[Met Performance] CID:100180
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {177} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/12/1928.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 12, 1928


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {177}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Clarence Whitehill
Eva.....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Walther von Stolzing....Rudolf Laubenthal
Magdalene...............Marion Telva
David...................George Meader
Beckmesser..............Gustav Schützendorf
Pogner..................Richard Mayr
Kothner.................Arnold Gabor
Vogelgesang.............Max Bloch
Nachtigall..............Louis D'Angelo
Ortel...................Paolo Ananian
Zorn....................Angelo Badà
Moser...................Max Altglass
Eisslinger..............Giordano Paltrinieri
Foltz...................James Wolfe
Schwarz.................William Gustafson
Night Watchman..........George Cehanovsky

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

Director................Wilhelm Von Wymetal
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received five performances this season.


Review of Edward Cushing in the Brooklyn Eagle:

The Metropolitan was generous last evening to its Monday subscribers and gave them the first "Meistersinger" of the season. Mmes. Rethberg ,Telva, Messers, Laubenthal, Whitehill, Schutzendorf, Mayr and Meader adorned the cast and Mr. Bodanzky, partial to this as to no other among the Wagnerian music-dramas, conducted. The performance often merited the tribute of sincere applause from the audience and the audience as well deserved the gratitude of the singers and of Mr. Bodanzky. It followed intelligently and with interest the progress of comedy and the unfolding of the music. Little of the humor and little of the charm of the representation escaped it - and perhaps it realized and understood something, too, of the "Meistersinger's" profound seriousness and wisdom and humanity of intention.

It is with pleasure that we compliment Mr. Whitehill on the fine singing that he did throughout the evening - singing remarkable for steadiness of tone, purity of intonation and expressiveness of diction. Mr. Whitehill's Sachs is, or course, an old friend with whose nobility and generosity we have long been familiar. The preference of the individual only can determine for each man whether this Sachs fulfills and satisfies his conception of the roles. We admire Mr. Whitehill's portrayal of the philosophic poet-cobbler, we recognize its many felicitous touches of characterization, its mellow humor and mature tenderness. But we have seen another that we prefer - a Sachs who took less lightly his love for Eva and relinquished her with less nonchalance into Walter's keeping. To Mme. Rethberg's outburst of passionate gratitude late in the first scene of the third act Mr. Whitehill listened indifferently. Perhaps it was resignation that he affected in his stolid attitude, but we were left in doubt.

As for Mr. Laubenthal, he deported himself in manly, knightly fashion and sang lustily and well. His, indeed, is a surprising case for as season follows season one notices the improvement of his voice, his increasing freedom and ease of movement and gesture on the stage. When first Mr. Laubenthal came to the Metropolitan he did not impress one as material of great promise, but he has developed remarkably and this circumstance, whether the result merely of experience or application, deserves notice. Perhaps one of these days he will be persuaded to alter and improve his vocal method and surprise us, though not greatly, by becoming that creature of legend, a good German tenor.

We have heard Mme. Rethberg sing more beautifully than she did last evening, but the fact seems hardly worth mentioning. Mme. Rethberg's worst is superior to the best of many singers whom we admire and applaud. It was her intention we gathered to give Eva a more positive and passionate character than is customary. She sang dramatically and wasted upon emphasis the breath which might better have been reserved to model and extend the phrases of Eva's music in the duet with Sachs and in the quintet, whose climatic B-flat she neither encountered with ease nor maintained with equilibrium.

Mr. Schutzendorf scored on all of Beckmesser's comic points; his Town Clerk is a bit grotesque at times, broader in characterization than is always necessary. But it is an admirable piece of work, one that in all probability would relinquish first place only to the inimitable Beckmesser of that Munich veteran, Geiss. Mr. Meader is, of course, the best of possible Davids, and Mr. Mayr's Pogner the product of a sure theatrical instinct.



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