[Met Performance] CID:147780
Tristan und Isolde {330} Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California: 04/19/1948.

(Review)


Los Angeles, California
April 19, 1948


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {330}

Tristan.................Lauritz Melchior
Isolde..................Helen Traubel
Kurwenal................Joel Berglund
Brangäne................Blanche Thebom
King Marke..............Mihály Székely
Melot...................Emery Darcy
Sailor's Voice..........John Garris
Shepherd................Leslie Chabay
Steersman...............Philip Kinsman

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

Review of Patterson Greene in the Los Angeles Examiner

Magnificent "Isolde" Heard

Helen Traubel's Isolde imparts the element of greatness to any performance of "Tristan und Isolde" in which the fabulous soprano sings. Thanks to her, the Metropolitan Opera production of the Wagner masterpiece heard last night at the Shrine, rose frequently above the level of routine merit.

Season after season, Mme. Traubel refines upon her concept of the role, bringing to it new shades of vocal coloration. Last night it was a joy to hear phrases floated upon the orchestral stream in a ravishing pianissimo that has been unmatched in this generation, in Wagnerian singing. Stirring, as always, were the torrential outbursts of rage and of passion, uttered with incredible power, but always without physical straining and without loss of the mellowness and depth that Mme. Traubel combines with volume.

Of signal merit, too, was the Brangäne of Blanche Thebom, not heard here previously in this crucially difficult role. Obviously it is new in the young artist's repertoire, and at times last night it showed the marks of nervousness. The interpretation has been worked out, however, with brilliant intelligence and with dramatic insight. Vocally it had color and power, though there was a breathiness in the lower tones that is the one serious flaw in this soprano's voice. The warning call was well sustained, and had the requisite undercurrent of ill omen.

Lauritz Melchior started off bravely as Tristan, but seemed to run into vocal troubles in the course of the love duet, where his tone grew sandy and his intonation insecure. He had, of course, the security of long experience, and he costumed the role magnificently.

Joel Berglund as Kurvenal and Mihay Szekely as King Mark were up to the standard. Emery Darcy gave uncommon life to the brief phrases of Melot, and John Garris gave us the sailor's song - for once - in perfect tune.

Fritz Busch's conducting was tasteful, though rather tranquil. Settings were serviceable but unimaginative, lighting was crude.

The fact that the performance was to begin at 7:45 was not announced in the advertisements or on the programs. As a result, many patrons missed the prelude, and had the embarrassment of having to grope their way to their seats during the first act.



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