[Met Performance] CID:53460
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {113} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/6/1912.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 6, 1912

DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {113}

Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Hermann Weil
Eva.....................Emmy Destinn
Walther von Stolzing....Carl Jörn
Magdalene...............Florence Wickham
David...................Albert Reiss
Beckmesser..............Otto Goritz
Pogner..................Putnam Griswold
Kothner.................William Hinshaw
Vogelgesang.............Lambert Murphy
Nachtigall..............Gaston Martin
Ortel...................Paolo Ananian
Zorn....................Julius Bayer
Moser...................Pietro Audisio
Eisslinger..............Charles Hargreaves
Foltz...................Basil Ruysdael
Schwarz.................Bernhard Heidenreich
Night Watchman..........Antonio Pini-Corsi

Conductor...............Arturo Toscanini

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

[Kautsky & Rottonara Brothers designed the set for Act I, Burghart & Co. the others.]

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received three performances this season.


Review of Algernon St. John Brenon in the Telegraph

"MEISTERSINGER' AT METROPOLITAN

First Performance of the Season of Richard Wagner's Masterpiece. Arturo Toscanini Conducts.

IMORTAL POETRY OF WORK

Hermann Weil is Hans Sachs, While Carl Jörn and Emmy Destinn Are Also in Cast.

The first performance of this season of Richard Wagner's "Die Meistersinger" was given last night at the Metropolitan Opera House, just a little too late in the year to satisfy the large and increasing number of persons who regard this work and "Tristan und Isolde" as the consummation of dramatic music.

These works are now some half a century old. There have been many attempts to replace them and to surpass them, but the results of all efforts, whether conscious or unconscious, have been negative or futile. I am not forgetting the extraordinary, elastic and prolific genius of Verdi or the vivid and original exquisiteness of Debussy. But "Falstaff," the masterpiece of a great master, while it challenges our admiration, does not challenge our astonishment like 'Die Meistersinger." For one thing the literature of "Falstaff" is not Verdi's own. It is Shakespeare's. For another, the argument of "Falstaff" is not universal like that of "Die Meistersinger." "Falstaff" has wit, humor and the rippling laughter of boisterous comedy. The laughter of "Die Meistersinger" rises to the height of satire, of philosophical comment upon life.

The comedy of "Falstaff" is as sparkling sunlight flooding the noontide skies. Yet you have seen the sun up in the Alps pass below the shadows of the hills, leaving the valleys in evening darkness. While the lonely peaks and solemn mountain heights are bathed in the rich and mellow suffusion of a golden glow, coming from the hidden rays of a fallen and day-wearied sun.

So it is with "Die Meistersinger."

So it is with the humor of "Die Meistersinger. Full many a time it sinks into the depths of the heart, thence to enlighten with tender and poetic reflections of lofty summits of thought and meditation.

It is fortunate that a work of this kind is conducted by an artist such as Arturo Toscanini. I do not propose to speak now of his musical qualifications as a director of Wagner works. They are accepted and beyond dispute. But a Wagnerian conductor must be something more than a musician and something more than a German or Italian. Mr. Toscanini is a deep student of poetry and the poetical method. There are very few men in New York who have studied English poetic literature as he has. Byron, Keats, Shelley and Swinburne are at his fingers' end. He has the poetic inclination, the lyric bent. This is, in a way, a key to his "Die Meistersinger."

Has Grasped the Poetry.

As he has grasped the poetry of Keats, so has he grasped the poetry of Wagner. He does not trouble himself with any theories as to the Gothicism, the Teutonicism, the "Very-Dutchness" of "Die Meistersinger." Wagner is to Mr. Toscanini as a poet writing for all men and for all time. It is his duty, therefore, to educe from those masses of notes called a score the inherent and immortal poetry which Wagner has instilled into them. That is why "Die Meistersinger" of Toscanini has commanded the attention and illuminated the imagination of all lovers of the purely human and of the universal in Richard Wagner, for Wagner is then the most invincible, when he is the most human.

The part of Hans Sachs, was sung last night by Mr. Hermann Weil for the first time, that of Walter von Stolzing by Dr. Carl Jörn, and that of Beckmesser by Otto Goritz. Putnam Griswold was seen as Pogner, also for the first time here. Mme. Emmy Destinn was a buxom Eva and Miss Florence Wickham was Magdalene. Mr. Weil's Hans Sachs, like his other Wagnerian interpretations, is regular and intelligent, but lacking in vocal breadth and richness. The Pogner of Putnam Griswold has geniality and wealth of voice. The Walther von Stolzing of Carl Jörn, though deficient in aristocratic bearing or romantic demeanor, was sung with undaunted honesty and vigor. The Beckmesser of Otto Goritz is a perfect piece of opera representation. How Wagner would have delighted in so detailed and faithful a representation of his celebrated conception! The quintet was admirably sung, with Mme. Emmy Destinn in particularly good voice. The last act with …and their movements was done as realistic as ever.




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