[Met Performance] CID:76980
New production
Lohengrin {308} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/2/1921.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 2, 1921
In English
New production


LOHENGRIN {308}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Johannes Sembach
Elsa....................Florence Easton
Ortrud..................Margarete Matzenauer
Telramund...............Clarence Whitehill
King Heinrich...........Robert Blass
Herald..................Robert Leonhardt
Page....................Cecil Arden
Page....................Sue Harvard
Page....................Frances Ingram
Page....................Edna Kellogg
Page....................Elvira Leveroni
Page....................Mary Mellish
Page....................Alice Miriam
Page....................Marion Telva

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

Director................Samuel Thewman
Designer................Joseph Urban
Translation by F. Corder, H. Corder, Cowdrey, Spaeth

Lohengrin received nine performances this season.

[The Corder translation was revised and edited by Spaeth and Cowdrey.
Gretel Urban, daughter of the designer, assisted her father with the costumes for this production.
She devised at least eleven of them herself, but took no program credit.]

Review of H. E. Krehbiel in the Tribune

'Lohengrin' Sung After Resting For Four Years

New Scenery and Costumes Provided for Revival of Old Favorite at the Metropolitan Opera House

Text Put in English

Notable Cast Gives Entertainment Seldom Surpassed in History of Score

That an opera may benefit from a rest was made apparent when "Lohengrin" was performed at the Metropolitan Opera House last night after its score had been left on the shelf for four years. After a performance in February, 1917, it went the way of the other German operas in the Metropolitan's list. That a revival which involved the use of the vernacular instead of the opera's original tongue might also work for artistic good was likewise obvious.

The use of an English text made it necessary to change the old cast and to subject the opera to study from the bottom up. A wise management also found it advisable to provide the work with new scenery and costumes, and a resourceful stage manager was permitted to stir the old pool and refresh its waters, which had long ago become stagnant and almost noisome.

Appears in New Dress

In short, the "Lohengrin" of last night presented itself with a well washed and shining face and proved to be a refreshing and exhilarating entertainment.

Of course, there is nothing new in Lohengrin" with a text foreign to the original. The opera was long known to New Yorkers in an Italian version before it became familiar in German, though it was first heard in the original tongue in a theater on the Bowery at a time so remote that only long memories can recall it.

As for English performances, they have been many and some of them have been notably excellent. We cannot recall any that was so admirable in all its elements as that of last night. Singers with richer vocal endowment than some of those heard on this occasion have sung its music, but we doubt whether they were so completely imbued with the spirit of the work, and we question whether there ever was a better ensemble, a more fitting set of pictures, a more eloquent performance of the orchestral part.

There have been more gallant and heroic figures than that presented by Mr. Sembach (as Lohengrin) and more sonorous and rotund voices have been heard in the music of King Henry than Mr. Robert Blass's. But we do not remember a finer vocal and dramatic impersonation of the character of Telramund than that presented by Mr. Whitehill, nor a more exquisite embodiment of the pure spirit of Elsa than that of Miss Easton - virginal in voice, soulful in expression, graceful in pose and action and in all things in keeping with the poet-composer's conception of the humanized Psyche-character.

As for Mme. Matzenauer's Ortrud, that is a familiar thing-and as strong, beautiful and convincing as it is familiar. Remains only for mention, which must be commendatory, Mr. Leonhardt's Herald and deserving of inclusion (as real principals in the performance) the chorus, orchestra, Mr. Bodanzky, Mr. Urban, who has put the play into an imposing setting; Mr. Setti, the chorus master, and Mrs. Thurman, the stage manager. And first of these in deserving is Mr. Bodanzky.




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