[Met Performance] CID:6890
Siegfried {12} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/21/1888.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 21, 1888


SIEGFRIED {12}
Wagner-Wagner

Siegfried...............Max Alvary
Brünnhilde..............Fanny Moran-Olden
Wanderer................Emil Fischer
Erda....................Hedwig Reil
Mime....................Wilhelm Sedlmayer
Alberich................Joseph Beck
Fafner..................Eugene Weiss
Forest Bird.............Sophie Traubmann

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

Director................Theodore Habelmann
Set Designer............Johann Kautsky
Lighting Designer.......James Stuart, Jr.

Siegfried received fourteen performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times

METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE.

The most unsatisfactory performance of Wagner's noble music drama, "Siegfried," ever given at the Metropolitan Opera House was that of last evening. Herr Alvary was the hero, as heretofore, but his voice showed signs of wear, and before the evening was over he sang with considerable effort and a poor quality of tone. In the earlier scenes his work was better, and he invested the forging of the sword with splendid spirit. His conception of the rôle has been discussed in this place and commended. He acted last evening with his former excellence of judgment. Herr Fischer appeared again as the melancholy Wotan. This fine basso was in wretched voice, and in the third act his hoarseness was painful. He sang and acted the part, however, as he always has done, with superb dignity and a noble breadth of vocal style. The remaining members of the cast were heard for the first time here in their respective rôles, and with the exception of Herr Beek, who sang the music of Alberich with fine tone and good judgment, they were grievously disappointing. Herr Sedlmayer is wholly incompetent to assume such a rôle as that of Mime, which is worthy of an artist of high ability. He has no voice at all, and of course his vocal shortcomings were all the more apparent in his immensely difficult music. His acting was weak and void of subtlety. It is almost superfluous to say that Hedwig Reil was exceedingly bad as Erda. She has not been worthy of praise in any rôle yet assigned to her except that of the First Lady in the "Huguenots," which about fills her measure. Frau Moran-Olden, as Brünnhide, when she awoke from her long sleep and saluted the sun, presented one of the most ridiculous pictures ever seen on the New York stage. If she had deliberately endeavored to burlesque one of the most sublimely beautiful scenes ever written, she could have conceived nothing more effective than her pose. After that she heaped up the measure of her offenses by singing persistently out of tune, with poor attack, a forced voice production, and no great taste in phrasing. It is some comfort to note that the orchestra discharged its duties admirably, and that Herr Seidl conducted in a manner worthy of the warmest praise. But he cannot conduct the art of song into people who have not already learned it, nor can no be expected to manage the stage and see that the erratic genius in charge of the gas attends to his business, If we are to have the grand music dramas of Wagner let us have them done adequately. Such performances as that of last evening are the worst opposition to the progress of Wagner's theories in this country. The public applauded it vociferously, but public applause is a sadly deceptive standard of merit.



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