Tristan.................Robert Dean Smith [Debut]
Kurwenal................Eike Wilm Schulte
King Marke..............Matti Salminen
"Highlights of Robert Dean Smith's 2007/08 season include Lohengrin and Die Meistersinger in Dresden; Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Lyric Opera of Chicago with Deborah Voigt and Christine Brewer; Tristan und Isolde at the Madrid Teatro Real and the Bayreuth Festival; Tannhäuser at the Berlin Staatsoper; Der fliegende Holländer at the Bavarian State Opera(Bayerische Staatsoper) in Munich and the Vienna State Opera; Ariadne auf Naxos at the Royal Opera, London at Covent Garden; and Fidelio in Tokyo."
And now they include the role of Tristan in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde at the Metropolitan Opera. One of the people interviewed at intermission [sorry, I only remember my own name and names written down somewhere] claimed there were 10 people who currently could do Tristan, and she knew exactly where all 10 of them were at that moment. Ben Heppner has been ill.
I liked Robert Dean Smith who is from Kansas. Most of the time he matched pretty well with Deborah Voigt, who is tiny, I didn't realize. A bit of the time she was louder than him, but mostly not. He is cute and apparently coy about his age.
Wasn't that a nice Tristan? I actually cried more than once, a first for me. One down side to attending simulcasts instead of live performances is that no one shouts in the movie theater. There seems to be no point. There was a lot of shouting for this, and I would surely have joined in. Shouted for were Mr. Smith, Ms Voigt, Michelle DeYoung as Brangaene, Elke Wilm Schulte as Kurwenal, absolutely wonderful Matti Salminen as King Marke, and our lord and master James Levine and his orchestra.
Deborah Voigt was all the way up to the three Isoldes: the furious woman of act I, the lover of act II and the tragic figure of act III. She achieved ecstasy. I had no idea she was so good. She may never make anyone's top 20, but she found the theatrical center of each scene both physically and musically. She was especially fine at the end.
Well played in every respect!
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