[Met Performance] CID:101220
Jonny Spielt Auf {2} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/28/1929.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 28, 1929


JONNY SPIELT AUF {2}

Jonny...................Michael Bohnen
Anita...................Florence Easton
Max.....................Rudolf Laubenthal
Yvonne..................Editha Fleischer
Daniello................Friedrich Schorr
Impresario..............Arnold Gabor
Hotel Manager...........George Meader
Policeman...............Marek Windheim
Policeman...............George Cehanovsky
Policeman...............William Gustafson
Railway Announcer.......Max Bloch

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

Review of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun

Jazz Opera at Metropolitan

Ernst Kreneck's Work, 'Jonny Spielt Auf,' Given Before Subscription Audience

Ernst Krenek's singular opera "Jonny Spielt Auf" had its first opportunity to exert its spell on a subscription audience at the Metropolitan Opera house last evening. It might be instructive to know the "reactions" of the younger set, which was well represented, and likewise of the many gray-haired persons who seemed to be lost in wonder. But only those who are permitted to sit at dinner tables within the sacred circle will ever be acquainted with the emotions of society thrown into sudden and violent contact with black-face grand opera.

It was impossible to be blind to the fact that a considerable number went away early, but whether this was due to the funereal aspect of "Jonny" or to new traffic regulations or to the chance to "go on" to something more promising must be a matter of conjecture. It can be said that there was little excitement and no outburst of enthusiasm till Jonny stood on the piano and announced that he would perform on the stolen violin even as David of old smote the harp. And, of course, there was a demonstration in favor of the Ziegfeld show at the end.

The cast was the same as at the previous representation, except that Mr. Laubenthal replaced Mr. Kirchhoff as Max, the composer of futurist music and the winner of the volatile prima donna. Mr. Laubenthal looked very well in street clothes and sang with plenty of vigor. His Max was a pleasing personage, though not one to make quite clear the preference of Anita. The so-called jam spirit of the work has not yet saturated the soul of Mr. Bohnen. He is a good comedian, but there are points which he misses. It might not be a bad thing for him to visit some of the vaudeville institutions of the town and "get a line" on the mannerisms of the actors, especially their standardized knee technic.

Perhaps, too, he would find it profitable to use a lighter makeup. His face thus far has been so intensely black that the expression has been lost. Miss Fleischer again amused the audience with her caperings as the pert, but somewhat dense, maid. She makes many of her lines tell and sustain her reputation as a versatile and extremely useful member of the company. Mme. Easton as the soprano victim of high blood pressure repeated her former impersonation. A woman of gracious presence, she is not highly gifted with the "viz comica."

Mr. Schorr was again the violinist of heavy manner. Mr. Meader's sketch of the hotel manager once more stood out, as one of the happiest impersonations in the opera. It is a pity that the Metropolitan is not built so that more rapid succession of scenes could be obtained. The frequent lowering of the curtain delays the action and New York audiences cannot be taught that an opera is still going on when the curtain is down. Kreneck, too, is somewhat at fault, for his music between scenes is too thin and indefinite to make any claim on the attention.

Mr. Bodanzky probably does as much as could be expected of him with a very ineffective score. He cannot make something out of nothing and there are many empty pages.



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