[Met Performance] CID:23460
Die Walküre {69}
Ring Cycle [14] Uncut
. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/8/1900.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Academy of Music
February 8, 1900


DIE WALKÜRE {69}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [14] Uncut

Brünnhilde..............Marie Brema
Siegmund................Ernest Van Dyck
Sieglinde...............Susan Strong
Wotan...................Anton Van Rooy
Fricka..................Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Hunding.................Lempriere Pringle
Gerhilde................Marie Van Cauteren
Grimgerde...............Minnie Molka-Kellogg
Helmwige................Olga Pevny
Ortlinde................Mathilde Bauermeister
Rossweisse..............Eleanor Broadfoot
Schwertleite............Rosa Olitzka
Siegrune................Isabelle Bouton
Waltraute...............Ernestine Schumann-Heink

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

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper

THE OPERATIC SEASON: 'DIE WALKÜRE'


The experiment of starting "Die Walküre" at 7 o'clock was tried last night at the Academy of Music for the first time in Philadelphia. Let us say at once that, however much individual opinion may be divided on the advisability of making the performance lasting four hours and twenty minutes without such substantial intervals as are customary abroad, there can be no question of the very high standard of the performance, a beautiful presentation in which individual characters were stellar. The palm, however, must be awarded to the orchestra. Not more than half the audience was present when the prelude was played, and those who were late missed one of the best interpretations that it has ever received in this house. Mr. Paur has done wonders with them; the way in which the instruments suggested the fitful sobbing of the wind and the lashing of the rain to the blackness of night round Hunding's rooftree, under his sympathetic guidance was little short of perfection, and so through all the long gamut of emotions; the fight on the mountain tops, the wild Walkürenritt, the pathetic parting of Wotan with his daughter, to the last crackling, flickering fire music, their execution was superb and their tone beautiful.

Mme. Brema was in her element as Brünnhilde; she is so eminently suited to the role, both physically and vocally: so buoyant, so heroic, and withal so tender and womanly. Her Valkyr's Cry was delightful in its freshness and the broad sweep of its tone; and in the scene with Siegmund, and later with Wotan, she was thoroughly delightful. Miss Susan Strong, who took the place of Mme. Eames as Sieglinde, created a most agreeable impression in the role; not quite as mystic in the first act as the Volungen twin might be, but in all other respects exceedingly good. She looked the part to perfection and sang the music most beautifully. And Herr Van Dyke, in popular estimation his Loge is supposed to be his best acting role, but though he is consistent in his interpretation of that part, we would place his Siegmund very far above it. His interpretation of that character would be difficult to better and, more than all other roles, the music is suited to his voice. Such lyric loveliness as the spring song is not within his power to reproduce, but he makes amends for vocal shortcomings by a dramatically intelligent recital of the song and, elsewhere, by his admirable phrasing and his skillful use of tone color he presents a remarkable portrait of the "woeful" hero. Of the other characters there is little time to speak. Herr van Rooy's Wotan and Mme. Schumann-Heink's Fricka have been heard here before. Both sang remarkably well last night.

Although the management announced that the music drama would be given in its entirety, and went so far as to indicate to the minute the length of each act and of the intermissions, cuts, as a matter of fact, were made - not large ones, but a trifle here and there, the net result of which enabled the orchestra to return to New York twenty-five minutes earlier, and throw into confusion those who had trusted to the times announced for the commencement of each act. The scenery was of the usual Academy description. Fricka did not appear in a chariot drawn by rams. Brünnhilde's steed Grane was left to the imagination (fortunately, perhaps), and the Valkyries' horses were of the same ethereal description as last year, when they were projected on the back scene by means of a magic lantern. Decidedly it was not "Die Walküre" as Wagner limned it, but it was a very good performance for all that.



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