[Met Performance] CID:201000
Der Fliegende Holländer {68} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/19/1965.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 19, 1965


DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER {68}
Wagner-Wagner

Dutchman................George London
Senta...................Leonie Rysanek
Erik....................Sándor Kónya
Daland..................Giorgio Tozzi
Mary....................Gladys Kriese
Steersman...............George Shirley

Conductor...............Karl Böhm

Production..............Herbert Graf
Stage Director..........Hans Busch
Set designer............Robert Edmond Jones
Set designer............Charles Elson
Costume designer........Mary Percy Schenck

Der Fliegende Holländer received twenty-one performances this season.

Review of Irving Kolodin in the February 6, 1965 issue of the Saturday Review

Böhm's "Dutchman"

The kind of conviction without which Wagner's "Flying Dutchman" had better be left unperformed was, fortunately, in abundant supply at its reappearance in the Metropolitan's repertory. It was there not only in a rousing performance of the overture - which need not be surprising, for it is a work that breeds conviction - but also in a very considerable part of what follows, which doesn't. But to Karl Böhm, making his seasonal reappearance, it was all one which may be inbred with a conductor who spent so much of his time in Dresden, where the Dutchman first came ashore in 1843.

For this evening at least, if one read Böhm's results correctly, there was no Wagner of "Tristan" or "Parsifal," " Meistersinger" or even" Lohengrin," but only a burning talent of twenty-seven, now bursting out in a glow, now only smoldering. But there was no doubt of the creator's concern for his characters, whether they were Erik in his hopeless love, the Dutchman in despairing thirst for salvation, or Senta vacillating between them. Now and then, to continue the image, the ashes were more conspicuous than the coals, but Böhm fanned a blaze wherever it was the least bit possible.

The means for doing this were almost as interesting as the results - not merely physical huffing and puffing, but a settled sense of the right pace and emphasis, a keen awareness of where to let the orchestra assume prominence and where to allow the voices a proper priority, a nice understanding of how to coordinate the elements of Beethoven and Weber that went into Wagner's emerging style with the things about that style that were distinctive as well as new.

Not much of even such a sensitive effort would have been productive without a cast capable of serving the invisible as well as visible master suitably. With the exception of Gladys Kriese, who sang a competent Mary in her first effort here in this part, the cast was both experienced and able, with a range from the imposing Dutchman of George London (whose dramatic resources are having to serve more and more in lien of vocal variety) through the likable Daland of Giorgio Tozzi to the compelling Senta of Leonie Rysanek. Whether or not she is in voice, Miss Rysanek's identity with this subject is total, and this time she had flexibility at the bottom to balance the burst of sound she can produce at the top. Quite alone, in a category of excellence, was Sándor Kónya's Erik. He not only looks and acts the part of a man consumed by a hopeless passion, but sang the music in a way to define, exactly, its relationship to "Lohengrin," which was soon to come. The chorus, female as well as male, did its important work well, and the orchestra rose to what, plainly, was an occasion.



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