Conducted by Daniel Reuss Cappella Amsterdam sing Le vin herbé with soloists Thomas Walker and Carolyn Sampson. This magical masterpiece by the Swiss composer Frank Martin (1890-1974) is given a contemporary adaptation under the direction of Ulrike Quade in an animated decor by the artist duo Wandschappen, with choreography by Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten.
Le vin herbé is named after the ‘herbal wine’ that forges the love between Tristan and Isolde in the medieval epic. In this heartbreaking love story, Tristan and Isolde are both destined to marry another. However, a cruel twist of fate leads them to fall hopelessly in love with each other by accidentally drinking a love potion.
Frank Martin’s chamber opera about the tragic lovers is the opposite of Richard Wagner’s five-hour opulent performance. Compared to Wagner’s giant, Martin’s work, of less than two hours, stands out intimately. But, it is not without reason that Martin’s version is called a ‘secular oratorio’.
Martin’s hypnotic composition and touching story lend themselves perfectly to a multidisciplinary performance. In a frame story consisting of 22 tableaux, the stories are told of Tristan, Isolde and their destined lovers Branghien and King Mark. With the embrace between singing, music, visual theatre, puppetry, dance and design, this medieval story is mystically portrayed with two soloists, twenty-four choir members, eight musicians and six dancers.