[Met Performance] CID:19700
Die Walküre {53} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/28/1898.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 28, 1898


DIE WALKÜRE {53}

Brünnhilde..............Lilli Lehmann
Siegmund................Ernest Van Dyck
Sieglinde...............Emma Eames
Wotan...................Anton Van Rooy
Fricka..................Louise Meisslinger
Hunding.................Lempriere Pringle
Gerhilde................Maud Roudez
Grimgerde...............Minnie Molka-Kellogg
Helmwige................Olga Pevny
Ortlinde................Mathilde Bauermeister
Rossweisse..............Marthe Djella
Schwertleite............Katherine Fleming-Hinrichs [Last performance]
Siegrune................Eugenia Mantelli
Waltraute...............Louise Meisslinger

Conductor...............Franz Schalk

Unsigned review in The New York Times (W. J. Henderson?)

'DIE WALKURE" AT THE OPERA

Lilli Lehmann Makes Her Reappearance in Her Favorite Role of Brunnhilde

With such a remarkable list of artists as that of his present company, Mr. Maurice Grau can repeat opera pretty frequently and yet make some new interests for each occasion by a change of cast. Last night "Die Walküre" was performed for the fourth time this season at the Metropolitan Opera House, but the evening was made one of uncommon importance by the reappearance, of the great Wagnerian soprano, Lilli Lehmann. She came forward once more in her favorite rôle of Brünnhilde. There was a large audience to greet her and there was an attempt to give her a long round of applause when she was discovered at the rising of the curtain on the second act. But the situation is not favorable for a reception. The recitative begins at once and the audience had to be silent and listen. But at the end of the act the listener had opportunity testify to their delight and they did so in a which could have left in Mme. Lehmann's mind that her hold on the public affection was as strong as ever.

How many times have these columns held enthusiastic words of praise for her majestic yet touching impersonation of the Valkyr? Pity it is, indeed, that the ruthless hand of time should brush the bloom off that incomparable voice, yet we should rejoice that at the age of fifty this woman's noble art has kept her vocal gifts in such fine condition. Does singing Wagner ruin the voice? Lilli Lehmann has been singing his music for twenty-two years and has reached the age at which Patti's warbling of "Comin' Thro' the Rye" is called a wonder, yet last night Mme. Lehmann triumphed the wild of 'Hojotoho" in tones that blended clarion brilliancy with flutelike sweetness. The voice is not what it was ten years ago; that is true. But what voice of that age is? Yet it is still a noble and beautiful voice and it is still employed with that consummate art of a singer whose school is the only true one, the old school of pure bel canto.

In the maturity of her days Mme. Lehmann is a grand impersonator of Brünnhilde. There is, perhaps, a little more reserve in some parts of her delivery, but the same complete and convincing conception of the rôle is presented as we learned to love in former days. It is a happy thing for this community and for art that Lilli Lehmann is still able to show up the plenitude of her temperamental gifts and the depth and breadth of her understanding of Wagner.

The other members of last night's cast were the same as at the last performance of the drama. Ernst Van Dyck, who was again the Siegmund, was in much better voice last night and his delivery of the music was therefore more agreeable; but it can never be perfectly satisfying because of his vicious method of tone formation. Mme. Eames repeated her credible impersonation of Sieglinde, but some of her singing was not faultless. Anton Van Rooy was again a noble Wotan. Mr. Schalk conducted the work in the same way as he did before and made one yearn to hear more enthusiasm in the orchestral utterances of the Volsung motive in the closing passage of Act I. His whole reading of this score lacks spontaneity.



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