[Met Performance] CID:82040
Der Rosenkavalier {28} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/17/1922.

(Debuts: Paul Bender, Gustav Schützendorf, Muriel Tindal, Augusto Monti, Wilhelm von Wymetal
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 17, 1922


DER ROSENKAVALIER {28}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Octavian.....................Maria Jeritza
Princess von Werdenberg......Florence Easton
Baron Ochs...................Paul Bender [Debut]
Sophie.......................Marie Sundelius
Faninal......................Gustav Schützendorf [Debut]
Annina.......................Kathleen Howard
Valzacchi....................Angelo Badà
Italian Singer...............Orville Harrold
Marianne.....................Grace Anthony
Mahomet......................Virginia Gitchell
Princess' Major-domo.........Pietro Audisio
Orphan.......................Laura Robertson
Orphan.......................Grace Bradley
Orphan.......................Henriette Wakefield
Milliner.....................Muriel Tindal [Debut]
Animal Vendor................Raffaele Lipparini
Notary.......................William Gustafson
Leopold......................Giordano Paltrinieri
Faninal's Major-domo.........Augusto Monti [Debut]
Innkeeper....................George Meader
Police Commissioner..........Carl Schlegel

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

Director.....................Wilhelm Von Wymetal [Debut]
Set designer.................Hans Kautsky
Costume designer.............Alfred Roller

Der Rosenkavalier received six performances this season.


Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

In the present restoration, the two new artists introduced must be accorded first mention. Both have been widely known in Central Europe. Mr. Bender, especially, has come to the Metropolitan after having attained a place in the first rank of singing actors. To him fell the part of Baron Ochs, around whom centers most of the fun, such as it is, of Hugo von Hoffmansthal's farce and the Straussian exposition of it. It is a role of plenty of girth and Bender filled it expansively, presenting a Hogarthian portrait which avoided much of the smarseness of Goritz's characterization, though it may have lost something of blunderbuss humor thereby. His voice came to the ear as a large and agreeable one, responsive to the call for coloring and humorous inflection, but the nature of the vocal writing of the part is not such as to disclose an artist's equipment for downright good singing. Though of huge stature and commanding poise, the new bass did not achieve his effects by sledgehammer methods. There were always unction and a suggestion of reserve in his underscoring of his comedy points. Mr. Schützendorf's vocal attainments must also be left for other operas to establish. His Faninal proved him a farceur of skill and of personality, and he was consistently droll without being extravagant.

Successes for Favorite Artists

In succeeding to the role of the Feldmarschallin, Florence Easton called into play the best qualities of her art. Her singing in the last act trio had all its wonted silvery beauty of tone and she was altogether successful with the first act monologue. Her usual adaptability did not fail her in her picturization of the grande dame in negligée, draining the chalice of Octavian's youth-some passion; although the rôle is one which suggests quite a different personality, especially in the first scene, than that Mine. Easton brings to it. Her diction was clearer than that of any of the German artists in the cast.

Mme. Jeritza's Octavian was an impersonation of much charm, though perhaps less apt in its simulation of adolescent masculinity than Margarete Ober's. For all her dégagé air, some of her gestures and bits of facial play remained piquantly feminine. Her figure gave more nearly the suggestion of a boy's straight lines than many would have expected. There were many graceful and expressive details of acting to give the character an individual aspect, and the last act masquerade was altogether well done. Characteristic vocal faults, while by no means concealed, were less disturbing in this music than in parts where beauty of tone and style are first requisites.

The success of Mme. Sundelius, who sang Sophie, already has been noted. The part is not one that calls for any exceptional dramatic gifts, but the music is of difficult tessitura and requires a singer of no little resourcefulness. Mme. Sundelius achieved it with musical tone and grace of style. Orville Harrold sang the superfluous but very difficult tenor air, "Di Rigori," with opulence of voice and the necessary touch of affectation. Of the others in the cast of twenty or so, it is only necessary to mention separately Angelo Bada, whose Valzacchi was cleverly drawn, and Kathleen Howard, whose Annina was similarly engaging. Servants and lesser personalities popped on and off the stage with machine-like precision. The new stage director, it would seem, likes military smartness and promptitude.

Of Mr. Bodanzky's conducting, it can be said that it had its customary energy and nervous vitality. "Rosenkavalier" is not a score to call for Wagnerian sweep, and Mr. Bodanzky's methods conformed to its demands for the liveliest accentuation. The "Presentation of the Rose," one of the most brilliant episodes Strauss has penned, did not have all the glitter associated with it, but the fault was largely that of the setting, which does not lend itself-at least as it was lighted Friday night-to that visual radiance which should accompany the dazzling sunburst of the Straussian scoring. The new Viennese mountings were otherwise acceptable, but conventional.

Unsavory Elements Minimized

As given Friday night, the auditor had to exercise an unnecessary diligence to find those unsavory elements which caused one reviewer to write in 1913 that the work "is one to be taken through the nose." The four-poster was apparently only an innocent onlooker in the first act, and to read into the Prelude what some keyhole imaginations have conceived it to represent seems the height of moralistic supererogation. Subsequent "broad" situations have been variously minimized, and few listeners will concern themselves too closely with minor vulgarities of the German text.

The Feldmarshallin's monologue, the ending of the first act, some of Sophie's music, the episode of the "Presentation of the Rose," and the rapturous trio of the last act remain the pages of Strauss' score which invite to rehearing. The sundry waltzes, over which much of the dialogue is suspended, lose for the most part, the effectiveness they would have in a typical Viennese light opera, by reason of the complexities into which they modulate, though the brilliantly orchestrated one at the end of the second act, to which Baron Ochs sings his lecherous refrain, "Mit mir, mit mir keine Nacht dir zu lang"-capitally sung by Mr. Bender-again evoked the liveliest enthusiasm of the evening at the revival. There are changes of key in these waltzes that are altogether enchanting, and there is no mistaking the cleverness with which much of the music continually mirrors the text, while the scoring can only be described as magical, yet all ends in a sense of lucubration and heaviness of foot.



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