[Met Performance] CID:139410
Tristan und Isolde {312} Lyric Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland: 04/3/1945.

(Review)


Baltimore, Maryland
April 3, 1945


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {312}

Tristan.................Lauritz Melchior
Isolde..................Helen Traubel
Kurwenal................Herbert Janssen
Brangäne................Kerstin Thorborg
King Marke..............Emanuel List
Melot...................Emery Darcy
Sailor's Voice..........John Garris
Shepherd................John Garris
Steersman...............Gerhard Pechner

Conductor...............Erich Leinsdorf


Review of Robert B. Cochrane in the Baltimore Times

The Metropolitan Opera Association last night concluded its 1945 spring season in Baltimore and the Lyric Company's silver anniversary celebration with a commanding performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde."

Erich Leinsdorf was the conductor, and gave the powerful music a reading of considerable intensity and melting beauty. Lauritz Melchior and Helen Traubel sang the respective title roles with the energy and sustaining power demanded so imperiously by Wagnerian scores. Kerstin Thorborg was an excellent Brangaene; Emanuel List was a regal King Marke, Emery Darcy did well with the bit role of Melot, and Herbert Janssen was a passable Kurvenal. Lesser parts were handled by John Garris and Gerhard Pechner.

Miss Traubel Triumphs

Miss Traubel's Isolde is a well conceived portrayal. It has authority and style, but most of all she has the vocal resources to meet with apparent ease the terrific demands for volume and quality and control and sustaining power that are written into Isolde's lines. Her great scene with Miss Thorborg in the first act was a consummate picture of an Irish princess, rebellious, imperious, temperamental, demanding.

Wagnerian Champion

Her love duet with Mr. Melchior in the second act was another scene in which persuasive singing, particularly in her control and shading of dynamics, melted into the orchestral score with superb effect. A deadline, unfortunately, prevented our hearing of the "Liebestod." But reports said these soaring passages were glorious and triumphant.

Mr. Melchior is the Metropolitan's long-distance champion at Wagnerian opera, his performances of "Tristan" alone numbering about 200. He is particularly in his element in the forceful passages where the orchestration calls for his blazing best, the heroic tenor in full voice, and his Tristan is a character that is etched deeply with understanding and with musical picturization.

The action of Wagnerian music dramas is woven into the score so skillfully that it needs must move at a majestic pace in step with the titanic tides of orchestral sound. But the emotions are deep and primal, for all their sharp contrast to the flashy activity of Italian opera.

Other Principals and Settings

Mr. Leinsdorf's interpretation gave the opera an unusual unity, a fine proportion and a cumulative intensity that projected the shifting mood and spirit of the music with dramatic effect. The tempos were maintained with a zeal that sliced minutes off the usual running time of each act, and kept the rich fabric of the music unfolding like a tonal tapestry of vast beauty. The orchestra was his in all its power, and he played on it with penetrating artistry.

Miss Thorborg's portrayal of Brangaene was capably and gratefully done with personal grace and vocal power.



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