[Met Performance] CID:80340
Tristan und Isolde {154} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/23/1922.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 23, 1922


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE {154}

Tristan.................Johannes Sembach
Isolde..................Florence Easton
Kurwenal................Clarence Whitehill
Brangäne................Jeanne Gordon
King Marke..............William Gustafson
Melot...................Robert Leonhardt
Sailor's Voice..........Angelo Badà
Shepherd................George Meader
Steersman...............Louis D'Angelo

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky


Review of J. A. H. in Musical America


The season's third "Tristan" on Thursday evening was made noteworthy by the appearance for the first time this year of Florence Easton as Isolde. Last year Mme. Easton displayed her conception of Wagner's Irish heroine first in Brooklyn and later in a single performance at the Metropolitan. There will be those who will contend that her voice is not heavy enough for the part, which is truly "hochdramatisch;" and yet last week's performance served to demonstrate the fact that this great artist has the power, through her skillful delivery and her command of the dramatic accent to make her voice seem suited to this music. In gesture, in action, in unerring adjustment to the unfolding of the role she won a very complete success. Not in the recollection of many who were present - it was a capacity house that "Tristan" drew - has the "Liebestod" been sung with such beauty of tone, such pure and lofty sentiment. Mme. Easton deserved the applause she got. She is an Isolde that the Metropolitan may well be proud of!

Miss Gordon was a splendid Brangäne, Mr. Whitehill a valiant Kurwenal. Mr. Sembach as Tristan alternated between some excellent and some poor singing, the music of the love duo finding him ill at ease in respect to the legato which that passage demands so decidedly. Mr. Gustafson as King Mark was altogether satisfying and Mr. Leonhardt as Melot, Mr. Bada as the Sailor and Mr. Meader as the Shepherd were all efficient.

The orchestral part, that which makes a "Tristan" performance great or the opposite, left much to be desired. Mr. Bodanzky was no happier in his reading of these golden pages than he has been in other Wagner works. The prelude had little glow, the second act totally lacked turbulent passion and one waited in vain for that molten gold, which other conductors have drawn from the great brass passages that the Bayreuth master wrote so magically. Twice the orchestra itself played him false, the solo viola going to pieces in that heavenly passage in the first act leading up to the high B natural on the A string, where Brangäne sings "für böse Gifte Gegengift," and the horns bursting on the first measures of Tristan's entrance into Isolde's part of the ship. In spite of all of which, "Tristan" is "Tristan," the peak of Wagner's genius, the poem of poems!



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