[Met Performance] CID:25230
Ring Cycle  San Francisco, California: 11/30/1900.
San Francisco, California
November 30, 1900
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle 
Hagen...................Edouard de Reszke
Götterdämmerung received five performances this season.
Review of Blanche Partington in the San Francisco Call
WAGNER CYCLE IS COMPLETE
'Die Götterdämmerung' Is Sung to an Appreciative Audience
Nordica and DeReszke Carry Off the Honors, but Other Grau Artists Are Well Received
"Die Götterdämmerung," last number of the colossal cycle of the "Ring," was last night given at the Grand Opera-house before one of the largest and most genuinely enthusiastic audiences of the season.
"The Twilight of the Gods" appears to come next in popular favor to "Die Walküre," with its immortal "Valkyr Ride" and chorus. In it Wagner returns to older forms. There are two or three concerted numbers, a trio or two, and the situations, from a dramatic standpoint, are stronger and more after the order of the earlier gospel according to Wagner, as illustrated in "Lohengrin" and "Tannhäuser." Not in the first act, where the leisurely measure of the preceding "Siegfried" is maintained, does the tendency make itself felt, but in the later scene, beginning with the bridal of Siegfried and Gutrune, the action becomes swifter and the music more dramatically interesting.
The chorus in the bridal scene is magnificently handled from every standpoint. The composer has given noble material to the singers. The orchestration accompanying is of admirable beauty and the attack, climax, coloring, beauty, volume and quality of voices made one regret the unwritten choruses of the rest of the "Ring." The heroic "Death of Siegfried," with its solemn blare of brass, and the world's grief in its measures, touched the deepest note of the trilogy in its massive, majestic movement and it, perhaps, stands out more prominently than any other of the wonderful harmonies of "Die Götterdämmerung."
The performance began last evening at half past 7, ending exactly four hours later, but the audience listened with keenest attention until the last note. New York takes its "Götterdämmerung" unabridged, from a quarter before 7 until half past 11, almost five hours, and will not have it otherwise. Next year we shall probably take ours the same way, and also, it is to be hoped, with the additional advantages of another "Siegfried." "Hamlet" without Hamlet is no further absurdity than the "Ring" without a worthy Siegfried, and Dippel in the part is only a graceful apology for the lusty hero.
He has the right instinct. As Siegfried, the boy, he has a free, youthful touch; as the man, he has a fairly virile grip of the part, but it is a hero in miniature, a pocket edition of Siegfried that the singer, by sheer lack of physical and vocal weight, is forced to give us. Placed, too, as he is, against the full majesty of singers like Nordica and de Reszke, the discrepancy and inadequacy is even more painfully marked and the inordinate demands made by the composer upon the artists render the effort toward the evening's end a distinct discomfort to the listener.
Nordica, even, last night showed, though slightly, the effect of the enormous strain, but nothing finer or bigger has been done than her Brünnhilde. In her bowed and broken daughter of the gods, descended to a mere womanhood, she was a most humanely pitiful figure and the sublime scene of her renunciation was marked by an utmost satisfaction of rendering. She is gloriously equal to the vocal demands made and has the Wagner spirit and letter of the law to the last essence.
De Reszke's Hagen, the deep-browed traitor, was another splendid picture by this versatile artist who seems, in all parts, to find equal scope for his genius. He has, in admirable degree, the certainty and sustained energy, so necessary here, and fills the whole house with that great, rich, deep voice of his. Muhlmann sang the Gunther part and fully maintained his worthy name here in the conception.
Miss Strong was heard as Gutrune, and from this and her other Wagnerian work it is quite evident that here is another Wagner singer, soon to be of, perhaps, first importance in the German master's interpretation. Schumann-Heink was as royally satisfactory as usual as Waltraute and Flosshilde and Miss Scheff and Miss Bridewell sang well the other Rhine maidens' parts.
The scenic arrangements - the fire, the Rhine overflow and the rest of it - were managed with an amazing cleverness, and not the least credit is due to the clever artists who have staged, lighted and managed the mechanical details of the performance.
Damrosch was in excellent form and received an immense "ovation" - there is no other word - at the brilliantly successful end of this biggest undertaking of the season.