[Met Performance] CID:42870
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {96} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/22/1909.

(Debuts: Carl Jörn, Erik Schubert, Arthur Triebner, Josef Sundermann
Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 22, 1909


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {96}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Fritz Feinhals
Eva.....................Emmy Destinn
Walther von Stolzing....Carl Jörn [Debut]
Magdalene...............Louise Homer
David...................Albert Reiss
Beckmesser..............Otto Goritz
Pogner..................Allen Hinckley
Kothner.................Adolph Mühlmann
Vogelgesang.............Julius Bayer
Nachtigall..............Erik Schubert [Debut]
Ortel...................Arthur Triebner [Debut]
Zorn....................Stephen Delwary
Moser...................Josef Sundermann [Debut]
Eisslinger..............Walter Koch
Foltz...................Otto Lötzsch
Schwarz.................Herbert Waterous
Night Watchman..........Paolo Ananian

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

Director................Anton Schertel
Set Designer............Kautsky & Rottonara Brothers

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received eight performances this season.

Review of Henry Krehbiel in the Tribune

OPERA AT THE METROPOLITAN.

Wagner's Comedy Well Played and Sung.

The German contingent is enjoying a spirit of unusual and successful activity at the Metropolitan Opera House just now. After four phenomenally successful performances of "Le Nozze di Figaro" (which was brought out under the German aegis, though it is an Italian opera) within twice as many days, Wagner's "Meistersinger" had a representation last night which stood out in bright relief against those of recent years. Mr. Hertz was the conductor, the stage management was in the same hands as before and there were several familiar people in the cast, at least one of whom has always been quite inimitable, though even he seemed to have acquired a new sense of the dramatic and humorous possibilities of his rôle. This was Mr. Goritz, who as Beckmesser has placed a picture in the operatic gallery of New York that is not likely to be forgotten for decades to come. Another, also of high excellence, was Mme. Homer, whose unctuous acting as Magdalena is now perfectly paired by her capital treatment of its uniquely characteristic musical declamation. Mr. Muhlmann was also seen and heard in the part of Kothner, which he has often filled in the past. There were four new impersonations, however, which were not only interesting individually, but which fitted into the ensemble well and helped to emphasize the fact that more than the oldtime care had been bestowed upon the preparation of the work. The newcomers were Miss Destinn, the Eva of the evening; Mr. Jörn, the Walther; Mr. Finehals, the Hans Sachs;, and Mr. Hinckley, the Pogner. The more meritorious of these new impersonations were those of Mr. Finehals and Mr. Jörn, who effected his entrance on the Metropolitan stage after a week's sojourn in the city. Circumstances have made his first appearance before a New York audience a more trying ordeal than a prima donna is ordinarily called on to endure, but Jörn must have been put at his ease by the reception, quick, spontaneous and cordial, accorded to him after the first act. He had, indeed, a most sympathetic audience - one that not only crowded the house, but contained a large element keenly appreciative of the comedy and the music, and quick to appreciate every notable point of excellence in action as well as song. This quality acted as a stimulus to all, but especially to Mr. Goritz, who might have seen his listeners convulsed with laughter over and over again, not only because of his acting, but also in involuntary tribute to his speeches. Evidently the German opera lovers were out in fine force.

Mr. Jörn's success, which was unequivocal, was precluded by a delightful shock of surprise caused by hearing a fresh, youthful, ringing tenor voice, which is something that has not been heard coming from a German singer for a long time. There was no great abundance of sensuous beauty in his singing, nor did he disclose the suavity and easy grace of bearing and action which, added to superb singing, made Mr. Feinhals's impersonation of Hans Sachs so admirable that there is no temptation to recall any of his predecessors in the part for comparison. The barytone has conceived the character of the cobbler-poet in a spirit of fine dignity, with somewhat less of the good-natured rudeness which it can endure, but with convincing appreciation of its innate gentleness and its philosophical depth. He presented a. striking figure, having very successfully copied one of the portraits which date back to the period in which the comedy plays. All the kindly interest which was felt in Miss Destinn's essay of a part widely different from the rôles in which she has achieved success here was not rewarded until the third act. Then, however, her passionate intensity made an irresistible appeal. Mr. Hinkley's singing was marred by the unsteadiness of voice which has frequently been deplored. The choruses were sung with splendid precision and volume of tone, and the mob scene at the close of the second act was sung and acted with splendid spirit.

What has been set down above are matters of detail. The outstanding feature of the occasion was the splendid ensemble, which made the success of the presentation of the opera. For the brilliant conjunction of the vocal and instrumental forces - a conjunction that might properly be termed inspired in the beautiful harmony attained - too much credit cannot be given to Mr. Hertz. The climax of an evening of delight to music lovers came most appropriately at the close of the third act. It was after midnight then, but the audience stayed on and cheered Mr. Hertz repeatedly. Had he kept acknowledging the applause he might have been at it indefinitely. It was only after many minutes had passed and Mr. Hertz resolutely refused to answer the calls that the audience desisted.


Review of Algernon St. John Brenon in the Telegraph

TRIUMPH FOR 'DIE MEISTERSINGER'

Metropolitan Opera House Sold Out Long Before Beginning of Performance

THE IMPORTED TENOR SINGS

"Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg," the most delightful of comic operas, was performed last night for the first time this season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Four of the singers were new to New York in this particular opera, and one, M. Jorn, made his American debut as Walther von Stolzing.

Before proceeding to any discussion of the merits of the four singers in question, it is due to the heads of all departments in the Metropolitan to felicitate them upon the beauty, the effectiveness, of everything relating to the scenic settings, the costuming, the groupings, and the general pictorial presentation of this noble music-drama, the most natural, human and genial that has ever flowed from the pen of a composer. It will be remembered that the last scene of the last act of this opera is spectacular and choral.
The spectacle was just what I have indicated above. The choral singing, particularly of the noble hymn to Hans Sachs, had a wealth of tone color, a massive and ringing musicality of utterance, such as in the history of this opera can but rarely have been devoted to it. The riot scene at the end of the second act was equally well contrived, both as to its gradual culmination and its uproarious humor.

Hertz Led the Orchestra.

The orchestra again, under the care and able direction of Alfred Hertz-that earnest and brilliant young musician-covered itself with glory. M. Hertz did not yield to the temptation to strain the resources of the brass, as he may have done in the past. Only the dullest ear could have failed to notice the just proportion which M. Hertz maintained between the various instrumental elements of this wonderful score. Only the cloddiest of Boeotians could have failed to have been moved by the exquisite poetry with which the orchestra played last night. Of the singers it is not possible to speak with equal enthusiasm.

Surely Walther von Stolzing, whose very name denotes a character at once proud and romantic, was something different from the cherubic and petulant young boy, which, at least in the externals of make-up and demeanor M. Jorn represented him as being, so much so that in spite of oneself one was maddenly reminded of Buster Brown.

Why the importation?

Walther was a poet and a singer, but M. Jorn was without a flash of poetry and his singing prompted one to ask: Why, with such tenors as M. Bonci or Richard Martin in the company, Dippel had to import from Germany an artist who is unable to sing with any accuracy, charm or breadth of style so simple and so exquisite a melody as "Am Stillen Herd," to say nothing of the hackneyed and much mistreated "Prize Song?" These are the mysteries of opera. Apparently they defy solution, just as the German school of singing defies and dares even as enthusiastic and as persistent a Wagnerian as the writer of these lines, to enjoy the singing of its pupils.

Feinhals sang Hans Sachs. Now the character of Hans Sachs is very clearly explained by the lines, and dramatic action of "Die Meistersinger." In an effort to be an earnest Hans Sachs, M. Feinhals almost accomplished the extraordinary feat of being a tragic one. Imagine a Mercutio who managed to be as grave as Horatio. That would be a dramatic feat. Well, just such a triumph did Feinhals achieve last night. He came very near giving a Hans Sachs without humor.

Eva is not a part for Madame Destinn. She was most obviously miscast. Of the elaborated, active, idea-ed Beckmesser and the lively David of M. Reiss nothing but praise can be written. The excellences of these two performers have been recorded again and again. M. Hinckley sang Veit Pogner, A good bass voice, a manly vocal style and a good presence, and there's your Pogner. Mr. Hinckley had these three qualifications.



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