[Met Performance] CID:33140
Das Rheingold {38}
Ring Cycle [27]
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/7/1904.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 7, 1904


DAS RHEINGOLD {38}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [27]

Wotan...................Anton Van Rooy
Fricka..................Olive Fremstad
Alberich................Otto Goritz
Loge....................Alois Burgstaller
Erda....................Johanna Pöhlmann
Fasolt..................Victor Klöpfer
Fafner..................Robert Blass
Freia...................Camille Seygard
Froh....................Jacques Bars
Donner..................Adolph Mühlmann
Mime....................Albert Reiss
Woglinde................Marion Weed
Wellgunde...............Paula Ralph
Flosshilde..............Johanna Pöhlmann

Conductor...............Alfred Hertz

Review (unsigned) in a Philadelphia newspaper (unidentified)

THE PRELUDE TO THE NIBELUNGEN TRILOGY

Last Week of the Opera Season Opens with "Das Rheingold"

The last week of the opera season is devoted to the "Nibelungen" cycle and "Das Rheingold" was presented to a rainy night audience at the Academy last evening. The prelude was written last and its necessity remains questionable. What it sets forth is, indeed, the starting point of the action. But as the whole story is related in each of the succeeding dramas whenever Wotan can get anybody to listen to him, either the prologue or the repeated narrative is felt to be superfluous and it is not easy to make the futile deities and the foolish giants and dwarfs convincing to the eye. Wagner, however, believed in reiteration and believed nothing beyond the range of a "Buhnenspiel," so we must take "Rheingold" with the rest for the sake of the two or three things in it that are supreme.

It exists primarily for the introduction, the scene of the rape of the gold beneath the Rhine, which might serve alone as a lovely prelude. This is not only poetically conceived, but poetically expressed with an imaginative art that is consummate and the presentation of it last night was more than usually beautiful. The pictorial illusion, with the swimming of the Rhine daughters, was admirably managed and this gives occasion to recognize the work of Anton Fuchs, the stage director, who is likely to improve some of the customary details of the later dramas. Mr. Hertz conducted with sensibility and power. Speaking generally the performance was more forceful than poetic, "realistic" rather than symbolic merely in its suggestion.

The one individual figure to be spoken of is the Loge of Burgstaller, who sang the part better than it has been sung here, at least since Alvary, and played it with unexpected lightness and agility. His humor is rather apologetic than impish; but it is quite well considered and he gave a really musical expression to the part, singing with beautiful tone and a clear and significant delivery. He aroused interest as soon as he came upon the stage and held it whenever he was in action. He is a German tenor who, thus far, has not disappointed.

There is not a great deal beyond this to be said of the singing. Van Rooy has grown so vociferous that his voice has lost much of its quality, though at times he still sings with great distinction and always with fine authority. Goritz plays Alberich with pronounced melodramatic emphasis, subordinating musical effect unreservedly to intensity of speech; but his performance is very effective in this line as is always that of Reiss in his familiar and excellent Mime. There was one substitution in the cast, Miss Poehlmann, one of the Rhine daughters, singing Erda in place of Miss Walker, indisposed. This is one of the parts that are of no consequence, unless they happen to be delivered with supreme authority. There are not many opportunities in "Rheingold;" and the other characters presented no particular distinction. The strong impression the audience carried away was that of this gorgeous finale, in which the golden tones of the orchestra were supremely beautiful.

"Die Walküre," the first part of the great trilogy and, in many respects, the most interesting and beautiful as well as the most generally popular, will be given this evening. Madame Gadski will sing Brünnhilde and Olive Fremstad, the Fricka of last night, Sieglinde. Louise Homer is singing Fricka. Krauss is announced for Siegmund, with Goritz as Wotan. Felix Mottl will conduct.



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