[Met Performance] CID:2340
Lohengrin {7} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/2/1884.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 2, 1884
In Italian

LOHENGRIN {7}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Italo Campanini
Elsa....................Christine Nilsson
Ortrud..................Emmy Fursch-Madi
Telramund...............Giuseppe Kaschmann
King Heinrich...........Franco Novara
Herald..................Ludovico Contini

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Review in The New York Times:

The ordinary impurity of intonation in the band of the Metropolitan Opera House was increased last night by the damp weather, which is notoriously harmful to the tone of the wood-winds. The effect was, of course, disturbing to the general excellences of the performance of "Lohengrin," and resulted in disaster in several of the scenes which ought to be the most striking in the work, because of the beautiful union in them of the musical, spectacular and dramatic factors. The dramatic choruses have never been sung in pitch at the new house (very seldom anywhere else, for that matter), but last night, with the added discord of the band, they several times became the very opposite of agreeable to the ear. In the fall season a number of misguided but zealous and well-meaning persons expressed the opinion that the fault of the untruthfulness of the chorus in the opera was due to the experiments then made with the depressed orchestra, the argument being that the singers were too far from the instruments and could not take their pitch from them. There never was any foundation in fact for the theory, but it served to help condemn the plan of putting the instrumentalists out of sight. Sig Vianesi's pantomime to the chorus on more than one occasion since, when they were singing below pitch, and the result last night when there was certainly no lack of assertiveness on the part of the band, ought to convince everybody that the difficulty never was an architectural one, but lies in the voice and ears of the chorus. Aside from this the music of many of the choruses is of a kind to stagger all but the student of choristers.

The principal characters in the opera were represented by the same artists as last fall: Elsa, Mme. Nilsson; Ortrud Mme. Fursch-Madi; Lohengrin, Signor Campanini; Telramund, Signor Kaschmann; the King, Signor Novara; the Herald, Sig. Contini. The singing and acting last night were out of a character to call for modification of the opinions expressed in this column on the occasion of the first and second performance of the opera. Mme. Nilsson's Elsa remains a representation that touches ideal excellence in many points, and fall short in little else than in the dreaminess and ecstasy which is essential to a perfect conveyance of the poet-musician's intentions in the first act. When Signor Campanini is in good voice (his condition last night was better than any time since his return, except of March 17, when he sang in "Carmen") and on his guard against a tendency to exaggerate the small passions that are incompatible with a knight of the Holy Grail, his impersonation of Lohengrin has dignity and beauty in all its parts and seldom gives occasion for much fault-finding. Still, uncensored by the standards which Wagner's opera itself puts up, the best performances in the opera after Mme. Nilsson's are those of Mme. Fursch-Madi and Herr Kaschmann which, last night as last fall, were imparted with strong passion and were musically and dramatically satisfying.



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