[Met Performance] CID:61130
Lohengrin {294} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/26/1915.

(Debut: Erma Zarska
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 26, 1915


LOHENGRIN {294}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Jacques Urlus
Elsa....................Erma Zarska [Debut]
Ortrud..................Margarete Matzenauer
Telramund...............Hermann Weil
King Heinrich...........Carl Braun
Herald..................Carl Schlegel
Noble...................Julius Bayer
Noble...................Ludwig Burgstaller
Noble...................Adolf Fuhrmann
Noble...................Carl Bitterl
Page....................Louise Cox
Page....................Rosina Van Dyck
Page....................Frieda Martin
Page....................Veni Warwick

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Director................Jan Heythekker
Set Designer............Burghart & Co.
Set Designer............Kautsky & Rottonara Brothers [Act I only]
Costume Designer........Blaschke & Cie

Lohengrin received seven performances this season.

Review (unsigned) in the December 4, 1915 issue of Musical America

New "Elsa's" Voice Fails Her

The first "Lohengrin" on Friday evening of last week gave little cause for rejoicing. A more perfunctory and uninteresting performance has not been heard at the Metropolitan in many a day. A serious damper was early placed on the evening's pleasure by the new Elsa, Erma Zarska, who amazed even the most indulgent by the amateurishness of her impersonation and a voice that barely crossed the footlights. All of this was first attributed to nervousness, but as the opera progressed and the singer showed no sign of rallying, wonder and dismay grew. Before the last act Mr. Guard appeared before the curtain, announced that Mme. Zarska was ill, but would continue to the best of her ability. She walked through the last act in almost voiceless condition. It was said that the Bohemian soprano had been indisposed since her arrival in America, but that her physician considered her well enough on Friday to sing. No attempt was made to explain why she was permitted to appear under such adverse circumstances. Criticism of her work must, therefore, be deferred.

Mme. Zarska's plight did not tend to encourage the others. Lohengrin was never Mr. Urlus's best role, but he has sung it better before and can certainly do better with the narrative. Mr. Weil's Telrarnund and Mr. Braun's King passed muster, while the Ortrud of Mme. Matzenauer was very vigorous - too much so, in fact, in the invocation to the pagan gods. The chorus sang some scenes well, others listlessly and with dubious intonation. Mr. Bodanzky carried out his share of the proceedings in the fashion he has made familiar in the previous works that have fallen to him. The conductor deserves thanks for insisting on an unaccompanied performance of the quintet in the first act in accordance with Wagner's intentions, thus eliminating the bassoon support always used at the Metropolitan. The passage, it should be observed, was sung correctly in tune. He made trifling cuts in the first and second acts to which no exception could be taken. But one strongly resents the loss of the splendid [beginning] of the last scene - the stirring gathering of the clans - which has hitherto been one of the most striking features of the Metropolitan production. Its suppression did, it is true, save about four minutes; none the less, the opera did not end till fifteen minutes before midnight and the little time gained did not prevent the usual early exodus.



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