[Met Performance] CID:104250
Fidelio {54} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/29/1930.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 29, 1930


FIDELIO {54}
Beethoven-Sonnleithner/Breuning/Treitschke

Leonore.................Elisabeth Ohms
Florestan...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Don Pizarro.............Friedrich Schorr
Rocco...................Michael Bohnen
Marzelline..............Editha Fleischer
Jaquino.................George Meader
Don Fernando............Gustav Schützendorf
First Prisoner..........Max Bloch
Second Prisoner.........Arnold Gabor

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Designer................Joseph Urban

Fidelio received four performances this season.

[The dialogue was performed in recitative composed by Bodanzky.]


Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

Elisabeth Ohms Substitutes for Gertrude Kappel in Beethoven Opera

Beethoven's lovely "Fidelio," restored to currency at the Metropolitan the evening of Jan. 29, after the brief absence of a season, with Artur Bodanzky conducting and Elisabeth Ohms substituting at the eleventh hour for Gertrude Kappel in the rôle of Leonore, was welcomed with a show of enthusiasm unusual for this opera on Broadway. There were as many curtain calls as at a "Faust" or a "Bohème" and the exodus before the final scene was a considerably smaller one than at some performances of recent memory.

Aside from Mme. Ohms the cast was the same as at most performances since the last revival in 1927, including Rudolf Laubenthal as Florestan, Friedrich Schorr as Pizarro, Michael Bohnen as Rocco, Editha Fleischer as Marzelline, George Meader as Jacquino, Gustav Schützendorf as the Minister, and Max Bloch and Arnold Gabor as the two prisoners.

This was Mme. Ohms's third role at the Metropolitan, her previous appearances having been as the Brünnhildes of "Götterdämmerung" and "Walküre." The Dutch soprano is not, for the Metropolitan at least, a singer of heroic power. Her personality, as in her other appearances, evoked admiration for the pathos with which she invested her characterization, rather than for sweep or fire of utterance, or any unusual command of the dramatic situation. There were lovely phrases in the middle voice, where the tone was the fullest, but much uncertainty and insecurity in passages which carried her above the staff. Her "Abscheulicher" had scarcely a tithe of the expressiveness which she brought later to the agitated dialogue of the prison scene. In male attire she was not one of the more plausible Fidelios, but her personal charm enabled her to enlist a liking that was not primarily a question of stage illusion.

Of the others, Friedrich Schorr, if not in the best of voice for Pizarro's terrific "Ha! Welch' ein Augenblick," repeated a characterization that has been justly admired, and Michael Bohnen, strangely ornamented with a single earring, surpassed himself in a masterly embodiment of Rocco. His outcry, "Der Himmel sei Gelobt," and the subsequent lines as the trumpets announced the arrival of the Minister in the dungeon scene, carried a thrill that brought to its rightful climax the cumulative drama of this scene.
The poignant effect of the spoken words in this instance was all that was needed to convince any doubter of the desirability of going back to the original dialogue elsewhere in this production. Mr. Bodanzky's recitatives, whatever is to be said for or against the skill of their contrivance, are sung at the cost of atmosphere, and the prelibations and reminiscences which they bring to the ear suggest a Wagnerian procedure foreign to Beethoven and to "Fidelio."



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