[Met Performance] CID:146890
Tannhäuser {361} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/30/1948.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 30, 1948 Matinee
Metropolitan Opera Guild Student Performance


TANNHÄUSER {361}

Tannhäuser..............Set Svanholm
Elisabeth...............Astrid Varnay
Wolfram.................Alexander Sved
Venus...................Blanche Thebom
Hermann.................Dezsö Ernster
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 Herbert F. Peyser in Musical America

The first of a series of five special matinees for students, sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild, took place before an audience of some 3,400 Jan. 30. The opera was "Tannhäuser" and its chief feature Set Svanholm's initial Metropolitan appearance in the title role. The impersonation brought an unwonted distinction to the performance, the fourth which Wagner's work has enjoyed this season.

Mr. Svanholm's embodiment is one which really merits close study. It has admirable elements not only with respect to bearing and well-conceived detail of action, but it is sung with a brilliant and heroic ring even if the bright timbre of the tenor's voice does not, by its very nature, lend itself altogether convincingly to trenchant expressions of poignancy (the "Zum Heil den Sündigen zu fhhren," for instance, lacked some of that piercing "Schmerzensakzent" the composer asked in this crucial passage). Yet Mr. Svanholm's unfailing plastique and his uncommon psychological penetration were constantly manifest, and never more so than in the subtle transitions of mood in an episode like the defiant utterance of the song to Venus at the climax of the Sängerkrieg. This was most expressively mirrored in the artist's amazing play of feature, gesture and movement. By and large, his Tannhäuser occupies a high place in his list of cumulative Wagnerian achievements.

The rest of the cast was as it has been earlier this season. Mack Harrell, prevented by illness from undertaking Wolfram, was replaced in the part by Alexander Sved, who offered a routine performance. Deszo Ernster, though he had gone through the exertions of Hagen 24 hours earlier, was once more the Landgrave. Blanche Thebom's Venus, Astrid Varnay's Elisabeth, Maxine Stellman's Shepherd and the various minstrel-knights of Messrs. Garris, Kinsman, Darcy and Hawkins displayed their now customary solo or ensemble qualities. Mr. Stiedry conducted; it would have been surprising indeed if both he and the orchestra had not been somewhat fagged after their "Götterdämmerung" exertions of the previous day.



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