[Met Performance] CID:5440
Tristan und Isolde {2} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/6/1886.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 6, 1886


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {2}

Tristan.................Albert Niemann
Isolde..................Lilli Lehmann
Kurwenal................Adolf Robinson
Brangäne................Marianne Brandt
King Marke..............Emil Fischer
Melot...................Rudolph Von Milde
Sailor's Voice..........Max Alvary
Shepherd................Otto Kemlitz
Steersman...............Emil Sänger

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

Unsigned review in The New York Times (probably W. J. Henderson)

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

The second performance of "Tristan and Isolde" took place at the Metropolitan Opera
House last evening, and brought together a very large audience. The progress of the music-drama was watched with the same continuous attention that marked its hearing on Wednesday - sundry interruptions by audible conversations held in the boxes being resented yesterday with something akin to fierceness - and while the representation was not broken in upon by applause, the lowering of the curtain upon each of the three acts was followed by a series of most enthusiastic recalls, to which the artists responded with cheerful alacrity. The comment already offered in this place upon "Tristan and Isolde" has been sufficiently extended, in our opinion, to make further detailed reference to Wagner's work superfluous. There is a distinct Wagner literature - and, for that matter, a distinct "Tristan and Isolde" literature -extant in Germany, to which Herr Hans von Wolzogen has been the largest contributor. To the essays of Herr von Wolzogen, which, with the achievements of that gentleman's predecessors, contemporaries and successors, English and American Wagnerites are indebted for the material which is passed off upon the reader as the fruit of their own research - to these essays, we say, we commend persons who are in need of that very useful article to the beholder of the perfect music-drama sort of catalogue "raisonné" of Wagnerian motives, with a statement of Wagner's intentions and a demonstration of his success in fulfilling them. For the reader who seeks information as to the characteristics of "Tristan and Isolde" without caring to lay the foundations of a Wagner cult, it will be sufficient to reiterate an earlier expression of opinion concerning this effort to the effect that while the score of the music-drama is a marvel of scientific workmanship, and by no means devoid of beauties of a very high order, it is more remarkable as symphonic music than as a lyric drama, more noteworthy as a genial technical accomplishment than as the product of creative power or originality, and better calculated to appeal to the intellect than to the emotions. The vorspiel, the duet in the second act with the accompaniment prefacing that number, and picturing with exquisite fancy and unsurpassable ingenuity the poesy of a woodland summer night, and the final measures allotted to Isolde are passages in the score whereof the loveliness and eloquence are unmistakable. There is no gainsaying the fact, however, that there is more tedium than charm or suggestiveness in much of the remainder of the opera. Last evening's representation did not differ materially from Wednesday's. Fräulein Lehmann, as Isolde, sang her music with much tonal charm and feeling, Herr Niemann's histrionic skill imparted the attractiveness of varied accent and physical dignity to Tristan, and offset in so doing the somewhat annoying impression resulting from occasional departures from the key, and Fräulein Brandt and Herren Fischer and Robinson were as effective a trio as in the past. The orchestra's all-important share of the night's task was splendidly performed; the chorus in the first act was not invariably faultless in respect of intonation.



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