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Current Obsession: The Metropolis Case, the best way to get pumped for the COC’s latest opera Tristan und Isolde

Current Obsession: The Metropolis Case, the best way to get pumped for the COC’s latest opera Tristan und Isolde

Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, which opens tonight at the COC, demands total surrender on the part of the audience, both because of the overwhelming melancholy of the harmonically groundbreaking score, and because the production runs almost five hours long (with intermissions, of course). One way to get into the right state of mind: read The Metropolis Case, Matthew Gallaway’s enchanting and multi-layered 2011 novel that tells the story of four characters who seem to have nothing in common other than a connection to Wagner’s magnum opus.

Over the course of the book, mysterious connections begin to emerge between them, and the writing descends into a suitably Tristan-ish key, suffused with morbid longing and erotic charge (although, mercifully, the book is also pretty funny). It’s best read with a good recording of the opera playing in the background.

Andrew D’Cruz is an online editor at Toronto Life. He edits The Dish and The Hype.

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