[Met Performance] CID:54610
Tristan und Isolde {118} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/08/1913.

(Debuts: Carl Braun, Jacques Urlus

Metropolitan Opera House
February 8, 1913 Matinee


Tristan.................Jacques Urlus [Debut]
Isolde..................Johanna Gadski
Kurwenal................Hermann Weil
Brangäne................Louise Homer
King Marke..............Carl Braun [Debut]
Melot...................William Hinshaw
Sailor's Voice..........Lambert Murphy
Shepherd................Lambert Murphy
Steersman...............Julius Bayer

Conductor...............Arturo Toscanini

Review (unsigned) in unidentified New York newspaper


Mr. Urlus Loses His Voice and Mr. Burrian Sails for Europe


Wagner Drama Given Under Difficulties in This City and in Boston

Full of troubles was yesterday for Wagner's immortal love drama "Tristan und Isolde." A tale of woe in New York, a half told tale, indeed, it became in Boston a twice told tale in two radically hostile tongues. Teutonic and Tuscan. The misfortunes began in the afternoon, when the drama was, with difficulty, performed at the Metropolitan with Tristan almost whispering: The sequel was in Boston in the evening when a Cornish knight sang in Italian to an Irish princess, who answered in German, and thus bemuse one of three Tristans started for Hamburg instead of the Holt

At the Metropolitan Opera House a new tenor made his New York debut as the knight. He has sung with much success in the stronghold of Wagnerism, Bayreuth and last season he came to this country to appear in the drama in Boston together with Mme. Nordica and under the direction of the famous conductor Felix Weingartner. His reputation had preceded him here and expectations were high.

Unfortunately he had a touch of cold and was not in good vocal condition when he began yesterday and the more he sang the more nervous he became as the realization grew upon him that he was in difficulties. At length. when he reached the words "War Morald dir so werth," a veil descended over his tones and he momentarily lost the pitch. Thenceforward to the end of the act his voice weakened more and more and it seemed as though he would certainly be unable to finish the performance.

In the entr'acte he was attended by a physician, while Mr. Gatti-Casazza and Mr. Toscanini, the conductor, held a consultation. There was no one to take the place of Mr. Urlus, and the impresario was in a quandary similar to that which he experienced when Mr. Weil lately broke down in "Die Meistersinger." Mr. Urlus, realizing the situation, determined to go on with his impersonation. William Guard, press agent of the house, went before the curtain and apologized for the tenor and asked the indulgence of the audience.

At times in the second and third acts Urlus partly regained his voice, but his condition was such that no fair critical estimate of his Tristan could be made. There were indications, however, that he will be an acceptable addition to the company. For one thing, he showed both presence of mind and musicianship in several places where he transposed notes in order to favor his voice.

Carl Braun, a new basso, made his debut as Koenig Marke, and disclosed a voice of excellent quality. But discussion of his art ought to be reserved until he appears in an undisturbed presentation of opera. Mme. Gadski as Isolde (and sometimes also as Tristan, for she helped the tenor), Mme. Homer as Brangäne and Mr. Weil, who made his last appearance, as Kurvenal were the other principals.

The other "Tristan und Isolde" trouble broke out in Boston, bur originated in New York. Carl Burrian had completed his engagement in this city, but was scheduled to sing Tristan in Boston yesterday. It was to be an extra appearance. But late Friday night Mr. Burrian decided that he would sing no more and yesterday morning he boarded the Amerika and sailed for Europe. Henry Russell,, manager of the Boston Opera, telegraphed to Mr. Gatti-Casazza asking for the loan of Mr. Urlus, but this of course could not be granted. As a last resort Ferrari Fontana, husband of Mme. Matzenauer, consented to sing the Boston "Tristan," and he did so with the Italian text. It was a bad day for Wagner's love drama. But as already remarked, it is immortal and so it survived.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun:

Now the music drama is actually more popular here than "Die Meistersinger." Nor can we say as once was said of "Carmen," that it is due to the genius of one woman. When Mme. Gadski sings Isolde the house if full, just as it was last evening when she was at home and Mme. Fremstad was the impersonator of the Irish princess. No, the work had its day and victory in this town when Nordica and Lehmann sang Isolde and Jean de Reszke made of Tristan a revelation of a new gospel of vocal declamation.

It would not be going too far to say that the great Polish tenor revolutionized what was called Wagner singing. His method of delivering the song speech of the music drama was within its limits a creation. At first it was bitterly opposed in Germany, on the ground that it was lacking in Teutonic virility; that it was French; that it was too sweet. But every one has the seed now. All the German tenors are trying really to sing Tristan, not to declaim the part.

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