The Beauty of Tristan and Isolde

Hey gang! I know that I haven't posted anything in a while but I have been very busy making preparations for a new project as well as embarking upon the next leg of my journey towards a Master's degree that I plan to get next year before I pursue my doctorate. Anyway, some inner voice told me to go and rent the 2006 movie version of the classic Tristan and isolde story starring James Franco. Admittedly, I went to the theatre with bated breath anticipating a spectacle that would have made Wagner proud and initially I was disappointed. How dare they leave out the potion exchange between the two lovers on the ship that is headed towards King Mark's land???? (as a sidenote, someone said in the Special Features section of the DVD that the potion was taken out because it created love between them when Tristan and Isolde drank it in a cup unwittingly, but this reading is clearly wrong: the potion only brought out feelings that were already there!) What about the Liebestod where Isolde mentions love as a transcendental force that can even conquer death? Well, at least they DID hint at the idea in the movie:). Now let's fast forward four years in the present time: I watched it last night and got teary-eared at the end ( I have no qualms being a man and saying that! lol) Then, I was compelled to watch the Special Features section and then I got it: if the filmmakers were attempting to Wagnerize the feature film that would have to be palatable to the general audience, it would have been an abominable mistake!Why? Well, for starters, Film and Opera renditions are different manifestations of Art which require different approaches to the material at hand. Second, I truly appreciate the care of attention and detail the project had in addition to the wonderful performances of James Franco (Tristan), Rufus Sewell (King Mark) and the lovely Sophia Myles (what a hottie!). Long ago, I watched a movie version "Lovespell",  starring Nicholas Clay as Tristan (who played Lancelot in one of my all-time favorite films, "Excalibur"), Kate Mulgrew as Isolde (Captain Janeway in the Star Trek TV series "Voyager" among other things in which she has appeared) and----get this---the late great actor Richard Burton as King Mark! If any of you have any ideas how I could procure a copy of this version on DVD, I would be eternally grateful:) So why has the legend of Tristan and Isolde, two star-crossed lovers, that are pre-Romeo and Juliet Elizabethan era, so endearing, so immortal in our hearts, minds, and souls? Well, I can only speak for myself by saying that they are indicative of the idea of human love as an inextinguishable flame that burns eternally if it is ignited by two people who are right for each other. No matter the circumstances, no matter the obligations of honor and duty, love is a true force that permeates and ultimately dominates destiny if allowed, regrdless of either blissful or tragic results. Love is the conflagration of souls that constantly burn for each other. Unfortunately for Tristan and Isolde, the flame consumed their existence, but when they were alive, the flame kept them alive in a barren world of desolation and tradition. I hinted in my own way about this kind of love, this Liebestod (pronounced LEE-beh-Shtode) or translated from German as Love/Death in my song "The Knight and the Queen" but fortunately, my protoganists did not die from mortal wounds, sorrow, or jumping into flames in order to be cleansed of an ancient curse like two other doomed Wagnerian lovers, Siegfried and Brunnhilde. My characters in the song have a flame that burns and is sustained throughout their lives. What is the beauty of Tristan and Isolde? In my opinion, it is simply the willingness and openness to subject oneself to what true love can give you. "When you reached out to me, it was not hard to see that true romance was not just a dream for the Knight and the Queen"...BKT P.S. How could I forget Anne Dudley's excellent score?:)

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