[Met Performance] CID:355138
Siegfried {25}
Ring Cycle [9]
Amphion Academy, Brooklyn, New York: 05/15/1889.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
Amphion Academy
May 15, 1889


SIEGFRIED {25}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [9]

Siegfried...............Max Alvary
Brünnhilde..............Lilli Lehmann
Wanderer................Emil Fischer
Erda....................not performed
Mime....................Wilhelm Sedlmayer
Alberich................Ludwig Mödlinger
Fafner..................Eugene Weiss [Last performance]
Forest Bird.............Sophie Traubmann

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

Review (unsigned) in the Brooklyn Eagle:

"SIEGFRIED" - GERMAN OPERA

The Niebelungen "Ring" as given by the troupe of the Metropolitan Opera House at the Amphion Academy was progressed through the "Siegfried" number last evening, and will be finished with the "Twilight of the Gods" tonight, after which will be sung "The Master Singers of Nuremberg" and "Tannhäuser." Of the four operas in the Niebelungen Ring "Siegfried" is the most popular, because it has the most distinctly human interest and because the hero is a bright, fresh, vigorous young fellow, with the world before him and a determination of his own to conquer it. He is handsome, graceful and a hero - not the conventional lady killing hero of Italian opera, either, but somewhat rude as a man would be who lived in a cave with a scheming dwarf, and had the bears and birds for his playfellows. Freedom, strength and fearlessness have been admirable portrayed in this character and fitted with strikingly appropriate music. The child of nature himself is dramatically well drawn, is devoid of coarseness, and as conceived by Wagner and personated by Max Alvary, is one of the most engaging characters in the domain of opera. He is nearly the whole play, and to perform the part requires uncommon endurance as well as uncommon skill - qualifications that Herr Alvary owns, and that he showed to such good purpose last evening that recalls were as common as at the Italian opera, except that they came where they belonged, at the end of the acts. He fitted the part with naturalness and easy grace and sang the "Forging Song" and other music with a jocund ring that was delightful. The idyllic features and passages in the work are original and charming, and while it must be admitted that there is nothing dramatic in them, it is "better than a play" to see the young hero basking in the sun, whose rays filter through the canopy of waving leaves, piping on a newly cut reed to a bird that carols in the boughs overhead, and there is something inspiriting in the sight of him as he stands on Walkyrie rock in the while light of a June morning, ignorant of the fate that lies there embodied in the form of the sleeping maiden. Not in any other work has Wagner as varied and tempered the weird music that forms the current will of pristine gods. In the Waldweben of the second act there is no descent to imitation, yet what wealth of poetry and suggestion. The murmur of the morning breeze through tree tops, the trilling of birds, the stir and whisper of awakening nature are described and to the description is added the sympathetic touch of a lover of the beautiful. In the last scene, too, the love passage between Brunnhilde and Siegfried is exquisite and while it is not melody it is melodic. The orchestra has the best music in "Siegfried", as it has in all the Wagner operas, and it played superbly under Mr. Seidl, the delicate tracery of the strings of the Waldweben, the fiery outbursts that signify the power and brightness of the sword, the massive music of the forging, the fantastic accompaniment to the songs of Mime, the roaring of the dragon and uncanny chords on horns and reed that describe the perplexities of Wotan and symbolize the darkening of his fate being especial force and interest. The other singers beside Herr Alvary were William Sedlmayer as Mime, Emil Fischer as Wotan and Lilli Lehmann as Brünnhilde - parts that they had assumed in the first two operas of the course and that they again made picturesque and forcible last evening - Ludwig Mödlinger as Alberich and Sophie Traubmann as the bird. Eugene Weiss was the voice of the dragon, you heard him complain, while the contortions of rage and pain, the spitting of poisoned vapor, the glaring of an evil red eye were accompanied by the customary monster of papier mache. The scenery and accessories were appropriate and the effects - the flash of sparks from the sword that Siegfried forges, the leap of flame from the coals, the rush of steam from the trough when the heated metal was plunged into it, the colored lights, the flying bird and the flicker of sunlight and shadow on the floor of the forest - these bits of realism and fancy had their usual attention. The waits were longer last evening than on the two prior nights, and it was a late hour that the operas was concluded.


Review (unsigned) from the New York Daily Graphic:

I heard "Siegfried" in Williamsburg on Wednesday evening. Alvary sang his well-known part of the young hero "who knows not fear." Frau Lehmann was the Brünnhilde, and Herr Seidl directed the orchestral forces. The Dragon and the Dwarf were in the same capable hands as when seen upon our own Metropolitan stage, and the scenery and properties were identical with those of the original production. And yet how different it all seemed. It was as if Alvary and Sedlmayer, Fischer and Lehmann were playing their parts. At the Metropolitan Siegfried, Mime, Wotan and Brünnhilde are real personages. Even the orchestral harmonies did not seem so rich and full as in the larger house, and the stage seemed small and cramped for the gods and heroes who filled it with their presence.

Alvary did not seem to be in his usual good form, and was probably depressed by the interview he had had with the directors of the Metropolitan the day before. It is stated that the board has been perfectly willing to pay him the large price asked by him for his services next year, provided he would relinquish the prerogative of playing such parts as he chose to play and allowing no one else to appear in them. This he agreed to on Tuesday and sent his decision to the board, which promptly sent back word that his services would not be required. There still remains the unsigned contract with Mr. Amberg.



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