[Met Performance] CID:43770
Siegfried {88} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/27/1909.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 27, 1909 Matinee


SIEGFRIED {88}

Siegfried...............Carl Burrian
Brünnhilde..............Berta Morena
Wanderer................Walter Soomer
Erda....................Louise Homer
Mime....................Albert Reiss
Alberich................Otto Goritz
Fafner..................Allen Hinckley
Forest Bird.............Lenora Sparkes

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

Unsigned review in the New York Post (Henry Finck?)

Wagner Without a Dull Moment

Homer nodded occasionally, and there are uninteresting pages, even in Shakespeare. The Wagner operas have dull moments-all except one-and that one "Siegfried." This, the most poetic of all his music dramas, had its first performance of the season on Saturday afternoon at the Metropolitan. Mr. Hertz, who conducted in a truly inspired fashion, restored a few pages that are usually cut, but as the opera even with these, lasted ten minutes less than four hours, the procedure was pardonable. The enthusiasm of the large audience grew from act to act and, while part of it was over Wagner's wonderwork, a good share also was due to the singers and the conductor.

There has been a delightful spirit of buoyancy and freshness in all the Wagner performances lately, and this spirit reached its climax in "Siegfried." Miss Morena lent to the role of Brünnhilde her great personal beauty, and the rare charm of her expressive voice; no one present will ever forget the grace and naturalness of the awakening scene, or the ardor of her confession of love for the hero who awakened her from her twenty years slumber with a kiss. Her final high C was splendid. Mr. Burrian sang the Siegfried rôle with great beauty of tone and unusual skill in making the Wagnerian "speech-song" perfectly distinct and yet always melodious. His sword song before the cleaving of the anvil was superbly virile-and where, outside of Wagner, will you find such a thrilling climax of sound? For the forest scene, in front of the dragon's cave, he had just the right mixture of juvenile naïveté, curiosity and banter and his finding and wooing of the sleeping maiden placed him on a level with the greatest actors now on the stage.

Of the Mime of Albert Reiss columns of eulogy have been written, and others ought to be written. It was even more replete with realistic detail on this occasion than before; he makes the ugly dwarf as repulsive as a tarantula-yet how adorable! And when he and Mr. Goritz (Alberich) quarrel after Siegfried has slain the dragon-uttering shrill, harsh angry tones-one is moved to delight as by the most beautiful concourse of sounds. Praise for Mr. Soomer's Wanderer and Mr. Hinckley's Fafner must be pitched considerably lower; nor was the Forest Bird of Miss Sparkes sufficiently light and feathery; but Mme. Homer made the most of the sombre rôle of Erda.

That Mr. Hertz and his splendid orchestra covered themselves with glory has already been intimated; nor would it be fair not to mention the great improvements in the scenic department and stage management. The foreground of the dragon's cave is now a real forest scene in all details, and probably the finest example of stage scenery ever exhibited in New York is the transformation scene in the third act while Siegfried is climbing the fire-girt mountain to find the sleeping Valkyrie. The mists gather into clouds, which form changing groups and gradually move away with astonishing and delightful truth to nature. At last, and for the first time in this country, Wagner's poetic descriptions are being carried out scenically as he conceived them. But it would take a page to describe all the beauties of this opera. Go and see and hear it yourself, and you will be a Wagnerite if you are not one already. It will be given once more on Thursday, April 8.



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