Magazine article Musical Opinion

Tristan and Isolde

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Tristan and Isolde

Article excerpt

Disaster - or near disaster - stalked the Metropolitan Opera's season premiere on 10 March, after a four-year absence, of Richard Wagners mighty love-fest of an opera, Tristan and Isolde, when its announced Tristan, Canadian tenor Ben Heppner, was felled by a viral infection. And, if press reports are to be believed, for my own schedule did not permit me to return later in the season, disaster continued to stalk the production almost to the end, when on 28 March for one performance only the originally announced dream-team of Deborah Voight and Heppner actually turned up.

For the first night the Met had what I felt was an excellent standby tenor, another Canadian, young and sturdy John Mac Master, waiting, as it were, in the wings. The audience, who mildly, and unjustly booed him, and indeed most of my critical colleagues disagreed with my assessment. No novice Mac Master, who made his Met debut three years ago as Canio in Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, had already sung Tristan with the Welsh National Opera, and for this Met performance, with the mighty Voigt, there had been enough notice for him to have both the orchestral and stage rehearsal.

Mac Master opened with a certain diffidence, but by the second act love duet he had found a firmer stride, and in the testing third act - using the full version some Tristans traditionally duck - a little raggedness could be ascribed as much to emotion, with passions well spent, as to the role's cruel vocal demands.

Ironically the spotlight was meant to fall upon the splendid American soprano Voigt, making her local debut as Isolde. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.