[Met Performance] CID:15570
New production
Tristan und Isolde {20} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1895.

(Debuts: Marie Brema, Mr. Riedel, Otto Mirsalis

Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1895
New production


Tristan.................Jean de Reszke
Isolde..................Lillian Nordica
Kurwenal................Giuseppe Kaschmann
Brangäne................Marie Brema [Debut]
King Marke..............Edouard de Reszke
Melot...................Mr. Riedel [Debut]
Shepherd................Otto Mirsalis [Debut]

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

Director................William Parry

Tristan und Isolde received ten performances this season.

From the review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times

Standing as he had for some years at the top of the lyric ladder, the favorite tenor of two continents, has cherished an ambition that beyond all other things demonstrated his worth as an artist. That ambition was to sing Tristan and Siegfried. He will be no more famous with the general public, nor will he be any the greater tenor for having sung Tristan. It is not essential to greatness to be a Wagnerian artist. But M. de Reszke has proved that by adding this role to his repertoire-and in a language new to him-he had the insatiable hunger of the genuine artist to achieve the one grand and noble thing that was left for him to achieve in the whole realm of lyric art....He is one of the very few who have ever undertaken such a task at this time of life, and after such long schooling in the traditions of the French stage. Whether it is to be set forth today that he has succeeded or failed, he himself must feel the boundless satisfaction of the dramatic artist who has breathed a new atmosphere and who has glowed with the spiritual warmth of a fresh inspiration.

He has carried his brother Edouard along with him into the strange field, and as they stand upon it today they must both realize how immensely they have widened their own artistic experience and deepened their own influence. To the true artist, these secret feelings are far more valuable than the plaudits which tell him merely that he has done well what others have done before. It was Philip Gilbert Hamerton who wisely said: "You cannot put an artist's day into the life of any one but an artist." Yesterday was an artist's day for Jean de Reszke....

M. Edouard de Reszke as King Mark was noble, imposing, and vocally stupendous. His German was quite as good as his brother's and his declamation of the entire speech of Mark at the end of Act II was superb.

Mme. Nordica, by her performance of Isolde, simply amazed those who thought they had measured the full limit of her powers. She has placed herself beside the first dramatic sopranos of her time. Her declamation was broad and forcible, and with the exception of a single false note in the duo, she sang absolutely in tune all the evening. Her conception of the part was correct, and her management of her voice in the difficult recitative was that of a mistress of vocal art. Nothing more beautiful than the close of the "Sink hernieder" passage in the duo between her and M. de Reszke has ever been heard here, and certainly it has never been sung better anywhere.

From the review of Henry Krehbiel in the New York Tribune

..."Tristan and Isolde" was sung in tune throughout. Never before have we had a Tristan able to sing the declamatory music of the first and last acts with correct intonation, to say nothing of the duet of the second act...Mme. Nordica and M. de Reszke not only sang in tune, they gave the text with a distinctness of enunciation and a truthfulness of expression that enabled those familiar with the German tongue to follow the play and appreciate its dramatic value and even its philosophical purport. It is wonderful how Mme. Nordica rose to the opportunity which Wagner's drama opened to her. The greater the demand the larger her capacity. In the climaxes of the first act, in which Isolde rages like a tempest, her voice rang out with a thrilling clearness, power, and brilliancy....As for M. Jean de Reszke, his voice was warm and every note he sang a heart-throb. And Edouard as King Mark? We have always fared as well with this character, because we have always had Herr Fischer, but Edouard silenced the caviling of all those whose ignorance touching the higher purposes of the dramatic poet have led [them] to set down Mark and Wotan as gloomy bores addicted to sermonizing.

Photographs of Jean de Reszke as Tristan by Aimé Dupont.

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