Small Vermont town, big Wagner opera

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BRATTLEBORO — The new production company TUNDI - short for Tristan und Isolde - will presents Richard Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde" in two performances at the Latchis Theatre, 50 Main St., at 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. and Sunday.

Music Director Hugh Keelan leads a cast that includes Alan Schneider as Tristan, Jenna Rae as Isolde, Cailin Marcel Manson as Kurvenal, Roseanne Acklerley as Brangaene, Charles Martin as Marke, James Anderson as Melot, Kevin Courtemanche as Young Sailor, Stanley Wilson as Shepherd, and Dennis Ryan as Steersman, plus a chorus and the TUNDI Festival Orchestra. Production advisor is Rebecca Turner.

"Tristan und Isolde" is one of the great love stories of world literature, with roots ranging from Persian and Arthurian legend to medieval French romance. Wagner's version, first performed in 1865, changed the face of music theater forever. It tells of bitter hatred turned to uncontrollable passion; of betrayal, forgiveness and redemption; of death, and love beyond death.

Because of the demands it makes on producers and performers, it's extremely rare to see "Tristan und Isolde" done outside of big cities with major opera houses. Here's a rare opportunity to see it and hear it inside the intimate 750-seat Latchis Theatre.

The production, staged with orchestra, integrates scenery, costume, lighting and video projections, along with English supertitles.

"This will be an all-encompassing experience. The theater has you right inside the action. You'll find yourself immersed in the swelling of the waves, the love garden, and the transcendence of love and death," said Producer/Conductor Hugh Keelan.

The performances run six hours, which includes a 70-minute intermission and a 45-minute intermission.

Wagner Festival Day on Saturday will feature numerous events, including a discussion of the opera with Maestro Hugh Keelan, a performance at 2:30 p.m. of Wagner's "Wesendonk Lieder" with Rebecca Turner, a Wagner concert with TUNDI performers at 3:30 p.m., a hike and a "Pick Your Poison" cocktail hour.

Details about the performances and all festival events are available at tundiproductions.org, where you can also purchase tickets, which range from $25 to $250.

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