[Met Performance] CID:1130
Lohengrin {2} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/12/1883.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 12, 1883
In Italian


LOHENGRIN {2}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Italo Campanini
Elsa....................Christine Nilsson
Ortrud..................Emmy Fursch-Madi
Telramund...............Giuseppe Kaschmann
King Heinrich...........Franco Novara
Herald..................Ludovico Contini

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

Review in The New York Times:

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

"Lohengrin" was repeated at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening before a very large, brilliant, and attentive audience which witnessed the long performance until the end with unabated interest. The cast was the same as that of the previous representation of this work, and was one which, taking it all in all, has certainly never been surpassed in this country, and, we think, never equaled. The Italian opera company which contains six artists capable of singing correctly, not to say effectively, the music of any one of Wagner's operas is a rare organization. It is, therefore, another evidence of the good judgment which was used in the selection of Mr. Abbey's company that they should have given so good a performance. Mme. Nilsson's lofty conception and stately interpretation of the beautiful rôle of Elsa have been dwelt upon before. It is needless now to add any word of praise save to mention that each succeeding performance appears to round to a fuller outline its grace and symmetry. The purity of her vocal method, with its flute-like certainty of tone, brings out the changeful phases of the composer's thought with striking distinctness and fills with color a dramatic picture whose drawing is already strong and true. Signor Campanini has long been known to us as a noble embodiment of the knightly bearing and chivalric grace of Lohengrin. Last night he was evidently suffering less from the wounded foot and moved about the stage with ease and effect. His singing was marked by exquisite feeling and the perfection of taste. He was in good voice and gave the famous "swan song" in a manner that held the audience in breathless attention. Mme. Fursch-Madi's Ortruda is now a familiar performance to this public, and it becomes none the less agreeable from repetition. She was full of earnestness last night, and acted with true dramatic fire, while she sang the music excellently. Signor Kaschmann, barring an occasional tendency to stilted action, was a striking Telramundo, his rich voice being used with laudable taste throughout. Signor Novara was a dignified King Henry, and Signor Contini gave a careful rendering of the Herald's music. In fact, so far as the principal singers were concerned, there was little fault to find. The chorus was, to say the least, uncomfortable in the music. Of course, there is much to be said in extenuation of their shortcomings. The choral parts of the opera abound in intervals of a most unnatural and unvocal kind. The music would all be difficult for a single voice; in some parts it is almost impossible for any considerable number of singers. But there was scarcely any time last night when the chorus was not out of tune, and their manifest efforts to find the pitch were unpleasant to witness. The work of the orchestra, the great instrumental sea upon which Wagner's continued recitative floats, was generally good. The strings are undoubtedly the strength of Signor Vianesi's band. They are rich and sonorous in tone, of good carrying power, and play with precision and nicety of shading. The woodwinds were less effective, being thin and unsubstantial, except when forced and then it became - particularly the oboe - sharp and strident. But the brass, for which as a body Wagner knew how to write as no other composers ever did, was of the earth, earthy. The beautiful sounding of the morning call in the second act was treated with cruelty, while its intonation of the Herald's trumpeters was never quite sure. The most effective work of the brass was in the famous instruction to the third act, where the trombones came out well. The vorspiel was excellently played. There was perhaps, a little more noise than was necessary in the accompaniments of some of the solos, but otherwise Signor Vianesi gave to the orchestration a generally commendable treatment, his conception of the opera being a nearer approach to the true German spirit than Italian conductors generally attain. The wealth of the costumes and the picturesqueness of the scenery, together with the abundance of supernumeraries employed, have been mentioned before.



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