[Met Performance] CID:146510
Tannhäuser {360} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/27/1947.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 27, 1947


TANNHÄUSER {360}

Tannhäuser..............Torsten Ralf
Elisabeth...............Polyna Stoska
Wolfram.................Herbert Janssen
Venus...................Astrid Varnay
Hermann.................Mihály Székely
Walther.................John Garris
Heinrich................Emery Darcy
Biterolf................Osie Hawkins
Reinmar.................Philip Kinsman
Shepherd................Maxine Stellman
Dance...................Marina Svetlova
Dance...................Peggy Smithers
Dance...................Lorraine Ammerman
Dance...................Elissa Minet
Dance...................Ilona Murai
Dance...................Josef Carmassi
Dance...................William Sarazen

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

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

"Tannhäuser"

Polyna Stoska Sings as Elisabeth at Metropolitan

Polyna Stoska sang Elisabeth for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera House in Saturday night's performance of Wagner's "Tannhäuser," while Astrid Varney, who has frequently been heard here as Elisabeth, sang Venus for the first time in her career. The third new member of the Metropolitan's "Tannhäuser" cast was Mihaly Szekely as Landgraf Hermann.

Miss Stoska's singing of "Dich theure Halle" brought a pleasing sense of freshness and spontaneity into a performance which had thus far pursued a course of undistinguished routine, and her interpretation was vocally and visually persuasive. Her voice had an appealing brightness of hue, and a slight unevenness of quality faded from notice as the second act progressed. Without giving an impression of large size, her singing carried well, and her intervention in Tannhäuser's behalf was convincingly climactic.

Miss Varnay was less well cast as Venus, what with a considerable proportion of ill-focused tones and a vocal production which quite often suggested effort. The interpretation was earnest and gesturesome, but hardly convincing. Torsten Ralf, not in his best voice as Tannhäuser, gave a musical and dramatic impersonation which, while well-intentioned, remained mainly on a routine level. Herbert Janssen, as Wolfram, was in better voice in the second act than he had been in the first. Mr. Szekely sang with ample depth, but a certain overweightiness, as a duly serious ruler. Maxine Stellman, as the shepherd, and Messrs. Garris, Hawkins, Darcy and Kinsman completed the cast. The orchestra under Fritz Stiedry played often commendably, but at times too proclamatively. Apart from Miss Stoska's contribution, it was not one of the Metropolitan's more memorable presentations of this familiar work.



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