[Met Performance] CID:208560
Tristan und Isolde {387} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/19/1966.

(Debut: Ticho Parly
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 19, 1966


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {387}
Wagner-Wagner

Tristan.................Ticho Parly [Debut]
Isolde..................Birgit Nilsson
Kurwenal................Walter Cassel
Brangšne................Mignon Dunn
King Marke..............Jerome Hines
Melot...................Ron Bottcher
Sailor's Voice..........Dan Marek
Shepherd................Paul Franke
Steersman...............Robert Goodloe

Conductor...............Georges PrÍtre

Director................Herbert Graf
Stage Director..........Bodo Igesz
Designer................Teo Otto

Tristan und Isolde received nine performances this season.

Review signed A. F. S. in the Journal of Commerce

Opera Debut Fails

Ticho Parly, the Danish-born baritone-turned-tenor, made his Metropolitan Opera debut last Saturday night in the first performance of "Tristan und Isolde" at Lincoln Center.

Mr. Parly has a pleasant voice of rather limed dimensions. Let the record show that since becoming a tenor he has been heard in Wagnerian roles in many of the great opera houses of the Western World. But it must also show, unfortunately, that he is no vocal match for Birgit Nilsson, the Isolde in this season's premiere. A love duet loses a great deal when at intervals the female voice simply drowns out the male, and that is exactly what happened to Mr. Parly on Saturday night. A pity, too, because - at least to this listener - the sheer lung power of Miss Nilsson reducing Tristan almost to the role of bystander at a couple of climactic points in the great Act II duet tended to obliterate the impact of some generally excellent singing throughout this tremendous episode.

When a towering masterwork like "Tristan" fails to get off the ground, the listener must look upon himself first of all as the prime suspect. We kept thinking of an electrifying night when we heard this same Miss Nilsson in this same opera down at 39th Street. Saturday night we felt no such reaction, nor did we sense it around us. Why? What we were hearing, we venture to say, was a performance that never really scaled the heights beyond what might be called singular competence.

The ever-reliable Jerome Hines appeared as King Marke, and Mignon Dunn certainly made the most of her minor opportunities as Brangšne. Conductor Georges PrÍtre, it seemed to us, chose to keep the orchestra on a rather subdued and even course, rather than send any Wagnerian flashes across the sky.

It must have been disconcerting for Mr. Parly to hear a little burst of laughter from the audience just when "Tristan" was approaching its tragic close and the emotional Liebestod. There is a bit of swordplay in which the villainous Melot is done away with by Tristan's faithful aide, Kurvenal. The two banged swords together Saturday night, and then Melot - in the person of Ron Bottcher - took a backward dive over a parapet at the rear of the set, disappearing with a suddenness that looked almost like a bit of comic relief.



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