[Met Performance] CID:43660
Die Walküre {131} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/19/1909.

(Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 19, 1909


DIE WALKÜRE {131}

Brünnhilde..............Johanna Gadski
Siegmund................Georg Anthes
Sieglinde...............Berta Morena
Wotan...................Walter Soomer
Fricka..................Louise Homer
Hunding.................Allen Hinckley
Gerhilde................Lenora Sparkes
Grimgerde...............Matja von Niessen-Stone
Helmwige................Rita Fornia
Ortlinde................Rosina Van Dyck
Rossweisse..............Maria Ranzow
Schwertleite............Paula Wöhning
Siegrune................Marie Mattfeld
Waltraute...............Louise Homer

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

Review of Algernon St. John Brenon in the Telegraph

ANTHES APPEARS IN "DIE WALKÜRE"

Noted Tenor Returns to New York Signalized by Adherence to Traditional Methods

WALTER SOOMER SINGS WOTAN

George Anthes, a German tenor, who was heard in New York a few years ago, made his reappearance last night in the part of Siegmund in Wagner's music-drama, "Die Walküre." M. Walter Soomer sang Wotan for the first time, Madame Gadski, Brünnhilde, and Madame Morena, Sieglinde. These are all artists of high caliber. It was therefore surprising to remark that, while the more expensive seats in the Metropolitan Opera House were completely filled, the galleries were not, despite the popular superstition that "lovers of music," to use the cant phrase, are supposed to flock to the galleries. As a matter of fact, there is the same relationship between a slender purse and a taste for music that there is between a rotund purse and a love for music; that is to say, none at all.

Anthes showed himself a tenor gifted with a manly and melodious voice, sure and effective in its high ranges and well calculated to endure the strain of Wagnerian singing, of which, during the next few weeks, he will have much to do. His acting of the part of Siegmund was along traditional lines. It is regrettable that one is forced to use the word traditional in connection with a work of Richard Wagner, who did so much to destroy operatic tradition. But Wagnerian singers, even those with souls of their own, consider that they have achieved wonders when they have obeyed tradition. Is not all art flexible to different interpretations? Has not the actor, as well as the author and the members of his audience, a soul of his own? It is to be recorded then that Anthes in his acting was traditional, and therefore satisfactory to those who believe in the vitality of tradition. As a matter of fact, though it is heresy to say so, many Wagnerian roles would be the better for a little resolute Farrarogotion.

Miss Geraldine Farrar, it will be remembered with true Massachusetts insouciance, threw the traditions that were barnacled on to Marguerite to the winds - but she acted the part. Nor did M. Soomer as Wotan offend against the traditions that hang from that part.
He was therefore a good Wotan. From the way he had sung Hans Sachs and Wolfram it might have been expected that his Wotan would have had more warmth and color than he imparted to it. But no. To judge by yesterday's performance M. Soomer is not as much at home in severely declamatory music as he is in that of a more fluent and melodic kind. M. Morena's Sieglinde is pictorially a series of most beautiful poses, poses which melt gradually one into the other as she seeks to impart the dramatic idea uppermost in her mind. Her high notes are of singular sureness and beauty.

To the role of Brünnhilde Madame Gadski brings her Teutonic good looks and her fine voice, but, strange to say, not the fire and intensity which caused her Santuzza to glow of its own vividness. Is she too restrained by Mamma Wagner's conception of Papa Wagner's creations? It is to be hoped she is not. If she regards herself as being so restrained, or if she feels compelled to yield to those who are always talking about what this prima donna and that used to do with the part, she would consult her own interests by endeavoring to throw off the shackles imposed by dead issues and she would earn the gratitude of the new generation by considering her Wagnerian interpretations anew.

As for M. Hertz, he conducts "Die Walküre" with all due knowledge and intelligence, but never would he yield an inch to tenderness or sentiment, and with these qualities "Die Walküre" has surely something to do.


Review of Reginald de Koven in the World

'DIE WALKÜRE" SUNG BY AN AMENDED CAST.

Fine Performance Given with Gadski, Morena, Scorner and Anthes.

The several changes in the cast of "Walküre," which was sung at the Metropolitan last night, were all by way of improvement to the ensemble and a more than usually excellent performance was the result. It was as Sieglinde that Morena first won her way to our esteem last year, and again last night the grace, the sympathy, the picturesqueness and dramatic intensity of her impersonation, added to her vocal charm, made the rôle in her hands wholly artistic and enjoyable.

An artistic revival of Grau's later regime, Anthes, appeared for the first time this season singing Siegmund, and he is sincere and hearty in action, and few high notes were required of his still fresh and resonant voice. He was distinctly good and a decided element of strength. Singing the role for the first time here, Soomer struck me as a rather work-a-day Wotan. He was impressive in presence rather than in vocal breadth and sonority, and missed something of the poetry and majestic aloofness of the rôle. But singing with decided style, and playing with forceful passion, he was certainly an efficient Wotan, and altogether an improvement on Feinhals.

Gadski's Brünnhilde, buoyant, intense and vital, was, as always, vocally admirable, with much swing and entrain, if not entirely compelling. The rest of the cast, including Homer, one of the best Fricka in my remembrance, and singing with convincing ardor, and Hinckley, at his best as Hunding, was as before. Hertz conducted with fire and effective contrast, without being over insistent, and the whole performance, barring the scenery, which savors of operatic barnstorming, would have been a credit to any opera house, and was certainly the best of the work given this season.


Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun

NEW VOICES IN WAGNER.

Walter Soomer and George Anthes in "Die Walküre" at the Metropolitan.
The most commendable features of the performance of "Die Walküre" which took place at the Metropolitan Opera House last night made their first appearance in the second act. The first act, as lovers of Wagner's dramas well know, is in the hands of three of the personages of the story, two of whom are dispatched in the second act. The representatives of these three last night were Mme. Morena as Sieglinde, George Anthes as Siegmund and Mr. Hinckley as Hunding. Mr. Anthes had not been heard here since the last season of Mr. Grau's management. He was brought over to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of Messrs. Schmedes and Burgstaller.

His impersonation of Siegmund was honest and well meant, but the gods of Walhalla neglected to make this Volsung poetical. He sang with a huge volume of tone, but with disjointed phrasing and a sad want of color. Not a wild, woodland Siegmund this; not a progenitor of heroes; but a solid, substantial soldier of fortune, much disturbed for lack of fighting apparatus and apparently glad to run away with the wife of a man who had been excessively rude to him.

As for the Hunding, his wife ought to have been taken from him, for despite his ponderous voice he was a very tiresome person. Mme. Morena's vocal apparatus was not in the best of order and her tones had but little of their wonted vitality. Her Sieglinde lacked not only its usual musical brilliancy, but also much of its tempestuous temperament. It seemed to be for her an evening of some restraint.

In the second act Walter Soomer appeared as Wotan. His costume was not good and his appearance was ungodly. But he sang the role admirably. This is indeed an intelligent singer, and while he follows the present German ideas, which make Wotan a petulant and even peevish deity rather than a potent god struggling vainly against eternal law, he carries out with great skill his conception of the part.

Mme. Gadski's Brünnhilde is sufficiently familiar to pass without comment beyond the statement that the singer was in splendid voice and that her rich tones were most effective. Mme. Homer was the Fricka and she gave Wotan a very large and substantial piece of her mind. The other features of the performance were the same as heretofore and were praiseworthy. Mr. Hertz conducted



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