[Met Performance] CID:22960
Tannhäuser {88} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/28/1899.

(Debut: Johanna Gadski

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
December 28, 1899


Tannhäuser..............Ernest Van Dyck
Elisabeth...............Johanna Gadski [Debut]
Wolfram.................Theodore Bertram
Venus...................Susan Strong
Hermann.................Pol Plançon
Walther.................Jacques Bars
Heinrich................Auguste Queyla
Biterolf................Adolph Mühlmann
Reinmar.................Theodore Meux
Shepherd................Rosa Olitzka

Conductor...............Emil Paur

Photograph of Johanna Gadski as Elisabeth by Aimé Dupont.

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)


The performance of "Tannhäuser" at the Academy of Music last night being, for various reasons, an interesting one, was in very many respects a most excellent one. It was interesting from the fact that Mr. Paur, whose work with the Boston Symphony Orchestra is so well remembered, took his seat for the first time as conductor of the Metropolitan Opera House Orchestra; that the role of Venus was sung here for the first time by Miss Susan Strong; that Mr. Bertram, a baritone new to Philadelphia, made his first appearance and, lastly, that the totally unexpected pleasure of hearing Mme. Gadski this season in opera came about.

To begin at the beginning the overture was exceedingly well played with the one reservation that, the last part was somewhat marred by the too heavy pounding of the cymbals. The orchestra played with spirit without being aggressive and its phrasing was admirable. Mr. Paur held his men under perfect control, and to his admirable management much of the success of the opera is due. If at times the voices were a little overpowered it was due to the fact that the volume of sound from the instruments came directly into the theatre instead of being reflected from a partially covered orchestra as the composer intended, a subject on which we shall have something to say at a later date.

Amongst some very good ones there have been so many Venuses that shrieked that it was a positive pleasure to hear Miss Susan Strong sing Wagner's music. Her voice, while not a powerful one, is of a most agreeable quality, and in presence she fully filled all the requirements of the part. Mr. Bertram, the newcomer, immediately found favor with the audience. He is a handsome looking man of commanding presence, with a rich and beautiful baritone voice, a voice full of warmth and color, a voice that strikes an answering note in the hearts of those who hear him. He acted Wolfram's part with manly dignity and his song to the evening star was so beautifully sung that the audience sat in dead silence until the orchestra had finished the last note of the melodious accompaniment and Tannhäuser had commenced his recitative.

Mme. Gadski's appearance in the hall of the minstrels in the Wartburg was greeted with prolonged applause. How realistic the words of her greeting must have appeared to her, for it was on this stage that she grew to be the great artist she undoubtedly is and it was in the Academy that she gained her reputation. She was in perfect voice and never sang better. Van Dyck's Tannhäuser is well known. His acting is good, but inclined to exaggeration; vocally he is uneven, and his top notes are sadly worn. M. Plançon sang, as he did on Tuesday last, magnificently, and gave a most dignified impersonation of the Landgrave. Unfortunately the scenery was execrably bad, and the noise of its shifting in the first act greatly interfered with Mme. Olitzka's singing as the Shepherd.

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