[Met Performance] CID:116130
Der Rosenkavalier {53} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/4/1935.

(Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 4, 1935 Matinee


DER ROSENKAVALIER {53}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Octavian.....................Maria Olszewska
Princess von Werdenberg......Lotte Lehmann
Baron Ochs...................Emanuel List
Sophie.......................Editha Fleischer
Faninal......................Gustav Schützendorf
Annina.......................Doris Doe
Valzacchi....................Angelo Badà
Italian Singer...............Alfio Tedesco
Marianne.....................Dorothee Manski
Mahomet......................Madeline Leweck
Princess' Major-domo.........Max Altglass
Orphan.......................Helen Gleason
Orphan.......................Lillian Clark
Orphan.......................Dorothea Flexer
Milliner.....................Phradie Wells
Animal Vendor................Raffaele Lipparini
Hairdresser..................Juan Casanova
Notary.......................Arnold Gabor
Leopold......................Ludwig Burgstaller
Faninal's Major-domo.........Marek Windheim
Innkeeper....................Marek Windheim
Police Commissioner..........James Wolfe

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

Director.....................Wilhelm Von Wymetal Jr.
Set designer.................Hans Kautsky
Costume designer.............Alfred Roller

Der Rosenkavalier received four performances this season.

Review of Lotte Lehmann's first Metropolitan Opera Marschallin by Olin Downes in The New York Times:

 Strauss had a character in the Princess, superbly limned by Hofmannsthal, the librettist, that appealed profoundly to him. He found precisely the right musical vein to express this character. It is melancholy without bathos, and noble without pose or self- consciousness. It has the cloak of worldliness and the ornate environment which affords the composer a chance for the decorative motives and the expert commentary of which Richard Strauss proves himself such a master. Everything is comprehended in his tonal portraiture of the Princess. The women characters in other operas of Strauss's are symbols rather than people. Elektra is the embodiment of destiny and a terrible passion. Chrysothemis is her foil. Salome is the peg upon which some magnificently fiery and sensuous music is hung. One reason why we can tolerate her is that as a woman she doesn't exist. Her reality is the passion and temperament of Strauss; she herself is as much an effigy as John the Baptist is a cardboard saint with a chorale theme as a leitmotiv.

 But the Princess is a woman; when she is characterized by a Lotte Lehmann she becomes the dominating and absorbing motive of a lyric drama in which the music makes us know, feel and suffer with her. Mme. Lehmann has long been famous for this characterization, which has everything - the lightness of touch, the manner and accent of the nobly born; the flaming embers of a last passion, the pathos and ache of renunciation. When the Princess took the chair proffered her in the last episode of the drama, seating herself as one to the purple born, and with the bitter knowledge of her years upon her, she knew and everyone who watched knew that for all purposes of the life of the heart she was an old woman.

 She was saying farewell to the one previous thing, which she was relinguishing to another. This emotion was not only in the face, but in the very folds of the dress and in the set of the head. It was in the musical phrase and the voice itself. As for the quality, from the standpoint of sheer tone, the voice sometimes became edged, for Mme. Lehmann, who had gallantly gone through with her engagement, was singing through a cold. The indisposition, however, was not of a nature to do more than modify quality here and there. But had the voice been in much worse condition, the meaning back of the tone, the communication of womanly sentiment, the fusing of high intelligence and sincerity, would have carried unmistakably to every listener. This character, the keynote of Strauss's comedy (which, like every great comedy, is touched with tears and with the knowledge of human need and human pain) was most eloquently, and with the utmost art, revealed to yesterday's audience.

Review of B. H. Haggin in the Brooklyn Eagle

 Der Rosenkavalier" was given at the Metropolitan yesterday afternoon for the first time in five years or so, and provided an opportunity for New Yorkers to see and hear for themselves the celebrated Princess of Lotte Lehmann. The other principals were Maria Olszewska as Octavian, Editha Fleischer as Sophie, Emanuel List as Baron Ochs, and Gustav Schuetzendorf as Von Faninal. Artur Bodanzky conducted.

 Mme. Lehmann's Princess, it turned out, was justly celebrated. It combined amused detachment with intensity of feeling, troubled wisdom with dignity and strength. In action it was built up by a wealth of subtle detail; and the subtlety of action had its counterpart in the dramatically expressive variety of coloring and inflection in the singing. A printed slip in the program informed the audience that Mme. Lehmann was suffering from a cold, but had graciously consented to sing nevertheless; but her singing had very little to apologize for. Only the utmost richness and fullness of which the voice normally is capable was missing.

 Another point of interest was the new Baron Ochs of Mr. List. Controversy rages over whether the baron should be more coarse than aristocratic, or more aristocratic than coarse. Strauss' music confuses what von Hofmannstahl's text makes very clear. From the baron's description of his life on his country estate-which is omitted in the Metropolitan production-there can be only one conclusion: that his is more coarse than aristocratic. Mr. List, however, took him to be an aristocrat, who is something of a cut-up. This idea of the character he carried out admirably in appearance (there were not the red stocking and the cherry red nose and wide grin of Richard Mayr), bearing, action, and singing.

 Of the other two crucial roles, that of Sophie was perfectly acted and exquisitely sung by Mme. Fleischer. Mme. Olszewska sang Octavian well, but her embodiment of the part was not convincing, and she over-acted very badly. I liked Mr. Schuetzendorf's von Faninal better when it was more stylized in make-up and movement. The minor parts were done acceptably, and the performance on the stage was delightful.

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

 Richard Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier" was brought forth yesterday afternoon at a special (benefit) matinee in the Metropolitan Opera House after a silence of five years. The performance as attended by a good sized audience which received the opera with applause, but without manifestations of rapture. The demeanor of the assembly could easily be accepted as due partly to the nature of the work itself and partly to the performance. There was no item which could be singled out as conspicuously deficient, yet the whole presentation lacked the romantic and humorous uplift necessary to create an illusion.

 Lotte Lehmann's Marschallin was singularly cool and dispassionate. It was apparently well composed, but it missed its great points and failed to emphasize the gentle pathos of the woman's realization of the waning of her day of glory. Mme. Olszewska made a gallant figure of the infatuated young Octavian, but here again the interpretation skimmed pleasantly along the surface. The depths remained undisturbed. Even in the incident of the presentation of the rose the cavalier was little more than a handsome picture. With these two personages moving about the stage in dim outline of the characters little could be expected, though there were moments when both sang well in so far a technical finish and regard for style were concerned.

 Emanuel List deserves commendation for refusing to caricature Baron Ochs. His impersonation was at any rate plausible, but like the other two it was wanting in clarity of delineation. It was a good sketch, but not a convincing portrait. The others in the cast with the exception of Miss Fleischer as Sophie were mere accessories. Miss Fleischer grappled successfully with the merciless high portions of her role and in general sang her music well. She was hardly girlish enough for the part.



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