[Met Performance] CID:124360
Der Rosenkavalier {64} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1938


DER ROSENKAVALIER {64}

Octavian.....................Risë Stevens
Princess von Werdenberg......Lotte Lehmann
Baron Ochs...................Emanuel List
Sophie.......................Marita Farell
Faninal......................Friedrich Schorr
Annina.......................Doris Doe
Valzacchi....................Karl Laufkötter
Italian Singer...............Nicholas Massue
Marianne.....................Dorothee Manski
Mahomet......................Sari Montague
Princess' Major-domo.........Erich Witte
Orphan.......................Natalie Bodanya
Orphan.......................Lucielle Browning
Orphan.......................Anna Kaskas
Milliner.....................Pearl Besuner
Animal Vendor................Giordano Paltrinieri
Hairdresser..................Juan Casanova
Notary.......................Arnold Gabor
Leopold......................Ludwig Burgstaller
Faninal's Major-domo.........Erich Witte
Innkeeper....................Erich Witte
Police Commissioner..........James Wolfe

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

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times

LEHMANN IS HEARD IN "ROSENKAVALIER"

Singer of the Princess of Werdenberg in Strauss's Opera at Metropolitan

RISË STEVENS APPEARS

Makes Her Debut in the Part of Octavian on an American Stage - Schorr in Cast

The brilliant Monday night audience that gathered for the performance of Richard Strauss's "Rosenkavalier" in the Metropolitan Opera House encountered a cast with new and interesting elements, if you like, but also a cast of which the greatest attraction was its most familiar figure: Lotte Lehmann's Princess of Werdenberg.

She is never heard in the role without a sensation of fresh admiration on the part of the listener. The reason for this is simple: that a great interpretation can be familiar in every word and note, and yet have such a vital and significant quality that the emotion which it arouses is never anything but a new and moving experience.

Interpretation Is Praised

The humanity of this impersonation, and the finished and tempered art with which it is achieved become more and not less impressive with the passage of the seasons. This impression is remarkably carried out by the very warm and communicative quality of the voice itself, and the wealth of meaning given each tone, each nuance of phrasing or color. The interpretation does not alter in essentials, but seems to grow and perfect itself with each repetition.

Rapturous reports in Prague papers concerning Miss Stevens's Octavian have been read here. Expectation of her first American appearance in this part was the keener because of her manifest talent and voice as they were displayed on the preceding Saturday afternoon in "Mignon." It must be said by this writer that last night she was disappointing.

Musical Feeling Seen

She is not yet fully equal to the part of Octavian despite her contagious sincerity, musical feeling and aptitude for the stage. It seemed on Saturday that Miss Stevens's voice would be available for many roles - even, possibly, heroic ones. This is probably true if she does not hurry matters. The tessitura of the Octavian music, in certain places, is cruel. Miss Stevens had not the upper octave last night that met its necessities and she should beware of asking too much of her fine organ at this time. The warmth and the impetuosity of her Octavian were good to behold and to feel. She enlivened the stage with her presence.

Nor is the rest of our tale particularly joyous. It cannot be said, for example, that Miss Farell was well cast as Sophie. The voice is too light and the impersonation lacks distinction. Mr. Schorr's Faninal is accomplished in all that pertains to intelligent and musicianly interpretation, but is not highly effective. Mr. List's Ochs, sonorously sung, if in an undistinguished manner, is logy, uneventful, almost unprovoking.

Ochs is coarse, loutish, offensive, yet, after his own country circle and class, high-born and sure of himself, overbearingly so. He is goatish, but a character, a specimen of a certain kind, and a dramatic precipitant. Sophie need not have feared and Octavian would hardly have needed to discipline him with his sword.

Why Mr. Massue for the tenor's song? Numerous smaller parts were done in amusing fashion, and the ensemble was well carried out, while Mr. Bodanzky conducted with exceptional spirit. But that did not suffice entirely to carry the show. The one who did that was Lotte Lehmann.



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