Tristan und Isolde  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Tristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde) is an opera in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based largely on the romance by Gottfried von Straßburg, which in turn was based on the story of Tristan and Iseult as told in French by Thomas of Britain. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and received its first performance in Munich on 10 June 1865.

The story of Tristan and Isolde was one of the quintessential romances of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Several versions exist, the earliest dating to the middle of the 12th century. Gottfried's version was of the so called "courtly" branch of the tradition, and had a huge influence on later German literature. Gottfried's emphasis on themes of courtly love and chivalry informed Wagner's retelling.


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