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Ben Heppner triumphs as Tristan in his long-awaited return to the Canadian Opera Company
February 4, 2013

Melanie Diener as Isolde and Ben Heppner as Tristan in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Tristan und Isolde, 2013.
Melanie Diener as Isolde and Ben Heppner as Tristan in the Canadian Opera Company's production of Tristan und Isolde, 2013. Photographer: Michael Cooper

“Ben Heppner was magnificent Tuesday night on the stage of the Canadian Opera Company. Stunning, open-hearted, in robust and thrilling voice, creating a dramatic homecoming that banished all worrisome thoughts anyone might have had about this remarkable performer…. His Tristan is less a hero and more a tortured, troubled soul, filled with longing, pride, and confusion. This whirlpool of emotions allowed Heppner to play Tristan with an immensely varied palette. For a man with as big a voice as Heppner has, it’s remarkable how many colours and accents he is able to project with it.”



“One expected this Wagnerian production would have a great deal of heft to it…. And indeed it did, with Ben Heppner’s Tristan raging against the pain of love lost, found, then lost again forever, with a power that seared the soul…. Heppner is unquestionably superb as he dives deep into childhood loss, adult pain and eternal regret. As he looks towards his own death, you can see him play out the legendary five stages of grief: denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and, acceptance. It’s a performance of vocal daring and dramatic honesty.”



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