[Met Performance] CID:23780
Tristan und Isolde {41} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/6/1900.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
March 6, 1900


Tristan.................Ernest Van Dyck
Isolde..................Milka Ternina
Kurwenal................Anton Van Rooy
Brangäne................Ernestine Schumann-Heink
King Marke..............Edouard de Reszke
Melot...................Hans Breuer
Sailor's Voice..........Jacques Bars
Shepherd................Hans Breuer
Steersman...............Theodore Meux

Conductor...............Emil Paur

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)


If one were to apply Wagner's system of leit-motifs to the story of last night's performance of "Tristan and Isolde" and the effect it had upon the audience, it would be advisable to open with the motif of "regret for Jean de Reszke." What the music drama needed most of all was a tenor who could sing as well as act. M. Van Dyck managed his voice better last night than he has done on any previous occasion this season, and it came nearer to being melodious; but to call his method of enunciation singing would be an abuse of the term, especially when one turns back in memory to a twelve month ago, when every note of Tristan's was sung with exquisite beauty of tone, as well as with depth of feeling, by Jean de Reszke. A more joyous motif would be "the delight of listening to Ternina and Schumann-Heink." The latter is one of the most delightful Brangänes, and her singing and acting last night fully equaled the magnificent interpretation of the role which she gave here last year.

Fraulein Ternlna's Isolde, while delightful to the ear, is, on the whole, a little disappointing, because she lacks something of the dramatic passion requisite to the role. Her voice is round and rich and beautiful; she is womanly, she has magnetism and sympathy, all of which help to make her singing in the garden scene just what it should be - Sieglinde for her should be an ideal role - but for the first act of Tristan and Isolde she has yet to acquire the essential note of authority.

In Kurvenal Herr Van Rooy has one of his best roles. He invested it with a dignity and a tender solicitude that was pathetically beautiful; moreover, he sang the music nobly, M. Edouard de Reszke as King Mark did not appear to be in his best voice, but he was dignified in his grief and helped to keep up the tone of the performance.

No doubt if the orchestra could choose their own motif it would be "the pleasure of sleep;" they played as if they wanted it, There was a general want of accentuation and while they played far from badly, they did so much as a ball rolls down hill after it has once been started. For the stage management, the only possible motif would be "despair." A management that sails ships backwards, lashes the ratlines upside down and plants a sailor, who is supposed to be singing, high up in the rigging, about three cables' lengths out at sea, could expect nothing else.

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