[Met Performance] CID:20020
Das Rheingold {22} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/27/1899.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 27, 1899


DAS RHEINGOLD {22}

Wotan...................Anton Van Rooy
Fricka..................Lilli Lehmann
Alberich................David Bispham
Loge....................Ernest Van Dyck
Erda....................Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Fasolt..................Adolph Mühlmann
Fafner..................Lempriere Pringle
Freia...................Marie Engle
Froh....................Andreas Dippel
Donner..................Herman Devries
Mime....................Hans Meffert
Woglinde................Olga Pevny
Wellgunde...............Louise Meisslinger
Flosshilde..............Ernestine Schumann-Heink

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

Das Rheingold was performed without intermission.

[Special notice in the program: "Miss Marie Brema is suffering from a slight cold and begs the kind indulgence of the public." On account of her cold, Brema, the scheduled Fricka, withdrew from the performance and was replaced by Lilli Lehmann.


Review in the New York Times:

Mme. Lilli Lehmann Sings Fricka for the First Time at Short Notice

Wagner's "Das Rheingold," the "vorabend" of the Nibelung Trilogy, was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House last night, out of its regular order in the series. The performance was probably intended for the gratification of those subscribers who do not care enough for Wagner's tragedies to pay extra for the privilege of sitting through the four dramas. These have naturally not heard "Das Rheingold," and they must have had some curiosity to observe the fine work of Mr. Van Dyck in one of his best parts. They had an unexpected experience through the persistence of Marie Brema's cold. Yesterday morning it was thought that she had recovered sufficiently to be able to sing last night, but at 3 o'clock in the afternoon all hope of her appearance was given up, and Mr. Grau looked for another Fricka.

He had two others, but both of them had to appear as Rhine daughters in the first scene, and neither could be transformed into a Fricka as quickly as the depths of the Rhine into a shady mead opposite the newly completed Walhalla. Every opera announced this season has been given, except once, and Mr. Gruad did not care to cause another disappointment. Hence he turned to that walking storehouse of Wagnerian Lore, Lilli Lehmann, and though she had never sung Fricka, she naturally knew the part, and consented to appear in it last night. Aside from the mere tax of recalling unfamiliar text and music at such short notice, the task was an easy one for her, and she was an eminently satisfactory representative of the chief goddess. Mme. Lehmann is a tower of strength in the operas of the German repertory, and could probably sing any part in any one of them at a day's notice.

The other members of the cast were those who were heard at the performance in the cycle. Again the warmest words of praise are commanded by the Loge of Ernst Van Dyck. Nothing done on the Metropolitan Opera House stage this season has equaled this performance in the completeness of its delineation of character. As a piece of acting, it takes rank with Sir Henry Irving's Mephistopheles or M. Maurel's Iago, though it lacks the vocal subtlety of the latter, and therefore fails to fulfill one of the fundamental requirements of operatic performances laid down by M. Maurel, that a singer must embody character with his voice. Yet it cannot be said that Mr. Van Dyck's singing is unsuited to Loge. The part could be sung better; that is all. But, despite its vocal faults, Mr. Van Dyck's Loge is a striking impersonation, and will remain as one of the bright memories of a memorable season.

The work of the other members of the cast did not differ in any respect from that of the first performance. Mr. Bispham's Alberich was well worthy of a second exhibition. It is one of the popular baritone's most successful assumptions, and in it voice and vocal style are both fully equal to the demands of the music. Mr. Van Rooy was once more an admirable Wotan and Mr. Muhlmann deserves praise again for his excellent Fasolt. Mr. Schalk conducted with skill.



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