[Met Performance] CID:11130
Der Fliegende Holländer {12} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/31/1892.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 31, 1892
In Italian


DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER {12}
Wagner-Wagner

Dutchman................Jean Lassalle
Senta...................Emma Albani [Last performance]
Erik....................Sebastian Montariol
Daland..................Edouard de Reszke
Mary....................Mathilde Bauermeister
Steersman...............Mr. Grossi

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

Der Fliegende Holländer received one performance in Italian this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.

Perhaps it is idle to speculate as to the reasons why "The Flying Dutchman," which has not been performed before in the course of the current season, did not draw a larger audience at the Metropolitan Opera House last night, yet the temptation to do so is too strong to be resisted, because the question of the public attitude toward serious lyrico-dramatic art is involved. If "Die Fliegende Holländer" were not one of the Wagner dramas to which the most rabid anti-Wagnerites no longer make much objection, there might be ground for saying that the class of opera-goers attracted by Messers Abbey, Schoeffel & Grau's company did not wish to hear what has been called the music of the future. But there long ago ceased to be ground for this supposition in regard to this particular drama.

Neither can it be said that the cast was not one to attract an audience, for all who are familiar with the work most have known that the performance would be at any rate more than respectable in the hands of such singers as Lassalle, Edouard de Reszke, Mme. Albani, and Montariol. There is, however, another ground on which the moderate size of the audience may be placed, and that is the absorbing presence of Mme. Adelina Patti. It is proverbial that the "queen of song" kills the house on the night after she has sung, and it is, therefore, natural to attribute the falling off last evening to her having appeared the previous night.

Though the house was not as good as it ought to have been, it was far from being a bad one, and those who were present testified to their pleasure by frequent and by hearty applause and numerous recalls at the close of each act The performance, while it differed considerably in its dramatic aspects from those of the past German seasons, was a decidedly good one in most respects. M. Jean Lassalle achieved a conspicuous success as the unhappy Hollander, and his impersonation will be remembered as one of the picturesque and musical triumphs of a season which has not been devoid of excellences.

Lassalle's Vanderdecken lacks something of the ominous repose, the grim portentousness to which we have been accustomed; but these qualities are replaced by tenderness and a yearning melancholy which leave their impress on the mind and which are justified by Wagner's text. There is a certain amount of conventionality in M. Lassalle's posing and action. His gestures are familiar, his attitudes are trite. But they fit the moods of the moody Dutchman extremely well, and are much more in keeping with the character of the doomed mariner than with that of Hans Sachs, for instance. Back of the outward appearance of this Vanderdecken there is a genuine earnestness of purpose and a very warm sympathy with the purpose of the poet-composer.

Vocally, M. Lassalle was altogether admirable, and no memory of any predecessor could lessen the exquisite pleasure given by his fervent and artistic delivery of the music. His voice was in the best of condition, and he used it without stint. His phrasing was so excellent that it never attracted attention, appearing always to be a spontaneous outcome of nature rather than of art. His reading of the music displayed intelligence and sincerity, and his singing was full of feeling. Taken altogether, M. Lassalle presented to this public the most satisfactory rendering of the Dutchman which we remember, and he fully deserved the warm applause which he received.

The Daland of M. Edouard de Reszke was an admirable piece of work. The great basso's conception of the rôle had less geniality than that with which this public is familiar, but it was not lacking in amiability. In the second act the artist's acting was all that could be desired, and the symbols by which he sought to convey to the audience the surprise of the father at the unwonted conduct of his daughter were wholly convincing and delightfully natural in manner. M. de Reszke sang his music superbly all the time.

The Senta of Mlle. Albani was not vocally perfect, yet it had so many excellences that her hearers must have been inclined to forgive the departures from the pitch which seem to have become an inseparable accompaniment of her singing of late. She did much to atone for them by the intelligence of her work and by the dramatic earnestness with which she imbued all her singing. She earned a fair share of the honors of the evening.

M. Montariol deserves commendation for his manly, straightforward, and sincere treatment of the rôle of Eric. The chorus was not quite perfect in its work, the women showing a tendency to hurry the tempo of the sitting chorus. Generally speaking, however, the choral music went tolerably. The orchestra acquitted itself with credit, the performance of the familiar overture being especially spirited. Mr. Seidl conducted the performance with his customary judgment and firmness. On the whole, Messrs. Abbey, Schoeffel and Grau are to be complimented on the artistic results of this production.



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