[Met Performance] CID:34990
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Die Fledermaus {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/16/1905.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Debut: Max Hänseler
Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 16, 1905
Metropolitan Opera Premiere


DIE FLEDERMAUS {1}
Joh. Strauss Jr.-Haffner/R. Genée

Rosalinde...............Marcella Sembrich
Eisenstein..............Andreas Dippel
Adele...................Bella Alten
Alfred..................Albert Reiss
Prince Orlofsky.........Edyth Walker
Dr. Falke...............Emil Greder
Dr. Blind...............Adolph Mühlmann
Frank...................Otto Goritz
Ida.....................Mildred Elliott
Frosch..................Max Hänseler [Debut]
Ivan....................Julius Bayer

A gala concert was a feature of the festivities at Prince Orlofsky's palace. Numerous guest artists also participated in the Act II Finale.

Semiramide: Bel raggio lusinghier
Maria De Macchi

Tyrolean Quartet (Koschat)
Alois Burgstaller
Anton Van Rooy
Robert Blass
Frank Pollock [Last performance]

God morgen (Grieg)
Aïno Ackté

Falstaff: Quand'ero paggio
Antonio Scotti

Rigoletto: Quartet
Lillian Nordica
Louise Homer
Enrico Caruso
Eugenio Giraldoni

Les filles de Cadix (Delibes)
Olive Fremstad

Faust: Final Trio
Emma Eames
Francisco Nuibo
Pol Plançon

Conductor...............Nahan Franko

Director................Emil Greder

Other Guest artists:
Mathilde Bauermeister, Marguerite Lemon, Paula Ralph, Marion Weed, Josephine Jacoby, Johanna Pöhlmann, Jacques Bars, Bernard Bégué, Eugène Dufriche, Taurino Parvis, Arcangelo Rossi

Pupils of the Opera School
Miss Auspitz, Miss Bouvier, Beatrice Bowman, Paula Braendle, Lucy Lee Call, Grace Chouteau, Jessie Clevinger, Miss Coulter, Mildred Elliott, Jane Freund, Roberta Glanville, Miss Gosette, Bessie Greenwood, Elsa Harris, Lillian Heidelbach, Jeanette Herzog, Miss Jacobus, Josephine Jomelli, Hanna Keene, Mary Kenney, Lucille Lawrence, Miss Long, Helen Mapleson, Albertine Margadanth, Lucie Isabelle Marsh, Maud Meredith, Florence Metzger, Jessie Minges, Miss Mooney, Katherine Moran, Florence Mulford, Marie O'Brien, Selma Pfeiffer, Alma Robert, Mabel Rockwell, Alice Sanford, Josephine Schäffer, Ada Schramm, Estelle Shearman, Myrta Smith, Miss Stern, Louetta Tannert, Adeline Thomas, Edna Turton, Edith Vail, India Waelchli, Woolford, Blanche Yurka, Marguerite Yvelin, Victor Baillard, Romeo Fenton, Otto Freitag, Francis Motley, Lloyd Rand, Frederick E. Smith

Die Fledermaus received eight performances this season.


Review and account of W. J. Henderson in the New York Sun

Johann Strauss's operetta "Die Fledermaus" was performed last night at the Metropolitan Opera House before a large audience which paid double the customary prices of admission to hear this work. It was the first time the operetta had been given in the house and the first time it was ever presented in this country with a cast of singers drawn from the field of grand opera. Last night's presentation was inflated beyond the market value of operetta, not only by the appearance of high-salaried singers in the interpretation of the leading roles, but by the interpolation of a sort of the most important members of Mr. Conried's company, not in the cast of the work, were enabled to make their contributions to the welfare of the hardworking impressario. [the performance was the annual "director's benefit," a custom of the time]

It is particularly difficult to arrive at a critical point from which to view this remarkable performance. Certainly, those who attended it were not invited to consider it purely in the light of its adequacy as an interpretation of a delightful musical comedy, for in the yawning gulfs of the Metropolitan Opera House the plentiful dialogue was bound to be lost. Neither could it have been expected that the audience would be lost in amazement at the splendor of the singing of Strauss's beautiful music, for Mme. Sembrich was the only one of the great singers of the company who appeared in the [regular] cast. The truth seems to be that people were asked to be astonished at the general lavishness of expenditure and to gape at the appearance of Caruso, Nordica, Fremstad, and the rest in a cafe chante spectacle at a masquerade ball.


Review of Richard Aldrich in The New York Times

Frolic and gayety ran riot last evening on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House and overflowed the footlights in billows through all parts of the house. The proprieties of a quarter of a century were flung away, and for the first time during a regular season of opera the big gilded proscenium arch framed the picture of a mad cap modern operetta, for "Die Fledermaus" of Johann Strauss was given then and there.

The occasion loomed up in the public mind, apparently, as only less momentous than the first production of "Parsifal," and the Opera House has certainly rarely been more solidly packed with humanity or with more reckless disregard of the ideas about "standees" and clear passageways held by the Fire Commissioners and District Attorneys and such, who cannot appreciate the necessity of hearing the first "Fledermaus."

It was Mr. Conried's benefit performance, in which, according to his contracts, he has the right to call for all the services of the singers in his company. An olla podrida of acts and scenes from many operas used to result from unimaginative attempts to make use of all this richness. But the ingenious Mr. Conried, having determined to give a brilliant production of "Die Fledermaus" as a parting offering to his subscribers, conceived the brilliant idea of having such of his singers as were not directly concerned in the cast appear in the scene of Prince Orlofsky's ball in the second act in various "specialties" of more or less remarkable kind. Here was at least an opportunity to hear some and see all the stars of all magnitudes, and that the beneficiary correctly gauged the public eagerness to do so was fully and to many uncomfortably proved last evening.

But "Die Fledermaus" is not a stranger to New York Since its first production in Vienna in 1874 it has been given many times on various stages here, both in German and in English, and much of the charming music has been a familiar possession. It was not greeted with unanimous favor in Vienna, even as the production of her favorite waltz king, when it first appeared; but it speedily became a classic in its way. Of recent years, indeed, it has gained a permanent, if occasional, place in the repertories of the great opera houses of Germany and Austria, since a venturesome manager tried it one day as a "benefit" performance with his first singers and found a voracious public appetite for it. So, if any were needed, there was very respectable precedent for setting it upon the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House.

The performance last evening went with great gusto and spirit. Of course, there was no question of Mme. Sembrich's impersonation of Rosalinde, or of the mischievous humor and brilliant vocalism which she would bring to it. In the scene of her disguise in the second act she was delightful, with her Hungarian German and her teasing of her errant husband. Her Czardas was sung with real Hungarian fire, and she had to repeat the Friszka with which it closes.

Mr. Dippel in some ways has done nothing better than his characterization in this part of Gabriel von Eisenstein. It was true comic acting, unflagging in its spirit, and he made every point tell to its utmost. He and Mr. Goritz as Frank and Mr. Greder as the notary, Falke, played into each other's hands in the most dexterous and delightfully funny way. Miss Alten was a charming arch Adele, and Miss Edyth Walker a highly picturesque and off-hand Russian Prince.

Mr. Mühlmann was excellent as Dr. Blind and Mr. Max Hänseler of the Irving Place Theater most amusing as Frosch, the jailer of that most jovial of all jails on the morning after. Mr. Nathan Franko conducted with much zeal and painstaking but sometimes failed to catch or communicate the mercurial spirit of the limpid and beautifully colored orchestral score
.
The ball scene of the second act was made the chief point of interest in the performance. It was superbly set, and the scene was crowded with all the choristers, members of the opera school, the ballet and all the personnel of the house.

For this occasion only the chorus was augmented by all the artists of the company, great and small, who were not otherwise concerned in the representation. It was an impressive sight to see ranged at the supper tables in the front row Mme. Nordica, Mr. Caruso, Mr. Giraldoni, Mr. Nuibo, Mr. Scotti, effectually disguised as Falstaff; Mr. Pollock, Mr. Plancon, Mme. Eames, Miss Weed, Messrs. Burgstaller, Blass and Van Rooy in Tyrolean costumes; Mme. Ackté in a most becoming Norwegian costume; Miss Fremstad in a no less becoming Spanish one; Mr. Saléza, Mme. Homer and all the rest.

While supper was in progress the following ladies and gentlemen obliged the company: Mme. de Macchi sang a cavatina from "Semiramide;" the Tyrolean quartet presented Koschat's lugubrious quartet, "Verlassen," in a delicious imitation of the Tyrolean manner; Mme. Ackté sang the Norwegian song, "God Morgen;" Mr. Scotti the song, "Quand'ero paggio," from "Falstaff;" Mmes. Homer and Nordica and Messrs. Caruso and Giraldoni in the quartet from "Rigoletto;" Miss Fremstad gave Delibes's song, "Les filles de Cadix" and Mme. Eames and Messrs. Plancon and Nuibo the final trio from "Faust."

Then came the delightful chorus, "Brüderlein and Schwesterlein," ending with that most fascinating of waltzes,' Du, du, immerzu," sung by everybody-and everybody sang at full voice, as perhaps no chorus ever sang that waltz before. How it sounded! Then everybody danced in a mad romp, clinking glasses, from the most luminiferous of the stars down to the last row of the chorus, in such a scene of gayety as was never before contained within the walls of the Opera House.Soberly speaking, "Die Fledermaus" loses much in being presented on so big a stage and in so big an auditorium as those of the Metropolitan Opera House. There is much spoken dialogue, and the quick touches of fun do not carry through its whole extent. The finer and more delicate portions of the music, as in many other operas of a more intimate quality than the one given in that house, evaporate. But these were considerations that did not count for much last evening. Everybody was in the gala spirit; the operetta sparkled and flashed.



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