[Met Performance] CID:3060
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Guillaume Tell [William Tell] {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/28/1884.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)

Metropolitan Opera House
November 28, 1884
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In German


Guillaume Tell.............Adolf Robinson
Mathilde................Marie Schröder-Hanfstängl
Arnold..................Anton Udvardy
Walter..................Joseph Kögel
Gesler..................Josef Staudigl
Melcthal................Joseph Miller
Hedwige.................Marianne Brandt
Jemmy...................Anna Slach
Fisherman...............Emil Tiferro
Leuthold................Ludwig Wolf
Rodolphe................Otto Kemlitz
Dance...................Adèle Zollia
Dance...................Lucia Cormani
Dance...................Isolina Torri

Conductor...............Leopold Damrosch

Director................Wilhelm Hock
Choreographer...........F. Baptiste Ceruti

Translation by unknown

William Tell received four performances this season.

Alternate titles: Guillaume Tell; Guglielmo Tell.

Unsigned review in The New York Times


The representation of "William Tell" at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening was witnessed by an audience that filled the boxes and almost the entire parquet of the spacious auditorium. The galleries of the theatre also had a numerous tenantry, and but for the rain there is no doubt the place would have been crowded. The success of the season of German opera may now be regarded as certain, for while Dr. Damrosch succeeds in bringing forth two of the most important works of the repertoire every week, there is little danger that public interest in the performances will flag, and, besides, the approaching accession of Mme. Materna to the forces of the Metropolitan will counteract at once any weariness that may finally arise from the repeated appearances of the same artists. Last night's representation was certainly not of a character to speedily tire the frequenters of the Metropolitan of the company and its conductor. As a whole, it was an exceedingly impressive rendering of Rossini's noblest achievement; in respect of individual efforts it presented a somewhat uncommon array of excellent performances, the weakness of the tenor being, more than offset by the admirable personations of Herren Robinson, Koegel, and Staudigl and Frauen Schroeder-Hanfstaengel, Brandt, and Slach. The reader interested in operatic affairs need scarcely be told that "William Tell," being equally remarkable as a purely lyric work, as a musical drama, and as a medium for spectacular display, is among the most exacting of operas. And people familiar with the methods of operatic managers in general are aware, too, that "William Tell" is usually put upon the stage for the purpose of introducing a tenor of extraordinary vocal range or a conspicuously good baritone. We can recall no thoroughly commendable general rendering of the opera within the past 15 years, although the beautiful duet between Arnold and Tell in the first act and the matchless trio in the second have often been sung with a brilliancy which was missed last evening, and we have had very efficient representatives of the rather apocryphal liberator of Switzerland. But we remember no interpretation of "William Tell" that compares with yesterday's in point or sustained merit and completeness. A better Tell than Herr Robinson we have never had, nor has any Italian artist endowed that personage's great scene with the strong and varied dramatic interest which the baritone's powerful acting imparted to it on the occasion under notice. Nor has a more finished vocalist than Mme. Schroeder-Hanfstaengel essayed Mathilde of late years, and filled with more poetry and feeling, and rendered with greater finish, the exquisite romance in which the heroine breathes to the forest the secret of her love for Arnold. Even Gemmi habitually falls to the lot of a songstress and actress far less gifted than Fräulein Slach, whose share of the proceedings in the third act last evening contributed vastly to their weight. To add that Fräulein Brandt, one of the foremost contraltos in Germany, assumed the role of Hedwig, will give a still more vivid idea of the symmetry of the representation. Can it be imagined that Mme. Scalchi, for example, would lend the charm of her tones and the force of her delivery to the first act of "William. Tell" in a part so insignificant upon the housebills? The single weak point in the performance was Herr Udvardi's Arnold. The tenor managed, in spite of unwarrantable liberties with the phrasing of his measures, to get through the duet in the first act - which was of course transposed - quite successfully, but he was wholly unequal to the pathos and power of the trio. The minor characters were all in competent hands, the chorus was in perfect condition and the orchestra as satisfactory as usual. Thanks to the strength and efficiency of the latter bodies, the finale of the first act and the magnificent concerted piece during which the delegates of the three cantons gather to plan the liberation of their native land were capitally interpreted and profoundly effective., Mathilde's romance was followed by three recalls for Mme. Schroeder-Hanfstaengl, and Tell's last interview with Gemini, and his highly dramatic acting after he has shot the apple from the lad's head brought about Herr Robinson's appearance before the curtain. The scenery and dresses provided for "William Tell" claim a word or recognition by their accuracy, appropriateness, and beauty. The moonlit snowy peaks in the shadow of which Tell and his fellow-conspirators are assembled, and which are reddened by the rising sun as the final oath is sworn, and the Swiss picture disclosed in the third act are things to be looked upon, if only because seldom or never beheld in the progress of an ordinary operatic season.

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