[Met Performance] CID:14400
Lohengrin {91} Grand Opera House, Washington, D.C.: 02/21/1895.


Washington, D.C.
Grand Opera House
February 21, 1895
In Italian


Lohengrin...............Jean de Reszke
Elsa....................Lillian Nordica
Ortrud..................Eugenia Mantelli
Telramund...............Mario Ancona
King Heinrich...........Pol Planšon
Herald..................Abram Abramoff

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

Review in The Washington Post:

It is safe to say that we have never had in Washington such a performance of "Lohengrin" as that of last night. Possibly the cast might not be considered ideal in Baireuth or Berlin, where the Wagnerian idea is sternly realized and where individuality is merged and subordinated to the central plan. Such voices as those of Jean de Reszke and Nordica and Plancon are disturbing factors in the Wagnerian equation. They assert themselves. They obscure the dominant thought. They refuse to be mere tributaries to a supreme purpose and they awaken the old wicked yearning for mere luxurious sensation, against which the great maestro battled so angrily and fiercely. As one listens to De Reszke's wonderful organ, cultivated so perfectly and used with such magical effect, the Philistine awakens in him and, forgetting the swan, the grail, the fanfare, and the tumult, he pictures to himself that voice apostrophizing the white wonder of the Huguenot girl's throat, or thrilling the donjon tower with the captive troubadour's passionate complaint. It is irreverent, it is sordid and inferior, no doubt, but Wagner, with all the magic of his art, has not yet cured us of our poor humanity, and we fear he never will. It were base ingratitude, however, to withhold the acknowledgement that last night's performance was both a pleasure and a privilege. Nothing comparable to it has been seen or heard in Washington.

There are some dreary wastes in "Lohengrin"--long, sterile expanses to be traversed, where musical delight is as sparse as vegetation in Sahara, but that is no fault of the artists who interpreted Wagner's extraordinary work for us and who at least gave us a far richer feast than we had, as a community, known before. Possibly one may hear "Lohengrin" more adequately presented somewhere in the world, but that will not be upon this side of the ocean, at least within the present generation.

The distribution last night was almost an embarass de richesses. Not only did we have Nordica, De Reszke, and Plancon, in the parts of Elsa, Lohengrin, and King Henry, but for Ortrud there was Mme. Mantelli, and as Frederick of Telramund, Signor Ancona. With such artists in the leading parts, it is hardly necessary to say that the magnificent quintet of the duel scene of the first act was given with superb effect. Of that number, indeed, it may be said that it should end rather than usher in the opera. After hearing it and being subject to the exaltation of its indescribable harmony one feels more like swooning than listening again. In addition to this, the duo of Elsa and Ortrud in the second act, the exquisite prelude of the third act, and the wedding chorus, and the scene between Lohengrin and Elsa, received especial applause. Of course, the swan song in the finale had the usual ovation.

To Signor Mancinelli, however, and to the superb orchestra over which he presided, the chief honors of the evening are due as must be the case in any performance of Wagnerian opera. To him, the maestro, and to his magic and, we owe the greatest delight, and offer the utmost of our gratitude and admiration.

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