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OPERA

'Tristan Project' is eastward bound

Salonen, Sellars and Viola's effort will take the L.A. Philharmonic to New York City.

January 26, 2006|Diane Haithman | Times Staff Writer

HAVING earned plaudits for their experimental take on Wagner's opera "Tristan and Isolde" at Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and music director Esa-Pekka Salonen are now set to take the production to an unusual East Coast site: the Seventh Regiment Armory on New York's Park Avenue.

Lincoln Center will take over the venue to present the "Tristan Project" -- a collaboration by Salonen, director Peter Sellars and video artist Bill Viola that had its world premiere in Los Angeles in late 2004 -- in April and May 2007.

As at Disney Hall, this semi-staged "Tristan" will be presented one act at a time over three nights, but it will also receive two complete performances. A fully staged version conducted by Salonen was mounted last spring at the Paris Opera, which co-produced the venture with the philharmonic.

Salonen will conduct the orchestra for all the New York performances, which will star Christine Brewer as Isolde and Alan Woodrow as Tristan. The cast is also scheduled to include Anne Sofie von Otter and John Relyea.

In addition, the Philharmonic plans to bring the "Tristan Project" -- featuring the same cast as in New York -- back to Disney Hall in 2007 in advance of the New York presentation.

In L.A., "Tristan" will also be presented both as three one-act performances, each preceded by a Debussy work, and in its entirety, with one approximately 5 1/2 -hour semi-staged performance April 18. The philharmonic will announce its complete 2006-07 season schedule in early February.

In New York, the opera will be presented one act at a time and paired with Debussy compositions on consecutive nights beginning April 20, 2007. The two complete performances will take place on the evening of April 27 and the afternoon of May 5.

New York ticket prices for the complete performances will range from $275 to $500, with the latter including a $225 contribution to Lincoln Center. Tickets are $125 for the one-act performances. Ticket prices have not yet been announced for the Los Angeles performances.

Jane Moss, Lincoln Center's vice president of programming, said Tuesday that there would be between 1,500 and 2,000 seats available at the armory and that she was not worried about overpricing. "There are going to be so few tickets available, and it is such a large-scale presentation, that we do not anticipate a problem," she said.

Deborah Borda, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, said Wednesday that there were no plans for the organization to present a fully staged "Tristan" in Los Angeles in the foreseeable future.

"We're not an opera house, we're a symphony house, so it will always be uniquely not an opera production," she said. "Ours will be more suited to Walt Disney Concert Hall and to the 66th Street armory. It is not a proscenium thing."

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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