The 2010/11 Birmingham International Concert Season opens on Thursday 23 September at Symphony Hall with a UK premiere and one of the highlights of the cultural calendar. Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde is an unmissable event – a major collaboration between conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, film artist Bill Viola and artistic collaborator Peter Sellars. Esa-Pekka Salonen has described the project as ?one of the greatest experiences of my artistic life?. Set against the evocative and stunning visuals of the celebrated film artist Bill Viola, the Philharmonia Orchestra is joined by soloists Gary Lehman and Violeta Urmana (in the title roles), Anne Sofie von Otter and John Relyea in Wagner?s hymn of love and death.

The work was premiered in Los Angeles in 2004 and revived in Paris and New York to great acclaim. The 2010 run takes in Lucerne and Dortmund before coming to Birmingham and London. Esa-Pekka Salonen considers Bill Viola to be ?the most important video artist in the world today. His language is perfect for Wagner … the images are hauntingly beautiful, and once you have seen them you never forget them.?

Bill Viola is internationally recognised as one of the world?s leading artists and has been instrumental in establishing video as a vital form of contemporary art. For over 35 years he has created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast. Viola has exhibited at museums worldwide including the National Gallery, London and his work is to be found in many distinguished collections.

Andrew Jowett, Director of Town Hall and Symphony Hall said, ?this is one of the most exciting and internationally important performances we have ever staged at Symphony Hall and reinforces Birmingham?s bid to be the UK City of Culture 2013.?

Wagner?s Tristan und Isolde is at Symphony Hall on Thursday 23 September (5.30pm). Tickets available from the Box Office on 0121 780 3333 or on-line at


Note to Editors

Thursday 23 September, 5.30pm, Symphony Hall
Philharmonia Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

Soloists: Gary Lehman Tristan, Violeta Urmana Isolde, Anne-Sofie von Otter Brangäne, John Relyea King Marke, Jukka Rasilaninen Kurwenal, Stephen Gadd Melot, Andrew Kennedy Shepherd/Sailor, Darren Jeffery Helmsman

Philharmonia Voices
Peter Sellars artistic collaborator
Concert performance with visual projections. Sung in German with English surtitles
Tickets: £5-£60* (with concessions)
Event page

External weblinks
Bill Viola
Philharmonia Orchestra

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*(£2 fee per transaction on all bookings except those made in person at the box office)
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Town Hall and Symphony Hall are managed together by Performances Birmingham Limited, a registered charity. Between them, the two halls present an exciting and varied programme of over 600 concerts and events a year, designed to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds. Over 500,000 people visit Town Hall and Symphony Hall annually, and a thriving Education and Community department reaches a further 10,000 people of all ages.

Town Hall Birmingham re-opened in October 2007 following a £35m renovation funded by Birmingham City Council (£18.3m), Heritage Lottery Fund (£13.7m), European Regional Development Fund (£3m).

Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham are proud to support Birmingham?s bid to be the UK?s first City of Culture in 2013.

Fiona Fraser
Press & PR Manager
T 0121 644 5008 (Direct)

Lyle Bignon
Assistant Press & PR Manager
T 0121 644 6028 (Direct)

Issue date: 14 June 2010