Two days before the performance, Seidl became dangerously ill and I was in a fever 토토먹튀 of uncertainty whether Stanton would postpone the performance or let me conduct it. I found that Lilli Lehmann protested loudly that it would be impossible for me to conduct this work, that it was too difficult and too intricate, and that it needed a conductor of many years’ experience and plenty of rehearsals at that. But I seemed to have “good friends at court” and it was decided that I should conduct the general rehearsal that morning for which singers, chorus, and orchestra had been hastily called together, and if all went well I was to conduct the performance. As I walked into the orchestra pit I could see Lilli Lehmann seated all by herself a few rows back, looking at me with what seemed to me baleful and threatening eyes. But as I turned my back on her and gave the signal for the overture, my apprehension left me and I gave myself up completely to the music. The curtain rose and Kalisch began Nureddin’s lovely song together with his attendants on awakening from his long illness to renewed health and with renewed longings for his beloved Margiana. Everything went as if on wings and at the end of the act I saw, to my delight, among the singers who were rushing toward me with affectionate congratulations, Lilli, the stately, telling me that she had not believed it possible, but was now convinced that I had a thorough grasp of the music and could conduct it successfully.

The performance the next day went even better than the rehearsal, and I date from this my entry as a full-fledged opera conductor, and my relations with Lilli Lehmann became artistically more and more fraternal and personally more and more friendly.

In 1897-98 I engaged her to sing Isolde and the Brunhildes in my Damrosch Opera Company and paid her a thousand dollars a night and all hotel and travelling expenses for two people (her sister Marie travelled with her), and she also insisted that I must pay her laundry bills. But I found that this remarkable woman, having established her right to these perquisites by contract, refused to abuse them, and when she found that I paid quite a large figure for her “parlor, bedroom, and bath” at the Normandie Hotel near the Metropolitan, she was furious; and, saying that she did not see why these rascally hotel proprietors should be enriched by me, she moved to a much cheaper suite at the top of the hotel and she and her sister did a great deal of their laundry in their own bathroom, partly because she wished to save me the expense, and also because she insisted that all American laundries ruined delicate lingerie. Incidentally the elevator boys insisted that she never tipped them, and I sent my manager to her hotel to do this, as otherwise she would not have received adequate service.

So much has been written about her marvellous portrayal of the heroic figures in the Wagner music-dramas that it is hardly necessary for me to add anything to the general chorus of admiration, but I wish to emphasize the fact that by far the greater part of the credit belongs to her for her indomitable will and perseverance, as nature had not given her originally a dramatic voice. It was a wonderfully clear and high coloratura soprano, but by persistent practice she developed an ample middle and lower register and made it equal to the emotional demands of an Isolde or a Brunhilde.

Her acting was majestic, but in the first act of “Tristan” and in the second act of “Götterdämmerung” her anger was like forked flashes of lightning. I suppose that her technic of acting would be called old-fashioned to-day, as those were the days of statuesque poses, often maintained without changes for long stretches at a time.

On the forenoon of the days that she had to sing Isolde she always sang through the entire rôle in her rooms with full voice, just to make sure that she could do it in the evening. Compare this to those delicate prima donnas who, on the days when they have to sing, often speak only in whispers in order that their precious vocal cords may not be affected.

Having achieved so much through her own energy and triumphed over so many obstacles, she thought that she could similarly transform her husband, Paul Kalisch, from a lyric to a dramatic tenor. How she worked and harassed that poor man! She certainly was the stronger of the two, and while his entire inclination was toward easy and delightful companionship with others of similar inclinations, she forced him to study and to sing for hours at a stretch, but with only partial success as far as his transformation into a real dramatic and “heroic” Wagner tenor was concerned. It simply was not in his nature to become “heroic,” and when, as sometimes happened, he committed some blunder, some false entrance while singing Siegfried in the “Götterdämmerung,” the glances which Brunhilde cast upon him on the stage were so terrible, so pregnant with punishment to come, that from my conductor’s stand I used to pity the poor man thus compelled to swim around in a pond which was so much larger than he wanted; and often after such a performance I would find him moodily seated all alone at a table in the restaurant of the hotel with a pint bottle of champagne before him and with no desire to go upstairs and face the anger of his Brunhilde spouse.