[Met Performance] CID:162070
Tristan und Isolde {352} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/23/1953.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 23, 1953


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {352}
Wagner-Wagner

Tristan.................Ramon Vinay
Isolde..................Margaret Harshaw
Kurwenal................Paul Schöffler
Brangäne................Blanche Thebom
King Marke..............Hans Hotter
Melot...................Emery Darcy
Sailor's Voice..........Thomas Hayward
Shepherd................Paul Franke
Steersman...............Algerd Brazis

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry

Director................Dino Yannopoulos
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert

Tristan und Isolde received six performances this season.

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

Stiedry Conducts Tristan at the Met

Last night's performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" at the Metropolitan Opera returned to the repertory after a season's absence, was not exactly a study in white, or black and white, but its purified aspect (which was considerable) did have a few dark spots to mar the evening's serenity.

First and foremost, Fritz Stiedry, conducting the score for the initial time at the Metropolitan, communicated a glowing inspiration to his conception which fervently dramatized the symphonic nature of the score. Its magnificence was thoroughly conceived and projected; its tenderness and poignancy as well. The music flowed dynamically from beginning to end with many parts which might have dragged maintaining interest. Though Stiedry took the final "Liebestod" faster than is usual, it seemed to suit the prevalent mood and also probably was more suited to Margaret Harshaw singing her first Isolde at the Metropolitan.

Miss Harshaw's beautiful dramatic soprano will most likely grow in effulgence as she becomes easier in the role. Last night she sang with exemplary musicianship and first-rate vocal control. Her quality sounded most lovely in the second act where there was opportunity for limpidness instead of a more stentorian style which the initial act demands.

Histrionically she was not too communicative and in the first act Dino Yannopoulos had her strutting about with the determination of a gymnasium instructor. She probably didn't have too much energy left for inner intensity. On the other hand, in the second act, I have never witnessed the love duet sung with such absence of apparent love. When Brangaene sings her initial "warning," Wagner's explicit stage directions instruct the lovers to sink down, 'carried away by passion" and recline thus with heads in contact. Well, we all know there are different ways of being carried away by passion but sitting like two immobile statues attending a concert is not an obvious kind. I'm sure they heard Brangaene though because they weren't otherwise occupied.

Ramón Vinay appears to be thoroughly miscast as Tristan. Except for some effective high notes in the third act his voice was too light for the part and he exhibited little understanding of the style. Blanche Thebom as Brangaene sang some lovely tones in the top register, but there was a roughness and lack of beauty elsewhere. Hans Hotter gave an excellent portrayal of King Marke and Paul Schoeffler was creditable as Kurvenal.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).