[Met Performance] CID:25520
Fidelio {32} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/28/1900.

(Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 28, 1900


FIDELIO {32}
Beethoven-Sonnleithner/Breuning/Treitschke

Leonore.................Milka Ternina
Florestan...............Andreas Dippel
Don Pizarro.............Theodore Bertram
Rocco...................Robert Blass
Marzelline..............Fritzi Scheff
Jaquino.................Adolph Von Hübbenet
Don Fernando............Adolph Mühlmann

Conductor...............Walter Damrosch

Director................Paul Schumann

Fidelio received two performances this season.

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times

'FIDELIO' AT THE OPERA

Mme. Ternina as the Heroine and Mr. Dippel as Florestan


After the glorification of the scarlet woman with pulmonary tuberculosis it was a great delight to all clean-minded people to hear in opera in which there was a celebration of the highest and holiest love known to humanity. This celebration came at the Metropolitan Opera House last night with Beethoven's "Fidelio." But the public was evidently not delighted with the opportunity to hear a decent work. There is no use of trying to disguise the fact that "Fidelio" is not of the type known as popular. It is a serious work in the first place; in the second it has dialogue which is utterly unsuited to the vast spaces of the Metropolitan auditorium; and finally it has no mellifluous love duets. The only one in the score is a wild and almost incoherent cry of joy uttered by the reunited Leonora and Florestan. But nevertheless "Fidelio" is a masterpiece in its kind, and without doubt the scene in the prison is the most pathetic in all opera.

This scene was superbly done last night, and had its full effect with the audience. It owed most of its influence to the admirable interpretation of Leonora by Miss Ternina. This is one of her best parts, and she has never acted and sung it with more fervor and feeling than she did last night. Mr. Dippel gave her good assistance in the prison scene, and Mr. Bertram was a sufficiently sinister Pizzaro. Mr. Blass deserves praise for his excellent singing as Rocco, but he might have given a clearer idea of the conflicting emotions of this well-disposed old man acting under his fear of the cruel prison master.

A newcomer last night was Miss Fritzi Scheff, who appeared as Marcellina. This young woman brought a whiff of the Viennese style into the performance. She gave a capital impersonation of Rocco's daughter, singing with a thin and yet by no means disagreeable voice and acting with excellent comedy spirit. She will be heard from again, when further consideration can be given to her characteristics. Mr. Hubbenet was an acceptable Jacquino. Mr. Damrosch conducted very vigorously, and the orchestra played somewhat roughly. The "Fidelio" overture was given before the opera and the Leonora. No. 3 between the two scenes of the second act. The singing of the chorus in the first act was intolerably bad.


Unsigned review in the Evening Post

MUSIC AND DRAMA

'Fidelio' at the Metropolitan

Although Beethoven was not a born opera composer, and was much less successful in writing for the voice than for instruments, his one opera, "Fidelio" has stood the test of time remarkably well. Though ninety-six years old, it still had 109 performances in the opera houses of Germany last season. It must be admitted that much of the music, especially in the first act, sound today as if it had been written to order by a composer who was working in the field not his own. But the prison act holds its own against any operatic scene, and when the pistol is leveled at the villain, and at the same time the trumpet call is heard announcing the arrival of Minister Ferdinand, the most phlegmatic and unemotional must feel a thrill of joy, such as Leonore herself must have felt.

Fräulein Ternina counts Leonore among her best roles. Her voice was not in perfect condition last night, the highest notes being strained and not quite true. But apart from that she sang well and acted the part of the disguised wife sympathetically. Herr Dippel's Florestan, the Pizarro of Herr Bertram, the Rocco of Herr Blass, and the Minister of Herr Muhlmann were all satisfactory. Fräulein Fitzi Scheff lent charm to the part of Marcelline by her personality and vivacity, while her singing left something to be desired. Her voice is small but agreeable, and its being frequently off the pitch may have been due to the mistaken idea (shared by most newcomers) that one must strain the voice to the utmost in order to be heard in such a big auditorium. The chorus sang painfully out of tune all the evening, and every auditor must have felt a cruel sense of relief when its members were sent back to prison. The orchestra was much better, and Mr. Damrosch received several rounds of applause for the animated performance of the third "Leonore" overture in the second act.



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