[Met Performance] CID:17520
Tannhäuser {72} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/20/1896.

(Debut: Jules Gogny
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 20, 1896
In French


TANNHÄUSER {72}
Wagner-Wagner

Tannhäuser..............Jules Gogny [Debut]
Elisabeth...............Emma Eames
Wolfram.................Jean Lassalle
Venus...................Marie Engle
Hermann.................Pol Plançon
Walther.................Lloyd D'Aubigné
Heinrich................Igenio Corsi
Biterolf................Jacques Bars
Reinmar.................Antonio De Vaschetti
Shepherd................Mathilde Bauermeister

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

Director................William Parry

Tannhäuser received three performances this season.

[On occasion this season some roles were performed in Italian.]

Unsigned review (Reginald De Koven?)

While recognizing some excellent things about the performance, it must be said that on the whole there was a feeling engendered by listening to it which might appropriately be expressed by exclaiming "The times are out of joint." The whole idea and conception of the music by Mancinelli, for instance, was wrong, and exceedingly aggravating to those who know the spirit and letter of the score. Such listless dragging, such lethargic heaviness, such misplaced or overdrawn romantic sentimentality could scarcely be paralleled in the memory of operagoers if his leading of "Die Meistersinger" a few evenings ago were not remembered. But, indeed, that interpretation was strong and firm compared with last evening's nerveless performance. Lassalle's Wolfram contributed much to the wearisome languor of the occasion, and he frequently sang below pitch.

Of the Knights, M. Bars was the only one who did well, the septet in the hunting scene being incompetently sung to its near ruin. The chorus at the finale of the second act was out of tune and shaky, though all praise should be given to it for splendid work at the assembling of the troubadours in the hall of song.

Venus by Mlle. Engle possessed much beauty and rare sweetness of tone, but she can improve the part greatly by a more forcible and dramatic portrayal of the powerful goddess, who, it must be remembered, can command even better than she can entreat. Plançon was, as usual, polished and perfect in his role. He wore magnificent robes that were as kingly as Eames's dresses were fit for a queen.

Mum. Eames was beyond and above all the other singers in artistic conception and in conscientious working out of her representation. Her voice was beautifully broad, sympathetic, and vastly more powerful than in former years. The famous prayer was given with an ease unknown to any previous "Elizabeth," and was really a gem of finished vocal art. She looked the gentle princess to perfection, and under more auspicious circumstances her whole delineation would have been able to shine brighter. As it was she distinctly carried off the honors of the evening by a dignified and entirely adequate performance.

Of M. Gogny, who is a newcomer, there are many pleasant things to say and think. He has a handsome face and figure, a most agreeable and romantic personality, and, though he is not burdened with dramatic fire, yet he is a good and graceful actor. His voice, is agreeable, trained entirely in the French school, which, with its tendency to the development of the white voice, unfits even the strongest and richest organ for best effects of German singing, and also for much of the Italian music of the past. However, barring the fact that Gogny sang the recital of his pilgrimage with the same sentiment and gestures he would use for "Salve Dimora," he made a "Tannhaüser" very welcome both to see and in hear.

The French language is uneasy in Wagner's works, and Wagner's works hate the French language. His music actually avoids it, and notes slip out when they can. But if there were a conductor who would make some climaxes and hold phrases together, instead of stretching them out into long twiny lengths, and who could get some of the ruggedness that belongs to the music into his orchestra, it would be better for all concerned.



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