[Met Performance] CID:3100
Guillaume Tell [William Tell] {2} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/5/1884.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 5, 1884
In German


GUILLAUME TELL [WILLIAM TELL] {2}

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

Unsigned review in the New York Commercial Advertiser

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE
William Tell: Opera by Rossini

Owing to an insufficient number of rehearsals Dr. Damrosch wisely postponed the first performance of "Don Giovanni" until next Wednesday, and substituted "William Tell" in its place. The audience had no reason to be dissatisfied, however, for this second performance was, if anything, superior to the first, which we had occasion to praise so highly. There seems to be an irony of fate in the fact that, notwithstanding, all the Italian companies which have been heard in this city, it has been reserved for German artists to give an ideal performance of Italy's masterpiece. In point of singing, acting, scenic display and "tout ensemble," it was practically without a flaw, and all the many beauties of Rossini's "chef d'oeuvre" were brought out with inspiring effect. "William Tell" shows how much latent genius Rossini really had and it cannot be but a matter of the deepest regret that he did not write all his other operas with the same artistic conscientiousness. If he had done so, his position in the history of music would be much altered, and his fame, instead of depending for its permanency upon one work, would be supported by many.

Admiration of Herr Robinson's Tell grows by repetition. He infuses into Rossini's beautiful melodies an amount of dramatic fire and feeling which one would not expect to find in the whole range of Italian music, Moreover, his acting is a revelation to most opera-goers. It has become a somewhat fixed belief that really fine acting is too much to expect from a singer, on account of the supposed hampering effect of vocal exigencies. Herr Robinson's is as realistic and natural as though he had not a bar to sing. Indeed, if "William Tell" were a drama, without any musical interest whatever, such exacting episodes as the "shooting scene," as interpreted by this artist, would be sufficient to hold an audience in fixed attention. Herr Udvardy's performance was decided improvement on his former effort, and Frau Schroeder-Hanfstaengl, being in particularly good voice, sang even more brilliantly than usual. The rest of the strong cast were entirely satisfactory, and accurate work of the chorus produced an admirable effect.

This performance is particularly worthy of notice on account of its demonstrating the ability of this German company to give attractive performances of purely Italian opera: not of the lightest kind, such as "Lucia" and "Sonnambula," for to these the public can only be attracted by the fame of an artist like Patti, and the Metropolitan possesses, of course, no singer at all able to compete with the incomparable diva in the matter of "fioriture." But those Italian operas which contain real musical merit and something more than mere excuse tor vocal gymnastics are all sure to receive artistic representations at the hands of Dr. Damrosch's company. To act in Shakespeare does not disqualify one from being a good comedian, and the ability to sing Wagner's music does not necessarily imply incapacity to appear to advantage in works of lighter calibre.



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