[Met Performance] CID:120450
Tannhäuser {294} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/25/1937.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 25, 1937


TANNHÄUSER {294}
Wagner-Wagner

Tannhäuser..............Paul Althouse
Elisabeth...............Lotte Lehmann
Wolfram.................Richard Bonelli
Venus...................Kerstin Thorborg
Hermann.................Ludwig Hofmann
Walther.................Hans Clemens
Heinrich................Max Altglass
Biterolf................Arnold Gabor
Reinmar.................James Wolfe
Shepherd................Stella Andreva

Act I Bacchanale - Arranged by George Balanchine
Rabana Hasburgh, Charles Laskey, American Ballet Ensemble
Three Graces: Kathryn Mullowny, Daphne Vane, Elise Reiman

Conductor...............Maurice Abravanel

Director................Leopold Sachse
Set designer............Hans Kautsky
Costume designer........Mathilde Castel-Bert
Choreographer...........George Balanchine

Tannhäuser received two performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

Mr. Abravanel had his own ideas about tempi and in that portion of the overture preceding the entrance of the Venusberg music even confused the orchestra so that for a few brief instants things were at sixes and sevens. And several times in later parts of the opera, notably in the finales of the first and second acts, he betrayed a fondness for lingering sweetness long drawn out. On the other hand, Mr. Sachse, the stage manager, had improved the actions of the chorus in the hall of song and had compassion on those who have suffered from the impenetrable gloom in which the stage is sometimes buried.

Mme. Lotte Lehmann was the Elizabeth, noble, patrician in bearing, but radiating gracious and tender womanhood, and singing the music with profound feeling. The music allotted to Elizabeth is so beautiful and so melting in its gentle pathos -- excepting, of course, the ebullient "Dich theure Halle," that even an icily faultless singer, offering us nothing but a perfectly carved statue, gains some credit, but a singer who can make every phrase throb with emotion, as Mme. Lehmann can, gives us a living woman, the woman of Wagner's imagination.

Mme. Lehmann's voice is sometimes taxed by the music and there were spots in which her phrasing was at least questionable, but the significance or her singing was always dramatic and her every utterance was eloquent. She rose to the full measure of the lovely duet with Tannhäuser in the second act and dominated the scene in the closing ensemble. She was vociferously applauded when she took her individual call after the curtain.


Photograph of Kerstin Thorborg as Venus in Tannhäuser.



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