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  • Tick, Tock Tristan Time

    Lorien talking to Sheridan in an episode of Babylon 5.

    There are only two possibilities. If you hit bottom then you are dead. If you did not hit bottom you are still falling and all this is a dream unless you are in-between moments.

    Tick tock, tick tock. Always running out of time

    Yours is almost used up. You are in between seconds, lost in the infinite possibilities between tick and tock.

    Tick you're alive.
    Tock . . . well, it was a good life but a short one.

    Tick, tock, tick tock.

    Seattle Opera's recent production of Tristan und Isolde reminded me of this scene from Babylon 5. A man caught in the moment between life and death. The in-between worlds of Sheridan and Tristan warps time to suit their circumstances. Sheridan allows his love for Delenn to pull him from the in-between world to that of the living even though his feat costs him years off his life. Tristan takes another path. His in-between world allows him to consummate his love for Isolde before he dies.

    Tristan und Isolde is a favorite of mine. Its only flaw is the love potion. From my first encounter with love potions—The Searchers' hit Love Potion No. 9—I've been a skeptic. Really! A liquid that's going to make two people fall passionately in love? Lust maybe, but not the sort of love Tristan und Isolde have for each other.

    Under the direction of Peter Kazaras, Tristan und Isolde became believable for me. The love potion is really a death potion—there isn't any swapping by Brangane. The opera becomes the tale of Tristan's in-between world. His passage from tick to tock. This concept, combined with the extraordinary singing by Annalena Persson and Clifton Forbis, and the rest of this high-caliber, cast created a moving and memorable performance.