[Met Performance] CID:124730
Tristan und Isolde {267} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/16/1939.

(Debut: Herbert Alsen
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 16, 1939


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {267}

Tristan.................Lauritz Melchior
Isolde..................Kirsten Flagstad
Kurwenal................Hans Hermann Nissen
Brangäne................Karin Branzell
King Marke..............Herbert Alsen [Debut]
Melot...................Arnold Gabor
Sailor's Voice..........Erich Witte
Shepherd................Karl Laufkötter
Steersman...............Louis D'Angelo

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

Unsigned review in the Herald Tribune

"Tristan" Sung Again at the Metropolitan

Wagner's Opera Heard for 5th Time, With New King Marke, Flagstad, Melchior

Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" had its fifth performance of the season last evening at the Metropolitan Opera House. The cast, with two exceptions, was the familiar one of recent hearings. The exceptions were the Brangäne of Karin Branzell, who has rejoined the Metropolitan company for the remainder of the season; and the King Marke of the German singer, Herbert Alsen, who was making his debut.

The Brangäne of Mme. Branzell has long been a familiar impersonation at the Metropolitan and its feeling and musicianship were admirable again last night. Mr. Alsen is a young man who has sung in various European opera houses among them, it is said, at Salzburg under Toscanini. It is possible that Mr. Alsen was nervous last evening and that he will sing with a steadier vocal line and more assurance as an actor at his next appearance.

The title roles were in the care of their foremost living exponents, Kirsten Flagstad and Lauritz Melchior, without whom no performance of the uncompanioned opera is satisfying to the New York public. Mme. Flagstad was again, as she has so often been, the beautiful and radiant embodiment of Wagner's Irish princess and Mr. Melchior summoned the tragic and impassioned image of the hero. Hans Hermann Nissen was a touching Kurvenal and the lesser parts were in their customary hands. Mr. Bodanzky, who conducted, was the object of a particularly fervent demonstration when he appeared before the orchestra to begin the introduction to the final act.

The scenery now used for the castle and trysting place of the second act is apparently that of an earlier setting at the Metropolitan, a vast improvement on the cold and fortress-like conception which it has displaced. In the setting used last night there is a genuine and poetical evocation of Wagner's conception - that "garden with high trees" on a clear warm summer night, which held such magic and such ecstasy.



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