[Met Performance] CID:3560
Tannhäuser {9} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/19/1885.

(Debut: John Lund
Review)

7
Metropolitan Opera House
February 19, 1885


TANNHÄUSER {9}

Tannhäuser..............Anton Schott
Elisabeth...............Amalie Materna
Wolfram.................Josef Staudigl
Venus...................Anna Slach
Hermann.................Joseph Kögel
Walther.................Otto Kemlitz
Heinrich................Martin Paché
Biterolf................Joseph Miller
Reinmar.................Ludwig Wolf
Shepherd................Anna Stern

Conductor...............John Lund [Debut]

Unsigned review in The Evening Telegraph

"Tannhäuser," was given for the last time this season at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening. Mme. Materna sang the Elisabeth, and secured a triumph. Herr Staudigl was the Wolfram, and won applause for sterling work, Herr Schott was the Tannhäuser, and was received by the audience with a freezing politeness. Even the little good work he put in the Narrative went by without a hand, so determined was the audience to make him feel their disgust at his recent conduct in proposing, ere yet the body of Dr. Damrosch was placed in the grave, to reorganize the company which he himself had attempted to break up, and to make himself the "Royal Intendant" of the German opera in New York. Seldom has a tenor been subjected in New York to a more cutting rebuke. Madame Materna, on the other hand, was the recipient of applause on every possible occasion - not boisterous, but generous, as if to show her that the audience understood her. Herr Staudigl also won a round of applause after his staging of the song to the Evening Star. The sins of the ringleader were not permitted to rest on the subordinate. It must be admitted that Herr Schott's performance in "Tannhäuser" never did evoke enthusiasm. It is his very worst role.

We have on several occasions praised him for his appearance in other operas, especially in "Lohengrin," "The Prophet" and "Siegmund," but we have never yet been able to find pleasure in listening to his Tannhäuser. Last night he managed to sing for the most part in tune. This in itself was unusual and merits a word of commendation. He sang the long narrative in the third act better than we remember to have heard him before. But it cannot be denied that his delineation of the role is commonplace, uninteresting and frequently wrong in conception. Especially is this the case in the contest of the singers where Herr Schott loses all Knightly dignity and descends to the vulgarity of a brawl in a German beer-kneipe. Mr. Schott's style of singing - it is declamation, for he rarely sings - as exhibited in "Tannhäuser," is crude, his method is faulty, and by the side of finished artists like Herr Robinson and Madame Materna, disgracefully inartistic. The critics have hitherto treated Mr. Schott's unsatisfactory performances with great leniency. Now that he has presumed to criticize his fellow singers and his superiors, it is time to tell him exactly the position be occupies.

The triumph of the evening was reserved for Mme. Materna. The part or Elisabeth is undoubtedly her greatest role, and she renders it with a grace and charm which is unique. From the moment when she enters upon the scene at the [beginning] of the second act till the prayer in the last act, she is an ideal Elisabeth. Her dramatic and poetic rendering of this, one of the sweetest creations of Wagner, are at once a study and a triumph worthy of the great fame which the singer bears. It is a pity the scene of the reception of the guests at the Wartburg is represented on the Metropolitan stage in such a poverty stricken space and surroundings. Such a magnificent Elisabeth demands a worthier "mise en scene." There is hardly room enough in the hall to swing a cat round, much less to show off the brilliancy of costumes and the majesty and dignity of a ducal court in medieval times. Herr Staudigl took the place of Herr Robinson in singing the grateful role of Wolfram which should be the most prominent role of the opera to which Tannhäuser gives his name. He sang the music wonderfully well, though it was lacking in that poetic charm to which we have become accustomed in the singing of that admirable artist Herr Robinson. We regret that we shall not have the opportunity of hearing Mr. Robinson's, golden baritone voice again this season. He has proved himself undoubtedly the most finished and cultured of the male artists of the Metropolitan. He has won a warm place for himself in the, hearts of his audiences, who all, doubtless, would repeat to him his own address to Tannhäuser:-

"Oh kethrzuruck du kuhner Saenger!"

Miss Anna Stern sang the pastoral song of "The Shepherd Boy" very tunefully and pleasingly. Miss Schlach was the Venus and besides being very pretty, sang the difficult and thankless role with much dramatic success. The orchestra was directed by Chorusmaster Lund, Mr. Walter Damrosch not having yet recovered from his grief to be able to sit in the conductor's chair. At the conclusion of the opera there were repeated calls for Madame Materna by the audience, who refused to be satisfied by Herr Schott's uninvited appearance before the curtain or to leave until the great prima donna appeared. Herr Schott appeared no less than three times in response to the calls, to be met at the rising of the curtain, however; with chilling silence and calls for Materna. Truly the cheek of the heroic tenor is a thing that passeth all understanding. Seldom has an artist been so severely and justly rebuked as Herr Schott last evening.



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