[Met Performance] CID:143460
Metropolitan Opera Premiere (Walpurgis Night)
Hänsel und Gretel {141}
Walpurgis Night {1}
Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/27/1946.

(Debuts: Audrey Keane, Fiala Mraz, Tilda Morse, Nina Boneck, Alice Temkin, Alexandra Sawicka, Leila Kantro, Kathryn Sanger, Orrin Hill, Karl Kritz
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 27, 1946 Matinee
Metropolitan Opera Guild Student Performance
In English


HÄNSEL UND GRETEL {141}
Humperdinck-Wette

Hänsel..................Risë Stevens
Gretel..................Nadine Conner
Gertrud.................Claramae Turner
Peter...................John Brownlee
Witch...................Thelma Votipka
Sandman.................Lucielle Browning
Dew Fairy...............Lillian Raymondi

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry

Director................Herbert Graf
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Gretel Urban

Translation by Bache
Hänsel und Gretel received five performances this season.
[The Urban sets were repainted by Novak.]


Metropolitan Opera Premiere

WALPURGIS NIGHT {1}
Gounod

Faust...................Leon Varkas
Méphistophélès..........Edward Caton
Hélène..................Marina Svetlova
Phryné..................Irene Hawthorne
Cléopâtre...............Elissa Minet
Aspazie.................Lorraine Ammerman
Laïs....................Lola Michel
Dance...................Audrey Keane [Debut]
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Fiala Mraz [Debut]
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Tilda Morse [Debut]
Dance...................Nina Boneck [Debut]
Dance...................Julia Barashkova
Dance...................Alice Temkin [Debut]
Dance...................Alexandra Sawicka [Debut]
Dance...................Leila Kantro [Debut]
Dance...................Kathryn Sanger [Debut]
Dance...................Orrin Hill [Debut]

Conductor...............Karl Kritz [Debut]

Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

Walpurgis Night received five performances this season.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the Sun

"HANSEL" AT MET DONE IN ENGLISH

Despite the perils incident to a children's matinee at the Metropolitan including a direct hit scored on this listener by an oversized jelly bean dropped from the balcony. It was a generous enjoyment to have Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" return to the repertory yesterday afternoon. This was actually "and" Gretel, for it was done in a generally admirable English translation by Constance Bache, with a cast - for once - wholly Anglo-Saxon.

Almost everybody sang clearly enough to be understood much of the time, and Nadine Conner, as Gretel, and Rise Stevens, as Hansel, could be followed most of the time. Together they made up the best brother-and-sister act to be heard at the Metropolitan in recent times, with Miss Conner a notably delightful performer - pert, childlike and clear-voiced (all in very artistic terms). Miss Stevens had the harder task and did it quite as well, if one granted that Hansel, at 14, would eventually grow up to look something like the mature Lauritz Melchior. Her Hansel, as well as being cleanly and charmingly sung, had a well-studied awkwardness that neatly suited the character, as one who had the experience, I can attest that it was really boyish.

Since the opera has not been given for eight seasons the cast was new from top to bottom. John Brownlee and Claramae Turner played the parents; the former with a little constricted tone and not the clearest enunciation, the latter with fine plentitude of voice and very pointed, distinct English. Almost overly well sung was the Witch of Thelma Votipka, who made up for the "sin" of too much beautiful sound with some properly malicious gestures and a make-up that was hideous, if not in the usual sense bewitching. Lucielle Browning and Lillian Raymondi were the Sandman and Dewman, with a much brighter voice in the morning than the evening.

Even if one angel lost a wing, the production had a reasonable amount of illusion, for which Wendell Endicott of the Boston Opera Association (whose gift made the production possible) can be thanked. Certainly the beauties of Humperdinck's unique score were revealed in this performance, though Fritz Stiedry's slow tempos in the overture and in the finale of the first act made them linger a little beyond their welcome. Since his direction was otherwise spirited and well phrased, one may expect some second thoughts on these matters. Herbert Graf was responsible for the generally good staging.

As if determined to make its youthful audience see how both halves lived, the angelic opera was followed by the devilish "Walpurgis Nacht" ballet from "Faust," in which the characters include Aspazie, Cleopatra and Helene. In a miracle of understatement, the program remarked succinctly "Faust yields to their charms." Karl Kritz made his debut as the conductor of this work, with Leon Varkas as Faust and Marina Svetlova (Helene), Elissa Minet (Cleopatra) and Lorraine Ammerman (Aspazie) as the principal dancers.



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