[Met Performance] CID:355132
Das Rheingold {17}
Ring Cycle [9]
Amphion Academy, Brooklyn, New York: 05/13/1889.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
Amphion Academy
May 13, 1889


DAS RHEINGOLD {17}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [9]

Wotan...................Emil Fischer
Fricka..................Louise Meisslinger
Alberich................Joseph Beck
Loge....................Max Alvary
Erda....................Hedwig Reil
Fasolt..................Ludwig Mödlinger
Fafner..................Eugene Weiss
Freia...................Ida Klein
Froh....................Albert Mittelhauser
Donner..................Alois Grienauer
Mime....................Wilhelm Sedlmayer
Woglinde................Sophie Traubmann
Wellgunde...............Félicie Kaschowska
Flosshilde..............Hedwig Reil

Conductor...............Anton Seidl


Announcement from the Sunday Tribune, 01/02/1889

If the people of Brooklyn want a week of German opera they can probably have it by putting up the money guarantee invariably exacted by Director Stanton. The tour of the company, which begins at the close of its seventeen weeks' engagement at the Metropolitan Opera House, includes the cities of Boston, Buffalo (sic), Chicago and Milwaukee. Messr. Knowles & Morris, of the Amphion Academy, Brooklyn, are endeavoring to raise the necessary subscription to induce Mr. Stanton to let the company sing a week at that house before going to Boston. Recently they issued a circular in which the possibility of a week of German opera at the new theater was laid before the public. In that circular the managers stated that they had the option of securing the entire Metropolitan Opera Company, under the direction of Anton Seidl, for a Wagner opera festival, to occupy one week, and subscription lists were thrown open with a view to securing a number of tentative subscribers sufficiently large to justify the manager in offering the extensive guarantee required by the opera people. The understanding upon which these lists are laid before subscribers is that no money shall be paid unless the arrangement is fully effected. The subscriber simply guarantees to take one or more seats for the festival in case the company is secured. No contract has been signed with Mr. Stanton. The guarantee to the opera company is imperative, and until it is forthcoming no agreement can be reached. The next two or three weeks will decide the matter.


Announcements in Brooklyn Eagle of upcoming German Opera season:

It seems that preparations have been making for a short season of German opera
in the city. During the third week of May six Wagner works will be produced. "Rheingold," "Die Walküre." "Siegfried," "Götterdämmerung,'" "Meistersinger" and "Tannhäuser" It occurred to Messrs. Liebmanns and Owings, who desire the success of the undertaking, that the best way to secure such a result was to give publicity to the project. So last Wednesday the people of Brooklyn were for the first time taken into the confidence of the promoters of the enterprise through conspicuous advertisement in the "Eagle" by Messrs. Liebmanns and Owings, who announced that seats in the Amphion for opera nights would be sold at the Universal. Herr Seidl and his singers and musicians may gain a fair hearing on this side of the river now that business intelligence has rescued the movement from incompetence and stupidity.


Theaters and Music
Amphion Academy

This is the most important week of the season at this house, and, indeed one of the most important of the year in the city, for it is to be devoted to German opera and will introduce here for the first time the company of the Metropolitan Opera house and, in consecutive order, the works of the great Niebelungen cyclus. The "Ring of the Niebelungs" will begin to-morrow evening and will last for four nights, "The Rhine Gold" leading and "The Walkyries," "Siegfried" and "the Twilight of the Gods" following in that order named. It is not needful to recount at this late date the tale of the stolen gold, of the ring and its curse that operates through the whole story, of the wild daughters of Odin, of the span of long sleep that is laid upon the elder for her prohibited love, of her awakening by Siegfried, the dragon killer: of the hero's murder and the final punishment of the treachery of the gods, for the story has been discussed with much heat by the critics of all cities where the Cyclus has been given, and has excited as wide a diversity of opinion as the music to which the words are set. There will be a time setting for all these operas, as well as for "The Master Singers" and "Tannhäuser," that will be given on Friday and Saturday nights, and the singers will be supported by the largest and finest of theatrical orchestras under Anton Seidl's direction. Expecting in "The Rheingold," there is no appearance of a chorus in the Niebelung cyclus, but it is employed effectually in "The Master Singers" and "Tannhäuser," together with a large and showy ballet. The soloists are eminent and capable, Max Alvery and Lilli Lehmann standing, as heretofore, at the head of the list.



Review (unsigned) in the Brooklyn Eagle:

First Performance In Brooklyn of the Niebelung Trilogy

A course of Wagner opera has not been given in Brooklyn for a dozen years or more, but the forces of the Metropolitan Opera House were brought to the Amphion Academy last night and we are to have a notable season this week. "Rhine Gold." was the first performance, as it prefaced the Niebelung Trilogy, whose other chapters are to be recited during the three nights about to follow, and the engagement will likewise include "The Master Singers" and Tannhauser."

A fine audience, in personnel, enjoyed the "Rhine Gold "last evening, and, considering the disparity in size-between the Amphion stage and that of the big theater which is virtually the home of the company, the representation was satisfying beyond what there had been reason to hope, for New York managers have been disposed to look upon this city as one of the provincial towns that would tolerate a grade of performance lower than they would dare to submit to a New York public.

Manager Stanton and his local allies have kept faith with their Brooklyn patrons, however, and the opera last evening differed from the Metropolitan version in details too slight for record. Wagner is a composer whoso ideas transcend playhouse performances, and a thoroughly adequate representation of the Niebelung Trilogy would require a mile of the Rhine valley for a theater, gods, gnomes and mermaids for dramatis personae and the co-operation of the elements for scenic effect. His music is of the grandest suggestion and being suggestive it is best when separated from the libretto and given by the orchestra, leaving the fancy free to unite it to such pictures as mechanic skill and artistic cleverness must ever despair of realizing. If we accept his music in its verbal and occasionally verbose form, with stage illustrations, we must overlook circumstances and regard the performance as a stimulus or as a medium for great revelations.

In the "Rhine Gold" last night the cast and equipage were such as severe fault should not be found with, when allowance has been made for the inability of any singers to rise to the Wagnerian ideal, and credit should be given for the power and earnestness of the company, excellence of the orchestra and fairness of the stage illusion.

Emil Fischer was in his old part of Wotan and he sang and acted with all the weight and impressiveness that kindly fortune, supplemented by a liberal diet, has empowered him to exercise. He is a statuesque figure when he poses, as he is frequently obliged to, through long recitations and in action he has a certain burly grace that one may readily admit as an attribute of the blustering god of the Norse mythology and that is, of course, in his favor as an actor. His voice has all needful quantity and is powerful in declamatory phrases, though it is unelastic and dull in phrasing.

Max Alvary as Loki, the fire god, has more action than Wotan, and claims the eye more frequently for this reason, as well as for his make-up, with its dominant scarlet and crimson, and the ear is pleased on his entrance by the flickering, fantastic music that breaks in on the heavy recitative and portentous orchestration.

Alois Grienuaer was seen as Thor, the thunderer, and Albert Mittelhauser displayed a fair voice and inappropriate figure in the part of Froh. The two Niebelungs, Alberich and Mime, were represented with intelligence and skill by Joseph Beck and William Sedlmayer, who brought out the craft and malignity of these elvish creatures, brightening their personations with a touch of humor. Eugene Weiss and Ludwig Modlinger as the two giants had all the roughness of aspect and harshness of voice that would be expected of gentlemen of their class and calling, though they lacked the physical dimension of people who could pile together such huge towers as those of Walhalla that were seen lifting above the clouds across the Rhine.

Louise Meislinger sang and acted the part of Fricka, in rather a colorless fashion. Ida Klein as Freia showed a pretty face, an engaging smile and a light, clear voice-a happy choice for the goddess of youth and beauty. Sophie Traubmann, Felice Kaschoska and Hedwig Reil personated the Rhine daughters who sing with such ease beneath the water, and they swam about with confidence, though at times with too plain a disclosure of their methods of propulsion.

The scenery was not the same as that used in the New York representation, because that would probably be too large for the stage, but it was patterned on the original set and sufficed amply for the background and surrounding of the drama. The rainbow alone had a somewhat stumpy and over substantial appearance, though it made a needful part of the picture when the gods set foot on it and began their march to Walhalla in a burst of thrilling and magnificent music.

Anton Seidl led the big orchestra and the work was, therefore, nobly rendered. On Alvary's appearance and at the conclusion of two or three stirring recitatives, some in the audience made bold to applaud, thereby violating Wagner's rule and breaking that continuity of performance, that he held to be needful, but there was a controlling element of Wagnerian enthusiasts and music students in the house that promptly suppressed all exhibitions of favor until the time had arrived for them at the fall of the curtain.

Perhaps because Brooklyn is a home town where people are reputed to go to bed early and railroad travel to be stopped soon after dark, the opera began on time last night, the one entr'acte wait was less tedious than those that used to occur at the Metropolitan Opera House and the theater was emptied before 11 o'clock. If this excellent rule is adhered to the other operas of the series will be finished shortly after midnight instead of dragging into the small hours. "The Walkyrie" will sing to-night.



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