[Met Performance] CID:36400
Götterdämmerung {57}
Ring Cycle [31]
Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/29/1905.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 29, 1905 Matinee

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [31]

Brünnhilde..............Lillian Nordica
Siegfried...............Alois Burgstaller
Gunther.................Adolph Mühlmann
Gutrune.................Marion Weed
Hagen...................Robert Blass
Waltraute...............Louise Homer
Woglinde................Bella Alten
Wellgunde...............Paula Ralph
Flosshilde..............Florence Mulford
Vassal..................Julius Bayer

Conductor...............Alfred Hertz

Review (unsigned) in The New York Times


Stamps Out a Blaze From Broken Torch, Singing All the While


Prima Donna's Dress Scorched, but She Didn't Mind - Audience Goes Wild Over Her

Singing perfectly all the while the dramatic notes of the climax to "Götterdämmerung," Mme. Lillian Nordica ran half-way across the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday afternoon and stamped out a small fire that had frightened both chorus and audience. The flames touched her dress of light material and scorched it in places, but the prima donna escaped harm.

Mme. Nordica, as Brünnhilde, was singing of Loge, the god of fire, and of her own impending incineration of herself on the funeral pyre of Siegfried. She had just seized a torch from a member of the chorus to light the fire as Wagner's stage directions demand, and had come to the lines:

Yet Loge bide him
Valhalla bids him revisit.

A woman member of the chorus back of her became careless at that moment and tipped her alcohol torch upside down. The torch burst and the blazing alcohol fell out on the stage and flared up.

The blaze was more spectacular than dangerous, as the alcohol would have burned itself out without igniting anything else. Members of the chorus, however, drew back in affright. The sight of the flames and the action of the people on the stage stirred the audience. There was some excited whispering and a concerted stir in the orchestra seats. These attracted the attention of Mme. Nordica, and she glanced around and saw the flames. She looked front again and saw Conductor Herz waving his baton coolly.

Without a tremor in her voice, keeping the tempo of the music as correctly as if nothing unusual had happened, she gathered up her flimsy costume and ran back to the flaming spot. Herr Blass, who was singing Hagen, and several members of the chorus, were galvanized into action by her movement, and also started for the flames. Mme. Nordica did not stop, however. Pushing men and women aside she stamped on the fire.

Shouts of encouragement from the galleries and some scattering applause below were stopped by a gasp of fear as the flames leaped and seemed to catch her gown. "Don't, please; oh, don't!" cried a woman. Mme. Nordica simply lifted her skirts a bit higher and again, coolly stamped on the flames until the patch of fire, about eighteen inches in diameter, was all put out.

Then the prima donna came down front again, found herself in complete touch with Herr Herz, who had been keeping the orchestra up to its work, and went on with her song. Shouts of "Brava!" came from all over the house and a great wave of applause startled the employees in the foyer, so that some of them rushed in to see what could have caused such an interruption in "Götterdämmerung," but Mme. Nordica did not pause. She reached the climax, ran into the funeral pyre, the scenery above opened showing the gods assembled in Valhalla for the final catastrophe, and the opera ended with the great finale in which Wagner has put all the power of word and brass and strings.

Afterward came such a demonstration as has seldom been seen at the Metropolitan. The audience stood up and clapped their hands and cheered. Mme. Nordica was brought out again and again and smiled and bowed, while the almost hysterical people crowded down to the front and acclaimed her. Flowers were thrown on the stage and some one sent down a huge bouquet to her. She was brought out ten times and still enthusiasts clamored to see her again.

Mr. Conned and Mr. Castel-Berg, the stage director, gave assurance last night that there was no real danger of a fire, although they praised Mme. Nordica's pluck. Full precautions are taken against any accident from the torches, they said, and even if Mme. Nordica had not acted so promptly, members of the chorus or some of the stagehands would have put out the flames.

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