[Met Performance] CID:141770
Tannhäuser {356} Chicago, Illinois: 05/6/1946.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
May 6, 1946


TANNHÄUSER {356}

Tannhäuser..............Torsten Ralf
Elisabeth...............Helen Traubel
Wolfram.................Martial Singher
Venus...................Kerstin Thorborg
Hermann.................Alexander Kipnis [Last performance]
Walther.................John Garris
Heinrich................Emery Darcy
Biterolf................Osie Hawkins
Reinmar.................Wellington Ezekiel
Shepherd................Maxine Stellman
Dance...................Marina Svetlova
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Elissa Minet
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Natasha Tzvetcova
Dance...................Stephen Billings
Dance...................Josef Carmassi

Conductor...............Fritz Busch

From an article in the NY Times

The Metropolitan Opera Association opened a one-week stand in Chicago tonight with Wagner's "Tannhaeuser," using current for stage lighting from two dynamos aboard the government cargo ship Mainsheet Eye, which was moored in the Chicago river at the opera house, feeding the current backstage through eleven leads of one-inch cable totaling more than 3,000 feet in length.

The emergency lighting was gratifying for music lovers in the audience of 3,600 that turned out but an exasperating anti-climax for those who came to show off finery, because the stringent industrial and commercial dim-out barred the use of house lights. Not a single electric motor was used.

Herbert E. Carlin, manager of the opera house, explained that any use of current other than the six 1,000-watt "night lights," which burn constantly, would be in violation of emergency use regulations resulting from the coal strike. Two of these lights, mounted on iron stands, shown on either side of the stage, two more were in the lobby, and the remaining two were backstage. Exit lights burned, and kerosene and gasoline lanterns supplemented lighting in the lobby and at the box office.

The capacity crowd had difficulty reading programs and the libretto, while following the score was generally impossible. The lighting conditions were equivalent to those in the average movie house.

Backstage, a maze of cable, supplying power to a capacity of 500 watts from two generators aboard the Mainsheet Eye, lead to "road switches," portable switchboards for use on tours. These were pressed into use because the emergency current was direct, while the theatre's permanent switchboard is tied in to the 1,250-kilowatt capacity alternating current supply mormally provided by the Commonwealth Edison Company.

J. Buchter, chief electrician of the Metropolitan, and Monte Fassnacht, technical director of the Chicago Opera Company, said seventy-five to eighty kilowatts was the top rate of consumption tonight. Use of road border lights and footlights was necesary, since the regular equipment was tied into the permanent switchboard.

The Mainsheet Eye was chartered by the Metropolitan and Chicago Opera organizations from the United States Maritime Commission, and will be available for the duration of the emergency.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).