[Met Performance] CID:168090
Tannhäuser {377} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/25/1955.

(Debut: Bernd Aldenhoff
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 25, 1955


TANNHÄUSER {377}

Tannhäuser..............Bernd Aldenhoff [Debut]
Elisabeth...............Margaret Harshaw
Wolfram.................Josef Metternich
Venus...................Brenda Lewis
Hermann.................Jerome Hines
Walther.................Giulio Gari
Heinrich................Paul Franke
Biterolf................Clifford Harvuot
Reinmar.................Norman Scott
Shepherd................Heidi Krall

Conductor...............Rudolf Kempe

Review signed F. M. in Musical America

A new Wagnerian tenor, Bernd Aldenhoff, made his American debut in the title role. Mr. Aldenhoff, who has had experience in Munich and Bayreuth, displayed a powerful but unpredictable voice, strong in projection, flexible if not too agile, and often poorly focused. Since he improved steadily in the course of the evening, some of his difficulties probably stemmed from nervousness, although none was revealed in his acting. The tenor's best range seems to be high; here he ranges from a ringing, if occasionally edgy, fortissimo to a truly lovely mezza-voce. On the whole the debut was encouraging, even if his somewhat leonine demeanor and a feeling for the more declamatory and dramatic scenes - he excelled in the "Rome Narrative" - suggest that Mr. Aldenhoff may prove less valuable as a Heldentenor than as, say, Mime or Herod.

Margaret Harshaw as Elisabeth provided some of the best singing of this performance. Her "Dich, teure Halle" established standards of clarity, accuracy, and warmth from which she never deviated. As for the other ladies, Brenda Lewis sang capably, if with want of color and carrying power, as Venus, but her acting was hedged by precious little divinity, while Heidi Krall as the Shepherd achieved the distinction of delivering her solo not only sweetly but consistently sharp instead of flat.

The male contingent was well represented by the Messrs. Hines, Metternich, Franke, Gari, Harvuot, and Scott. Though he sounded hoarse now and then, Josef Metternich was particularly well cast as the patient Wolfram, and the light texture of his baritone was a refreshing change in the "Evening Star" apostrophe. Perhaps the true hero of the evening was Rudolf Kempe in the pit. Seemingly in blissful ignorance of the fact that he was to conduct the broadcast performance of "Arabella" only 15 hours later, the dynamic Mr. Kempe won an ovation for the overture and proceeded through the taxing score with characteristic intensity, reverence, and spasmodic fire.



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