[Met Performance] CID:58110
Parsifal {74} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 11/26/1914.

(Debut: Johannes Sembach

Metropolitan Opera House
November 26, 1914 Matinee


Parsifal................Johannes Sembach [Debut]
Kundry..................Margarete Matzenauer
Amfortas................Clarence Whitehill
Gurnemanz...............Carl Braun
Klingsor................Otto Goritz
Titurel.................Carl Schlegel
Voice...................Sophie Braslau
First Esquire...........Lenora Sparkes
Second Esquire..........Marie Mattfeld
Third Esquire...........Albert Reiss
Fourth Esquire..........Max Bloch
First Knight............Julius Bayer
Second Knight...........Carl Schlegel
Flower Maidens: Elisabeth Schumann, Mabel Garrison [Debut], Louise Cox,
Lenora Sparkes, Vera Curtis, Marie Mattfeld

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

Director................Loomis Taylor
Set Designer............Leopold Rothaug
Set Designer............Burghart & Co.
Costume Designer........Blaschke & Cie

Parsifal received four performances this season.

[At this performance only, Mabel Garrison was billed under her given name, Martha Greiner.]

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Sun


New German Tenor Makes a Pleasing Impression as the Guileless Fool


Wagner's "Parsifal" had its first performance of the season yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera House. The last music drama of Wagner is particularly well suited to days of religious observance and for such occasions it has now come to be almost exclusively reserved in this city. That public sympathy with this employment of the drama is large was shown by the size and demeanor of yesterday's audience. It filled the house and its attention to the representation was one which showed both absorption and reverence. As is customary, the few scattered attempts at applause after the ceremonial close of the first act were promptly hushed.

Mr. Gatti-Casazza has brought together a new combination of interpreters for this season. Mme. Matzenauer as Kundry, Clarence Whitehill as Amfortas, Carl Braun as Gurnemanz, Otto Goritz as Klingsor and Johannes Sembach as Parsifal are the chief members of the present cast. Of these only Mr. Sembach is new to the Metropolitan, where he effected his first appearance yesterday afternoon.

Mme. Matzenauer has been heard before as Kundry, but only as alternate to Mme. Fremstad. She will now, of course, acquire the role as her own, since Mme. Fremstad is not in the company. Mr. Whitehill, who has sung Amfortas before at the Metropolitan, has not been heard there since the season of 1909-10. It should not be forgotten, however, that he was the interpreter of the suffering king when Mr. Savage produced the drama in English and that he afterward sang the part with artistic honor at Bayreuth. His performance yesterday was admirable. His voice was in good order and he sang with confidence and with beautiful eloquence. His delivery of the complaint was characterized by unusual musical beauty and poignancy of feeling.

Mme. Matzenauer's Kundry is a genuinely great impersonation, one of those creations which will probably become a tradition. It reaches this distinction in spite of serious obstacles. No admirer can be blind to the fact that the physical illusion demanded in the second act is for Mme. Matzenauer impossible, but her delivery of the music is so dramatic in the true sense of that abused word that she makes her Kundry convincing. Her first act is quite adequate, though some may wish that she
did not make Kundry's face so repulsive. Wagner calls for a deep, reddish brown complexion, but it does not seem necessary that the face should look unwashed. However, this is a small blemish upon such a large and commanding work of art as this.

Mr. Sembach made a sympathetic and interesting figure of Parsifal. There have been more powerful Parsifals and some with a larger capacity for passionate utterance. But Mr. Sembach's agreeable quality of tone and his ability to sing a sustained phrase with musical intelligence are valuable items in a generally serviceable equipment. This tenor, who appears to be young, has some imagination, and his lyric speech has the quality essential to the publication of emotion. He wants yet that knowledge of stage routine which will enable him to plan all his action and gesture to the beet purpose and to move through a role with at least a semblance of authority.

Mr. Braun's Gurnemanz has the merit of being less remote and more human than some other interpretations of the role. Naturally his voice is at home in such music. The general features of yesterday representation were good, albeit some were not as good as they should be.
The solo voices in the choir of flower maidens were below the level of necessary excellence. On the other hand there were evidences that the whole work had been rehearsed with care. The scenery had been touched up and some awkward devices replaced by better ones. Mr. Hertz conducted with his customary enthusiasm. The orchestra played well, indeed in some places very beautifully.

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