[Met Performance] CID:146050
Die Zauberflöte {102} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/14/1947.

(Debut: Clifford Harvuot
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 14, 1947


DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE {102}
Mozart-Schikaneder
In English

Pamina..................Nadine Conner
Tamino..................Charles Kullman
Queen of the Night......Mimi Benzell
Sarastro................Ezio Pinza
Papageno................John Brownlee
Papagena................Lillian Raymondi
Monostatos..............John Garris
Speaker.................Jerome Hines
First Lady..............Irene Jessner
Second Lady.............Maxine Stellman
Third Lady..............Martha Lipton
Genie...................Frances Greer
Genie...................Irene Jordan
Genie...................Thelma Altman
Priest..................Felix Knight
Priest..................Louis D'Angelo
Guard...................Emery Darcy
Guard...................Clifford Harvuot [Debut]

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

Director................Herbert Graf
Designer................Richard Rychtarik

Translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin


Die Zauberflöte received seven performances this season.

Review of Arthur V. Berger in the New York Herald Tribune

Metropolitan Presents Mozart Opera, Stiedry Conducting

Mozart's "The Magic Flute" returned to the active repertory of the Metropolitan Opera Association last night after a season's absence, looking and sounding much the same as it had when previously given here, with the notable exception that Bruno Walter was not in the pit to animate and pace the dramatic scenes and give warmth to the reflective ones. Fritz Stiedry, who conducted the Mozart opera here for the first time, was, except in the overture, authoritative and discriminating, but the effect was rather black and white, without much nuance in between and without much tenderness.

But his contribution was, perhaps, the least conspicuous of the limiting factors. More disturbing among these, rather, is the Metropolitan's unwillingness to accept the basic oratorio character of Mozart's most problematic music drama and to resort to bold, perhaps even extravagant, fantasy in the stage machinery and accessory action as a means of providing the dramatic interest. There is, too, the troublesome question of personnel. If all the principals, last night, had sung with the elegance, vocal refinement and loving care of Nadine Conner as Pamina or even the ample (though occasionally disturbed) resonance and live phrasing of Ezio Pinza as Sarastro (when his vocal line did not descend too low), there would have been much to be thankful for.

As it was, Mr. Kullman, though in better voice than he has been, was nasal and pinched, as usual, when he ascended above his middle tones, and gave everything a curiously tear-drenched quality even where lightness and abandon were required. It is long since a Queen of the Night of consequence has been heard here, and thus, relatively speaking, Miss Benzell deserves some credit for enunciating the coloratura passages. But she gave to these a studied air, and rather neglected the extraordinary passion of all the rest.

Jerome Hines, appearing as the High Priest for the first time, delivered his passage with round, admirably controlled tones and dignity, but not quite enough color. Mr. Brownlee's antics as Papageno do not wear too well, and, vocally, he took a while before he approached his tones directly in the center. But his confidence and animation are always a delight. Matching some of Miss Conner's fine singing and admirable approach to her top tones, Miss Jessner was a pleasurable coordinator of the Three Ladies who maintained better ensemble than the Three Genii.



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