[Met Performance] CID:3360
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
La Juive {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/16/1885.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)

Metropolitan Opera House
January 16, 1885
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In German

F. Halévy-Scribe

Rachel..................Amalie Materna
Eléazar.................Anton Udvardy
Princess Eudoxie........Marie Schröder-Hanfstängl
Prince Léopold..........Walter Schüller
Cardinal de Brogni......Joseph Kögel
Ruggiero................Joseph Miller
Albert..................Otto Kemlitz

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

Director................Wilhelm Hock

Translation by unknown

La Juive received nine performances this season.

[This was Schröder-Hanfstängl's next to last performance with the company; in Act III she sang the Air of Isabella (in G) from "Robert le Diable." The Act IV Duet between Rachel and Princess Eudoxie was repeated.]

Alternate title: The Jewess.

Unsigned review in The New York Times


Almost half a century has gone by since Halévy brought forth "La Juive," and upward of 20 years had elapsed between the last production of the opera in this city and its revival at the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday evening. Many persons were present last night who remembered its early representations in New York, but to not a few of the spectators the story and the music were as fresh as if they had been the work of a composer and librettist of the period. In the drama and the score there is nothing, indeed, that suggests the tastes or methods of the past. Meyerbeer's glittering and sensuous writing, Verdi's brief and impassioned strains, and Wagner's realistic melopoeia have not yet deadened the public heart and ear to strong if theatrical incidents, to melodious measures, or to elaborate concerted pieces of the familiar but ever-effective pattern. "The Jewess" is well supplied with these indispensable attributes of an attractive and impressive opera: its plot is of potent interest, its characters are interesting and well defined, some of its numbers rank with the happiest inspirations of modern composers, and much of the ensemble music of the score is spirited and brilliant. All this was made patent by yesterday's performance, and yet, vivid as were many of its episodes, it may fairly be questioned if the general effect of the representation was as striking as could be wished. "The Jewess," in fact, requires a vocal quartet whose histrionic skill must be on a plane with their talent as singers; it requires, too, performers with powerful voices and artistic temperaments, a rendering in strict accordance with the tempi established by tradition, and superb scenic attire. Several of the conditions referred to were met at the Metropolitan Opera House on the occasion under notice - and it should be said at once that, the essential ones being complied with, the interpretation of "The Jewess" afforded frequent and lively satisfaction - but it cannot be admitted that every one was fulfilled. The female roles were capitally interpreted, the chorus and orchestra - save in respect of some uncertainty on the part of the horns - were in their wonted good form, and the costumes and stage business were admirable, but the tenors and basso were seldom equal to their respective tasks. As is usually the case, when Frauen Materna and Schroeder-Hanfstaengl appear together, the honors of the evening were pretty evenly divided between them. As a vocalist, the latter artist towers above Fran Materna; as an emotional songstress of a rather coarse fibre, but of considerable breadth and vigor, the Austrian prima donna generally becomes the prominent personage of the story. Yesterday Frau Schroeder-Hanfstaengl strengthened the rather thankless character of Eudoxia by interpolating in the second act of "The Jewess" the Princess's second air in "Robert the Devil." As it was the artist's last appearance here this season, the proceeding may he regarded as partially justifiable, and tile audience applauded her fluent and sparkling execution of Meyerbeer's familiar and not quite inappropriate strains to the echo. In the duet with Rachel, in the fourth act, Frau Schroeder-Hanfstaengl also held her own with her customary success and, thanks to the resonant voices and energetic singing of the two artists, a repetition of the number was insisted upon. Fran Materna's portrayal of Rachel was as effective as was anticipated. Mention has been made already of the tendency of this prima donna to subordinate phrasing to emotion and vocal dynamics, and the noble aria in which Rachel gives utterance to the feelings called forth by her lover's approach lost some of its charm therefrom. On the other hand, there was no escaping the influence of a delineation in which genuine emotion, tones of thrilling beauty, and a thorough acquaintance with all the arts of the stage, wrought their spell at every point, and in her first air, in the finale of the second act, in the duet with Eudoxia, and in the sadness and terror of the final scene, the attention and applause bestowed upon the songstress were completely deserved. There is no need to devote much space so the remaining performances. Herr Udvardi sang the simple and beautiful prayer at the outset of the second act with excellent results, and he managed Eleazar's great aria in the fourth more successfully than was expected; his scene with the Cardinal, too, was acted with intelligence and earnestness. It cannot he conceded, however, that his portrayal of the Jew was a memorable effort. Herr Koegel, who personated the Cardinal, and Herr Schueller, who embodied Leopold, did not add to the symmetry of the representation, but did not detract materially from its impressiveness. The house was crowded in every part, and after the first act of the opera Dr. Damrosch and the leading artists were summoned before the curtain.

Review of Henry Krehbiel, New York Tribune:

In the crescendo of tragic closes which the German opera has provided for our delectation this season, the climax was reached last night, when a Cardinal's daughter brought up in the Jewish faith, was hurled into a cauldron of boiling water…We cannot hope for anything more morbidly atrocious than the finale of "La Juive" during the remainder of the season, and must take it for granted that the pinnacle of spectacular horrors has been reached in this last achievement. We are resigned to the new dispensation. We have had our fill of horrors and are ready to greet with a sigh of relief and emotions of real pleasure the incomprably more poetical and vividly dramatic finale of "Die Walküre" which is the next novelty projected for us by the energetic manager of the Metropolitan Opera House.

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