In addition to the cycle of the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle’s programme for the 2015/2016 season included Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, one of the greatest challenges in music history. The most recent performances of the opera by the orchestra were during the period 1998 to 2000 under the direction of Claudio Abbado. In keeping with tradition, the new theatrical production at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden was followed by a concert performance in the Philharmonie. Here, Sir Simon talks about the overwhelming intensity of Wagner’s music, his discussions with Bernard Haitink, and his study of the Tristan scores belonging to Gustav Mahler and Carlos Kleiber. This in-depth introduction includes excerpts from the staging in Baden-Baden.