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Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s memorable performance of Tristan und Isolde


There has been massive interest from around the country and overseas for the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s (TSO) performance of Tristan und Isolde.

In a TSO first, proving that high-end cultural tourism is a very real phenomenon, interstate and international visitors comprised 55% of individual ticket buyers at the Orchestra’s concert performance of excerpts from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in Hobart last Saturday night, 19 November.

In an extraordinary coup for the TSO, Swedish soprano Nina Stemme – who was described by the New York Times as “the world’s reigning Isolde” – and Australian tenor Stuart Skelton sang the title roles, fresh from their successes in the same work at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

This was Nina Stemme’s first and only engagement in Australia and the first time that Stuart Skelton had sung the role of Tristan in Australia, having already performed it to acclaim in London, Baden-Baden and New York.

Both singers, together with TSO Chief Conductor Marko Letonja and Slovenian mezzo-soprano Monika Bohinec, who sang the role of Brangäne, were greeted ecstatically by the audience, receiving a rapturous standing ovation within seconds of the final chord dying away.

“Our data tell us that concert-goers travelled from every state of Australia as well as the Australian Capital Territory for this performance,” said Nicholas Heyward, TSO Managing Director.

“We also know that the concert attracted visitors from New Zealand, the United States and Europe.

“The TSO, under Marko Letonja, enjoys a high national profile from broadcasting and recording. Add two international operatic superstars and it makes for a very attractive package indeed!

“For many, it was their first visit to our island state and they were keen to stay a while and take in the food, wine, art and cultural heritage of Tasmania.”