Svoboda said that, of all of Wagner’s operas, Tristan and Isolde was his favourite – the last time he worked on its staging was with director Jean-Claude Riber at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva. He considered this to be his best design, as he successfully created “an absolute psycho-plastic space”, meaning that he completely eradicated the right-angled shape of the stage. A cyclorama made of studio foil filled the entire niche of the stage, and was curved at the bottom to connect with the floor. This rounded shape gave the macro-projections an entirely new quality. A localising flat appeared only allusively. Behind the panorama, a “Svoboda” striplight moved along its outer perimeter, changing altitude, creating mysterious shadows, and the illusion of daily light changes – the light of the sun or the moon.
Richard Wagner: TRISTAN AND ISOLDE / TRISTAN ET ISOLDE
Grand Théâtre Genève
premiere: 11. 9. 1978
director: Jean-Claude Riber
conductor: Horst Stein
costume designer: Šárka Hejnová
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