[Met Performance] CID:10380
Lohengrin {69} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/4/1892.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 4, 1892
In Italian


Lohengrin...............Jean de Reszke
Elsa....................Emma Eames
Ortrud..................Giulia Ravogli
Telramund...............Antonio Magini-Coletti
King Heinrich...........Edouard de Reszke
Herald..................Enrico Serbolini

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Unsigned review in The New York Times


The performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" at the Metropolitan Opera House last night was a subject for speculation. The question for debate was, "What did all those people suppose the opera was about?" This question did not apply to Edouard de Reszke. He stood forth last night in the full splendor of his power and accomplishments as an artist. His King Heinrich was altogether noble. His magnificent voice rolled out in tremendous volume with the perfection of easy and polished delivery, with beautiful sonority, and with the loveliest finish of phrasing. More than that, he was the one singer in the cast who seemed to have a real conception of the meaning of the opera. He was an imposing figure, and he acted the King with dignity and intelligence.

Joan de Reszke was a remarkably handsome Lohengrin, and he sang the music in his usual graceful and finished manner. But it must be admitted that he did not quite satisfy the imagination. His conception of Lohengrin seemed to be that the Knight of the Grail was a charming gentleman, who would never strive to impress any lady with his dignity. In short, his Lohengrin was sentimental, and a sentimental Lohengrin is something that cannot be tolerated by any person cherishing a respect for poetic verity.

Emma Eames was a pleasing Elsa to the eye, and she sang the music with care and earnestness. She was not, however, especially expressive, nor was she dramatically picturesque or vigorous. Mme. Giulia Ravogli was tolerable as Ortrud. Signor Magini-Coletti was extremely weak as Telramund and Signor Serbolini wabbled through the role of the Herald in a distressing manner.

The main difficulty with the performance was that, except Edward de Reszke, no one seemed to be able to depart from the old-fashioned Italian traditions. They were there to sing, and they sacrificed everything to pretty voicing and nice phrasing. Signor Vlanesi's conducting was in keeping with the ideas of the singers, and he made no attempt at producing the well-known climaxes. Indeed, he seemed anxious to hurry through with all the orchestral passages in order to let the singers go ahead with their Tuscan phrasing.

The chorus assisted in the general discomfort by singing out of tune with a persistency that was saddening. On the whole it cannot be said that the re-entrée of Wagner at the Metropolitan Opera House was successful. The French and Italian repertoire is better suited to the training of the present company. Tomorrow evening "Faust" will be repeated, and of that opera a good performance may be expected.

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