Jo Fong
Staff Director Matthew Holmquist
Production Manager Richard Norton
Stage Manager Katie Heath-Jones
Deputy Stage Manager Jenni Price

Storytellers Full Company
Iseult’s mother Catherine Wyn-Rogers
Iseult the Fair Princess of Ireland Caitlin Hulcup
Brangien her companion Rosie Hay
Mark King of Cornwall Howard Kirk
Tristan his nephew Tom Randle
Duke Hoël a nobleman of Brittany Stephen Wells
Kaherdin his son Gareth Dafydd Morris
Iseult of the White Hands his daughter Sian Meinir
Solo narrators Anitra Blaxhall, Rosie Hay, Sarah Pope, Joe Roche, Howard Kirk, Stephen Wells, Catherine Wyn-Rogers

VideoBack to top