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Spirit in the Flesh: Physical Engagement and the Creation of Meaning


  • Anne K. Hege

    (Princeton University)


The Tristan Project, directed by Peter Sellars, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen, and with video art by Bill Viola, is a multimedia adaptation of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan Und Isolde (1859) that premiered in 2005 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The production was edited and presented in New York's Avery Fisher Hall in the spring of 2007 (which I attended). The Tristan Project is an unstaged version of the traditional opera. Sellars uses sparse spatialization of various instrumental and vocal solos, spare props, subtle costumes, and limited movement to enhance the live performance while remaining in balance with the video elements. In the Avery Fisher Hall performance, video was projected onto two long panels hung side by side over the stage for the first act, replaced by a single larger panel for the second and third act. Super-titles were projected to the side of the video panels and the orchestra occupied the stage.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne K. Hege, 2012. "Spirit in the Flesh: Physical Engagement and the Creation of Meaning," Working Papers 1442, Princeton University, School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cpanda:48

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    video art; music; multimedia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature


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