[Met Performance] CID:23270
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {53} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/24/1900.

(Debuts: Fritz Friedrichs, Mr. Bertinetti
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 24, 1900


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {53}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Anton Van Rooy
Eva.....................Emma Eames
Walther von Stolzing....Andreas Dippel
Magdalene...............Ernestine Schumann-Heink
David...................Hans Breuer
Beckmesser..............Fritz Friedrichs [Debut]
Pogner..................Theodore Bertram
Kothner.................Adolph Mühlmann
Vogelgesang.............Roberto Vanni
Nachtigall..............Arturo Borin
Ortel...................Theodore Meux
Zorn....................Auguste Queyla
Moser...................Catullo Maestri
Eisslinger..............Mr. Bertinetti [Debut]
Foltz...................Giuseppe Cernusco
Schwarz.................Otto Weber
Night Watchman..........Lempriere Pringle

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

Director................Pierre Baudu

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received five performances this season.

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

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

"Die Meistersinger" Sung for the First Time this Season

Wagner's comic opera, " Die Meistersinger," was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House last night for the first time this season. The audience was one of uncommon size and it paid the tribute of the closest attention to the performance. This tribute was more than perfunctory, for it was commanded by the merits of a representation of more than ordinary fidelity to the composer's intentions. If the outcome was not always in accord with the aims of the singers, the shortcomings were due to natural limitations and to personal peculiarities not always possible, and, invariably, very inconvenient to overstep. The interest of the comedy was sustained from beginning to end and in the treatment of the stage groupings and action there were evidences that Mr. Van Rooy, the Hans Sachs; Mr. Friedrichs, the Beckmesser, and Mme. Schumann-Heink, fresh from the Baireuth experiences of last summer, had been potent influences in the preparations for the production.

The reconciliation of the two elements, recitative always bordering on speech and pure lyric singing, which are the fundamental factors of the vocal part of "Die Meistersinger," is not always so successfully achieved as it was last night. Most of the conversational recitation is in the hands of Beckmesser and this character was last night, to the benefit of the audience, in the hands of such a capable interpreter as Fritz Friedrichs, who is conceded to be the best Beckmesser in Germany. Those who were expecting that he would attempt to sing the music may have been disappointed, but those who fully understood the dramatic purpose of Wagner in writing the part were delighted with his complete and convincing conception of the character, one that did not include any element of buffoonery and a presentation of it which never transcended the bounds of legitimate comedy. His treatment of the text was deliciously funny and his parlando, which often ran into simple talk, was a much more convincing demonstration of the possibilities of Mr. Ffrangcon-Davies's " cantillation " than that admirable singer's own.

Happily paired with this Beckmesser was the Magdalena of Mme. Schumann-Heink, an impersonation perfect in its conception and deliciously, delicately artistic in its details of execution. It was worth going to the opera last night just to hear the humorous manner in which she pronounced the words. The contribution to the lower comedy of the opera made by Mr. Breuer as David was very small and his singing was of a kind on which comment is best omitted.

Mr. Van Rooy appeared as Hans Sachs for the first time here. His interpretation of the part was conscientious and painstaking; but for some reason, not easy to name, it missed the note of genial bigheartedness which is essential to conviction in this part. Possibly this was due to his deficiency in variety of facial expression and it may also have been the result of the explosive energy of his singing. Whatever was the cause, his Hans Sachs lacked definiteness of characterization and warmth of feeling. Mr. Dippel was a gallant and demonstrative Walther von Stolzing, but he was not wholly satisfactory in his delivery of the lyric measures of his role. Mr. Bertram was a wholly conventional Pogner, but he sang the address with dignity and earnestness. The minor masters were all badly represented and their singing in the first act was a thing to make angels weep.

Mme. Eames was the same lovely Eva as of old and the change from Italian to German, not made for the first time last night, did not prevent her from singing the music beautifully. The apprentices were a lively set and contributed much to the animation of the same. Mr. Paur conducted and for him and the orchestra hearty commendation is in order. The orchestral work was full of flexibility, grace and musical beauty. The instruments sang their share of the work most vocally and Mr. Paur showed a complete understanding of the work and a genuine sympathy with it.



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