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Tristan and Isolde Characters
Tristan and Isolde Sources
Tristan and Isolde principle characters

(In order of appearance)

A young sailor(Tenor) – Sets the scene by singing an annoying ditty about Irish girls in front of Isolde, infuriating her. [Act I: Scenes 1-2]

Isolde (Soprano) – Is an Irish princess. She was originally taken to be King Marke’s wife, but after drinking a magic potion, became Tristan’s unconsummated lover. [Act I: Scenes 1-5; Act II: Scenes 1-3; Act III: Scenes 2-3]

Brangäne(Soprano) – Is Isolde’s companion and maid. She spends most of her time attempting to console or reason with Isolde throughout the opera. It is Brangäne who mixes the potions in the first act, offering Tristan and Isolde a love potion instead of a death draught. Brangäne also confesses this to King Marke, attempting to save the lovers before the opera’s end. [Act I: Scenes 1-5; Act II: Scenes 1&3; Act III: Scene 3]

Kurwenal (Baritone) – Is Tristan’s companion and squire. He is Tristan’s only trusted friend and stays by his side, even when his love for Isolde goes against the King. After Tristan is mortally wounded, Kurwenal takes him back to his castle to nurse him back to health. Kurwenal dies defending Tristan’s honor after killing Melot and attempting to kill King Marke. [Act I: Scenes 2&4; Act II: Scene 3; Act III: Scenes 1&3]

Tristan (Tenor) – Is a trustworthy knight from Cornwall and King Marke’s nephew. He originally introduced himself to Isolde sometime earlier as Tantris, after mortally wounding her fiancé in battle. After drinking a love potion, he and Isolde become lovers. [Act I: Scenes 2&5; Act II: Scenes 2-3; Act III: Scenes 1-3]

Melot (Tenor) – Is a courtier at King Marke’s court. Once a friend of Tristan, Melot spies on him and plans to denounce their love in front of the king, and is subsequently killed during the action. [Act II: Scene 3; Act III: Scene 3]

King Marke (Bass) – Is the King of Cornwall and Tristan’s uncle. [Act II: Scene 3; Act III: Scene 3]

A Shepherd (Tenor) – Plays a song of lament upon his pipe until he sees a ship on the horizon. Then he switches his tune to one of joy and cheerfulness. [Act III: Scenes 1&3]

A Steersman (Baritone) – Tells Kurwenal that resistance is futile as King Marke and his men storm through the gates of Kareol. [Act III: Scene 3]

Chorus with additional sailors, knights, and squires

Tristan and Isolde
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Copyright ©2007 by Matthew Heisterman and John Weinstock, All Rights Reserved

Motive Clips by Deutsche Grammophon  |  Based on Work by Rachel Mitchell and Christine Emily Boone