[Met Performance] CID:92230
Tristan und Isolde {169} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/2/1926.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 2, 1926


Tristan.................Rudolf Laubenthal
Isolde..................Nanny Larsén-Todsen
Kurwenal................Friedrich Schorr
Brangäne................Karin Branzell
King Marke..............Michael Bohnen
Melot...................Arnold Gabor
Sailor's Voice..........George Meader
Shepherd................George Meader
Steersman...............James Wolfe

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Public Evening Ledger


Laubenthal and Larsen-Todsen in Notable Portrayal of Wagner's Lovers


'Tristan and Isolde," the music drama in which Wagner declared that he had reached the highest development of his principles, was given an excellent performance by the Metropolitan Opera Company at the Academy of Music last evening. While not the best performance of the opera that the company has ever given here, it was nevertheless noteworthy and had the strongest cast that the resources of the organization allowed. There was a very large audience, and the majority arrived before the beginning of the opera at 7:45 and remained to the close after 11:30. Thus was the popularity of Wagner in Philadelphia attested.

While every member of the cast was a splendid artist, interest centered in the Tristan of the evening, Rudolf Laubenthal, who added the role to his repertoire only this season and made his second appearance in it last evening. Mr. Laubenthal, while not the greatest Tristan of the last twenty years, is a good bit better than most of them have proved to be.

In the first place he sing the part instead of yelling his way through it, as is the habit of many Wagnerian tenors. In the second place he has an almost ideal stage presence for the role. His dramatic ability is good and was shown to the best advantage in the second and third acts. In the first act a little more assertiveness in the face of Isolde's charges against him might have been more effective. Vocally he was superb in the great duet in the second act and in the third.

Nanny Larsen-Todsen appeared again as Isolde and gave a splendid characterization of the Irish Princess. Her voice was inclined to be a trifle hard in the upper register at times, something she has not shown in this city in any previous appearance, but her acting was little short of perfect in the defiance of the first act, the growing excitement of the love scene of the second, before the appearance of Tristan and the pathos of the tragic close of the opera. She sang the "Liebestod" magnificently, with full voice at the end of nearly four hours of almost constant singing in the higher register and showed great beauty of tone in the love duet. Her stage presence, too, was exactly fitted to the role.

Karin Branzell made her local debut as Brangäne and in voice, action and appearance must be considered one of the finest exponents of the role in the last twenty years. Her characterization was unusually fine especially in the first act, and the few notes she sang near the close of third act were a triumph of vocal and emotional expression.

Friedrich Schorr and Michael Bohnen, two of the greatest German artists and singers of the present day, were Kurwenal and King Mark, respectively, and gave superb representations, the difficult role of King Mark being taken by Mr. Bohnen with dignity and effectiveness, while the beauty of voice and sympathetic acting of Mr. Schorr were shown in every act.

The minor roles were taken by Arnold Gabor as Melot, George Meader as the Shepherd, James Wolfe as the Steersman and Max Bloch as the Sailor's voice. Mr. Bodanzky conducted and did generally well, although allowing too much orchestral tone at times. The settings were excellent.

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