[Met Performance] CID:100950
Tannhäuser {252} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/8/1929.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 8, 1929


TANNHÄUSER {252}

Tannhäuser..............Walter Kirchhoff
Elisabeth...............Maria Jeritza
Wolfram.................Friedrich Schorr
Venus...................Julia Claussen
Hermann.................Richard Mayr
Walther.................Max Altglass
Heinrich................Max Bloch
Biterolf................Arnold Gabor
Reinmar.................James Wolfe
Shepherd................Louise Lerch
Dance...................Lilyan Ogden
Dance...................Jessie Rogge
Dance...................Letitia Brugnani [Last performance]

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Bulletin

METROPOLITAN OPERA

'Tannhäuser' at Academy With Kirchhoff, Schorr and Jeritza in Cast

Making its ninth appearance of the season, the Metropolitan Opera Company presented "Tannhäuser" at the Academy of Music last evening, with Walther Kirchhoff in the title role, Friedrich Schorr as Wolfram and Maria Jeritza as Elisabeth. While the performance of Wagner's opera did not start off in a particularly impressive manner, either in the playing of the overture - which scarcely could be judged with all fairness, however owing to the interruption of the usual late-comers, who straggled in all through it - and the Bacchanal seemed more mechanical than spontaneous or spirited, the later proceedings at times reached a high degree of excellence, with moments of intensity and thrill.

Mme. Jeritza's Elisabeth naturally stood out, in line with the faculty of this splendid artist always to make an impression. While the role does not offer her an opportunity to do anything noticeably unusual or sensational, she manages to give it many distinctive touches in the way of compelling pathos and striking dramatic effect and it is beautiful and imposing in stately grace and significant in the way of pose and gesture. The music suits well the dramatic quality of Jertiza's voice and shows it to advantage and her singing last night lacked neither tonal power nor expressiveness. While the "Dich, teure Halle," aria was admirably done, Elisabeth's Prayer in the third act, was even more appealing, the singer also showing a touch of accustomed originality in her prostrate attitude at the foot of the shrine and in the sedate solemnity of her exit. The sorrow and humility so poignantly expressed here were in striking contrast to Elisabeth's majestic manner of the preceding scene.

While Mr. Kirchhoff does not create romantic illusion in appearance or facial expression, as the Knight he put more than the ordinary degree of fervor into his acting of the part and his singing of Tannhäuser's music, at times, was noticeably effective. His voice has not the metallic harshness of the typical German tenor, being, on the contrary, of real beauty in mezzo voce, with enough of the lyric style and quality to make his singing pleasing to the ear. More notable, however, was the splendid baritone of Mr. Schorr, whose return gives cause for rejoicing. Full, rich, resonant tones handled with the pliant skill and sensitive feeling of a real artist, mark Mr. Schorr's singing as Wolfram. His delivery of the "Evening Star" song was something not soon to be forgotten. Here, too, the orchestra, which was conducted with power and inspiration by Mr. Bodanzky, also did some especially fine work. The sonorous bass of Richard Mayr, with middle tones of such round richness that they make the upper and lower ones seem lacking in comparison, was impressive as the Landgraf, and in the Venusburg scene Julia Claussen sang with plenty of tone and sufficient animation, even if in some respects she was not a particularly alluring Venus.

The ensemble work was excellent at times, the song of the approaching and vanishing Pilgrims being very well done, and there were some imposing tonal effects in the Festival Hall scene. In addition to those mentioned, the cast included Max Altglass, Arnold Gabor, Max Bloch and James Wolfe as minstrel knights, and Ellen Dalossy, who sang the few lyric measures allotted to the shepherd boy in sweet flexible tones.



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