[Met Performance] CID:139440
Tristan und Isolde {313} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/6/1945.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 6, 1945


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {313}

Tristan.................Arthur Carron
Isolde..................Helen Traubel
Kurwenal................Osie Hawkins
Brangäne................Kerstin Thorborg
King Marke..............Alexander Kipnis
Melot...................Emery Darcy
Sailor's Voice..........John Garris
Shepherd................John Garris
Steersman...............Gerhard Pechner

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

Review of Elinor Hughes in the Boston Herald

'Tristan und Isolde'

Before an enormous, attentive and rather subdued audience, the Metropolitan Opera Association presented its first performance in Boston in five years of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" at the Boston Opera House last evening. Not since Flagstad and Melchior last sang the colossal roles has this opera been done in Boston, possibly because the Metropolitan did not feel like attempting it without them, possibly because there may have been the feeling the Wagner, in time of war with Wagner's countrymen, wasn't such a good idea. So far as the latter objection is concerned, there was certainly no evidence of disapproval last night, definitely the opposite, for though I have seen more demonstrative audiences, there were no vacant seats to be seen anywhere in the huge Opera House. As for the former, Helen Traubel, singing Isolde for the first time here, proved herself an interpreter of heroic vocal equipment, and Arthur Carron, if not an inspired Tristan, was able to compass the music and give an acceptable performance.

Comparing her previous appearances in recital with her performance last night, there can be but little question that Miss Traubel's best medium is the operatic stage for the voice is of such range and volume that it needs the huge theater and the support of an orchestra to bring it out to its finest richness of expression. Last night, the singer compassed with equal success the violence and passion of the first act and the soft and sensuous beauty of the second, neither forcing the low notes nor reaching for the high ones. Into her singing, however, she puts the impression lacking as yet in her acting which is conventional, mannered and without warmth. Arthur Carron, singing his first Tristan in Boston, was not Miss Traubel's vocal equal, and seemed under wraps until the touching plea to Isolde at the end of the second act, which he delivered with real tenderness and feeling, and then went on to instill considerable fire into the delirium of the final scene.

Kerstin Thorborg's Brangaene is so fine, both vocally and dramatically, that further comment seems superfluous, save that her singing of the "Habet Acht' in the second act had exceptional beauty, even for her. Osie Hawkins substituting at the last moment for Herbert Janssen, made a believable, devoted Kurvenal and sang with volume and expression, while Alexander Kipnis's King Marke fully deserved the lusty applause it received at the curtain calls. Erich Leinsdorf, back from the armed forces, made his only appearance here as conductor this season and led the orchestra with authority and intelligence.



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