[Met Performance] CID:144250
Tristan und Isolde {324} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/10/1947.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 10, 1947


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {324}

Tristan.................Lauritz Melchior
Isolde..................Jeanne Palmer
Kurwenal................Herbert Janssen
Brangäne................Margaret Harshaw
King Marke..............Dezsö Ernster
Melot...................Emery Darcy
Sailor's Voice..........John Garris
Shepherd................John Garris
Steersman...............William Hargrave

Conductor...............Fritz Busch

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

A New Isolde

Jeanne Palmer Sings Role With Only Piano Rehearsal

The season's final performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" at the Metropolitan Opera House last night was the occasion for the unexpected first appearance here as Isolde of Jeanne Palmer, necessitated by the continued indisposition of Helen Traubel and the absence on a concert tour of Astrid Varnay, the organization's other delineators of this role. The otherwise familiar cast had Mr. Melchior, as Tristan; Miss Harshaw, as Brängane; Mr. Janssen, as Kurvenal; Mr. Ernster, as King Marke; Mr. Darcy, as Melot; and the Messrs. Garris and Hargrave in the remaining roles. Mr. Busch conducted.

Miss Palmer, whose only previous delineation of a leading Wagnerian role here was that of Brünnhilde in "Walküre" on January 19, 1945, assumed the taxing role of Isolde after but a few days of intensive piano rehearsals and without the benefit of an orchestral rehearsal. It was understandable, under the circumstances, that there were moments of musical uncertainly especially in the second act in the incandescent scene of Tristan's entrance.

Miss Palmer was in fuller possession of her resources in the first act and here she contributed much that was vocally compelling. Her voice had sufficient weight both in the upper and lower registers to be heard above the orchestra and, with the exception of a top tone here and there, was impressive for its sumptuous warmth. There was much that was telling in the way of expressive nuance and intensity of utterance and, for a large woman, Miss Palmer handled herself with uncommon grace, her movements being both effectively plastic and dramatically cogent.

The soprano fared less well in the second act, for here, while much of her singing was tonally persuasive, both high "C's" fell short of the mark more than a little and certain measures of "O Sink Hernieder" and other portions of the love duet emerged tentatively. But this is cruelly difficult music to sing, at any time and Miss Palmer, if given the opportunity to deliver it under less nerve-racking conditions, will undoubtedly account for it as securely as she did that of the first act, for she has at her disposal the material for making of a first-rate Isolde.



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