[Met Performance] CID:82300
Parsifal {99} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/8/1922.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 8, 1922 Matinee


PARSIFAL {99}
Wagner-Wagner

Parsifal................Curt Taucher
Kundry..................Margarete Matzenauer
Amfortas................Clarence Whitehill
Gurnemanz...............Paul Bender
Klingsor................Gustav Schützendorf
Titurel.................William Gustafson
Voice...................Marion Telva
First Esquire...........Ellen Dalossy
Second Esquire..........Myrtle Schaaf
Third Esquire...........George Meader
Fourth Esquire..........Pietro Audisio
First Knight............Carl Schlegel
Second Knight...........Louis D'Angelo
Flower Maiden: Marie Sundelius, Grace Anthony, Raymonde Delaunois,
Mary Mellish, Charlotte Ryan, Marion Telva

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Designer................Joseph Urban

Parsifal received four performances this season.
Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

"Parsifal" Reverts to Original Text at Metropolitan

With Restoration of German Words in Festival Music-Drama, English Tongue Disappears from the Current Repertoire - Bender Achieves Notable Success as Gurnemanz and Taucher Appears in Name Part

English as a language of song vanished from the stage of Metropolitan Opera House with last Friday's special matinee performance of "Parsifal," the first this season of Richard Wagner's music-drama of the Grail. The translated text, which H. E. Krehbiel prepared by special commission for the first of the Wagner restorations three seasons ago, was retired to the limbo of past experiments, make-shifts and stop-gaps. Through three opera-years it held its own, whereas the English versions of "Lohengrin" and "Tristan and Isolde" endured for but one season. Now all have been sent to keep company with those ill-fated books in the vernacular which were written for the sundry American operas undertaken at the Metropolitan in times past, and with two other examples of opera in English - the lamented "Oberon" and the unlamented "Polish Jew."

Whatever the disappointments of the "opera in our language" enthusiasts, Friday's "Parsifal" was distinctly better than the "Parsifals" of the three seasons preceding, and chiefly because of the reversion to Wagner's words. There was no call for smiles over such lines as Parsifal's "Leave off then" to the Flower Maidens or Gurnemanz' "crack-brained wretch" to Kundry. The mystical and ceremonial elements of the drama gained quite as much as the music - wedded as this is to the words, syllable by syllable, even more than the other Wagner scores. The hand of the new stage director, Wilhelm von Wymetal, was plainly to be seen in a number of improvements in the staging. There was more of synchronization of movement to word and note, and a more evident regard for tradition. The children in the Temple did not scamper across the stage, but marched, in fact, too slowly. There appeared to be some attempt to brighten Urban's gloomy picture in the assembly of the knights, and the Flower Maidens moved and postured in new and more graceful groups, though the setting of the magic garden remained as hopeless as ever. Why one assortment of painted roses was lifted and lowered several times in the progress of this scene the man at the ropes aloft only knows.

The cast contained three of the company's new Teutonic artists, Paul Bender, Curt Taucher and Gustaf Schützendorff, in addition to Margaret Matzenauer, Clarence Whitehill and others identified with the English representations of the work. Mr. Bender might almost be said to have dominated the performance. His .Gurnemanz was a characterization mellow and sympathetic in action, and rich and restrained of voice - by all odds his most notable achievement at the Metropolitan, not excepting his drolly unctuous Baron Ochs in "Rosenkavalier."

Mr. Taucher's Parsifal was distinctly better than his Tristan and his Siegmund. If his voice possessed little of beauty, his thorough routine served him well, both in singing and acting, and he was intense without being lachrymose in the outburst after Kundry's kiss. The Klingsor of Mr. Schützendorff was an improvement over that of Mr. Didur, who was never happy in the role.

Mr. Whitehill's Amfortas has been, from the first, a nobly conceived and executed study. He was not in his best voice Friday, but he has seldom been more convincing. Mme. Matzenauer's Kundry, like her Brünnhilde and her Isolde, forced her contralto voice to heights it never was intended to climb, but her delineation of the role was again one distinguished by a mature and discerning art. Nothing quite like her costume in the magic garden has been seen (or heard) at the Metropolitan. It shimmered, it shivered, it shook; and, irrespective of whether the designer got his inspiration from glass portieres or the Hawaiian grass skirt, it rattled and clicked an additional accompaniment to the voices whenever Kundry moved.

In the small parts of the Knights, Esquires and Flower Maidens the program listed the following: Louis D'Angelo, Ellen Dalossy, Myrtle Schaaf, George Meader, Carl Schlegel, Pietro Audisio, Marie Sundelius, Grace Anthony, Raymonde Delaunois, Mary Mellish, Charlotte Ryan and Marion Telva. Artur Bodanzky conducted, as he has all performances of "Parsifal" since its return. The orchestra played well and the choruses were in tune, including the voices in the loft in the Grail scenes.



Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).