"Tristan is all stops-out, outrageous music theatre, incredibly intimate, brazen and seductive – a recital gone mad, the dark side death-wish of 19th century opera laid bare.
“Tristan” tells you all you never wanted to know about Wagner but were afraid someone would ask. Why do all the women die in soaring ecstasy about half an hour after the men have carked it? What exactly are those suppurating slit-like wounds in Tristan and Parsifal which never heal? And just what is it with the big bosoms anyway?
This work is thought-provoking, intelligent and clearly funny for those who enjoy examining the boundaries of sexuality, as in the way Tristan picks at his wound."
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, May 17, 1999
"Tristan is the third and final work in The opera Project’s Romantic Trilogy.
As with previous opera Project works, Tristan is derived from a work that audiences are oddly intent upon revisiting time and time again. And again, it explores the issues of gender representation in the theatre – the transgressive heroine (Isolde) and the nature of the “feminised” hero (Tristan).
Like other opera Project works, “Tristan” is ambitious. It sets out to challenge the way “the work” functions as a classic, the way it represents romance, sex and gender, what makes it tick."
Leigh Raymond, Sydney Star Obsever, May 20, 1999
"In this Tristan, the hero (Nigel Kellaway) barge-bound, adrift in limbo, and not as dead as he’d like to be, floats into a song recital delivered by a wounded but majestic “no-bullsit-please” soprano (Annette Tesoriero). Is this his Isolde? Or is it the miscast actress (Regina Heilmann) who dispassionately pursues him? Or is it the distant, dancing figure (Xu Fengshan) of his dream of transcendence? Keeping things barely under control is Tristan’s minder (Jai McHenry), a doctor of philosophy, medicine “and everything” with the deathwish of Schopenhauer, the psychosis of Dr Miracle (the soprano killer in The Tales of Hoffmann), the demeanour of Dr Caligari and the ‘optimism’ of Hitler’s favourite, Oswald Spengler.
Stylish, surprising, gutsy and intelligent and, as a result, thoroughly engaging … this production heaps image on image, idea on idea until it reaches a crescendo."
Stewart Hawkins, The Daily Telegraph, May 21, 1999