[Met Performance] CID:34640
Tristan und Isolde {72} Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/17/1905.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 17, 1905


Tristan.................Heinrich Knote
Isolde..................Lillian Nordica
Kurwenal................Anton Van Rooy
Brangäne................Louise Homer
King Marke..............Robert Blass
Melot...................Adolph Mühlmann
Sailor's Voice..........Jacques Bars
Shepherd................Albert Reiss
Steersman...............Julius Bayer

Conductor...............Alfred Hertz

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)



Nordica's Effort One that Will Be Long Remembered - Hertz Conducts Faultlessly

"Tristan und Isolde," selected as the sixth opera of the present season, was sung last evening in the Academy of Music by an unusually strong group under the direction of Alfred Hertz. In spite of the great interest which the general public is supposed to feel for this musical love poem in which Wagner has so successfully exploited all of the ideas for which his music is famous, the audience was less brilliant and, with the exception of the upper part of the house, less numerous than any which has been present in the Academy on the slightingly considered Italian nights. There was so much to commend itself about the performance that, all in all, it may be spoken of as one of the most satisfactory presentations of the opera given here in recent years.

Hertz a Great Leader

"Tristan" is not an opera in which supreme perfection of vocalization is the only thing that goes toward the making of an ideal performance. The greater the virtuosity of the singers, naturally, the greater and more satisfactory is the final impression received and the more perfect the realization of Wagner's conception of the work. But that the orchestra is the principal part of the "Tristan" score cannot be too forcefully dwelt upon, and to the orchestra last evening must be accorded no little credit for the part which it played in the success of the performance as a whole.

Hertz, as a conductor of German opera, is one of the most inspired and fervid musicians that we have ever had at the desk. If his reading ever seems a little colorless and suppressed it is merely that he may express more fully the wonderful warmth and richness of other portions of the score. He leads his men along to stirring climaxes, but never without a gradual modulation. He has a fine conception of the nuances. Last evening throughout the entire performance the orchestra played in a beautiful and truly moving manner and the impassioned music came throbbing forth in a way that, in the effect produced, has not been equaled in many opera seasons.

Nordica's Isolde.

The Isolde of Mme. Nordica is one of those vivid and compelling impersonations that it is the privilege of the opera-goer to hear only at rare intervals. Her breadth of style, her intellectual insight and her highly developed dramatic sense would alone be sufficient to make her portrayal of the unhappy princess a notable one. Combined with this, however, is the exquisite purity and warmth of her singing, as well as the very unusual clarity of diction, which makes her delivery of the fervid declamation such an artistic triumph. Although her voice now lacks a little in fullness of tone, it is, nevertheless, round and true, and her performance last evening is one that will be long remembered.

Knote Not at His Best.

In the role of Tristan, Knote is not at his best. Essentially a lyric singer, his voice does not carry well in this declamatory music and, while his performance was entirely agreeable, it never rose to any very great heights. His Tristan is without suggestion of romance and was rather overshadowed by the all-pervading personality of the Isolde.

Louise Homer achieved another success as Brangäne, singing the role with a nice understanding. Her voice is beautifully rich and fresh. Her work in the second act was particularly effective. Van Rooy repeated his dignified and noble impersonation of Kurwenal. The others in the cast were all familiar in this opera. Blass was the King Mark, Muhlmann, the Melot, and Reiss, the Shepherd. Bars sang the "Sailor's Song," and Walther was the Helmsman.

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