Tristano e Isotta (anonymous)

“It is the story of Tristan and Iseult, written by an unknown author presumably around 1866. The source of inspiration lies in La tavola ritonda, a popularized version of Tristan en prose written in Italian vernacular at the beginning of the fourteenth century. The anonymous author was probably inspired by Filippo-Luigi Polidori, an Italian philologist who during the 1860s published a critical edition of La tavola ritonda based on several manuscripts.”
Massimiliano Aravecchia, “Il maggio.” Durham SITM Colloquium, 2016.


Scenes from Tristano e Isotta by the Nuova compagnia maggistica di Frassinoro. (The numbers noted in the below scenes refer to the stanza numbers in the printed script.)

Tristano’s pazzia when he mistakenly believes that Isotta loves another:


Tristano asks Isotta to pardon him for his actions and they reconcile; Re Marco sees them together and exiles Tristano:


The couple’s initial parting words:


The couple’s final parting words in an ottava:


Tristano fights Urgano:


Re Artù welcomes Isotta to his court even if it means war with King Mark:


Tristano fights a fellone and is knocked to the ground:


The attentive public:


Tristano defeats the fellone, who sings an ottava:


Re Marco curses Fortuna and all women, then vows to bury Isotta alive and destroy Camelot:


Re Marco and his men fight Re Artù and his men:


Re Marco mortally wounds Tristano by attacking him from behind:


Tristano reconciles with Re Marco before his death and bequeaths his weapons to Lancilotto:


Death of Tristano and Isotta:


Bordo, Bramante and above all Lancilotto mourn the loss; Re Artù vows revenge:


Concluding sonetti:

Frassinoro (MO), 2002.

Introduction to the maggio by Marco Piacentini and medley of excerpts from a 2002 performance by the Nuova compagnia maggistica di Frassinoro can be seen in the documentary Il maggio emiliano (30:40 – 42:09).



Tristano e Isotta
Performed by Nuova compagnia maggistica di Frassinoro (filmed by Otello Ruggi)