[Met Performance] CID:115140
Tristan und Isolde {221} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/16/1934.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 16, 1934


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {221}

Tristan.................Paul Althouse
Isolde..................Frida Leider
Kurwenal................Gustav Schützendorf
Brangäne................Maria Olszewska
King Marke..............Ludwig Hofmann
Melot...................Arnold Gabor
Sailor's Voice..........Hans Clemens
Shepherd................Hans Clemens
Steersman...............James Wolfe

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

In the first performance of "Tristan und Isolde" for the season Paul Althouse had the distinction last evening of being the first American to sing its principal male role at the Metropolitan Opera House. The native son acquitted himself with honor. He knew his score, costumed and made up the part well, was a dignified and histrionically commendable knight, and sang his music with intelligence, feeling, and good enunciation of the text. He was perhaps a little too restrained in some passages which would have presented a more heroic front if delivered with more voice. But on the whole it was a very laudable Tristan and will doubtless grow to more imposing proportions.

Frida Leider is always an admirable Isolde. Her voice does not quite meet the exacting demands of some of the more vigorous phrases, but her interpretation last night was deeply felt and eloquently communicated. It was an Isolde rich in beauty and artistic detail. Mme. Olszewska was once more a sterling Brangäne and Mr. Schutzendorf an acceptable Kurvenal. Mr. Hofmann was the King Mark. He brought much resource of expression to the long reproach.

It has become the custom of late at the Metropolitan to sing often to the audience and possibly there may be some excuses for it since acoustics are not ideal. But when Isolde tells the story of the false Tantris to the house while Brangäne stands away across the stage and apparently not interested in the matter, it is difficult to find extenuation. Some finesse in stage management ought to be able to preserve a modicum of dramatic illusion in such scenes. "Tristan und Isolde" is not a mere field for vocal display.

Mr. Bodanzky has grown in popular favor this season, and last evening's multitude bestowed a special demonstration of approval on him before the second and again before the third act. The orchestra played very well indeed and in fact the performance had a general level of musical excellence, with some moments of intensity that seemed to hold the assembly in breathless attention.



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