[Met Performance] CID:83330
Tannhäuser {217} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/21/1923.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 21, 1923


TANNHÄUSER {217}

Tannhäuser..............Curt Taucher
Elisabeth...............Maria Jeritza
Wolfram.................Clarence Whitehill
Venus...................Margarete Matzenauer
Hermann.................Paul Bender
Walther.................George Meader
Heinrich................Max Bloch
Biterolf................Carl Schlegel
Reinmar.................William Gustafson
Shepherd................Raymonde Delaunois
Page....................Grace Bradley
Page....................Laura Robertson
Page....................Charlotte Ryan
Page....................Myrtle Schaaf

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

Review of Deems Taylor in the World

It was interesting to go back to the Metropolitan "Tannhäuser" last night after seeing the work done by the German company at the Manhattan. Neither is the world's perfect production, but the Metropolitan version is by far the better one.

It is better because it fills the eye better, and has a singing actress of extraordinary beauty and magnetism to make the role of Elizabeth significant. And "Tannhäuser" needs all the help it can get. Despite the famous tunes in the score - to say nothing of the bacchanal - it seems the least vital of Wagner's dramas. It is a curious jumble of good old-fashioned Meyerbeerian arias and choruses, interspersed with vocal narratives and dialogues that foreshadow "The Ring" and "Tristan." One hears the germ of the leitmotiv system - but only the germ. The motives are not developed sufficiently to give the score much coherence. What there is is furnished by the frankly tuneful elements.

What makes "Tannhäuser" important at the Metropolitan is prima-donna Maria Jeritza. In some ways it is one of her finest achievements, for she created it out of such difficult material. She is confronted with a role about as exciting as Agnes in "David Copperfield" - the good girl who suffers in comparative silence - and by the virtue of beautiful and subtle acting, coupled with her heaven-sent gift of suggesting reality, makes of it a creature of passionate innocence, charm and overwhelming pathos.

Most Elizabeths one sees are too naïve and too nun-like to make Tannhäuser's love for them credible. Jeritza's is a woman, young beautiful, and human: a woman unawakened, perhaps, but waiting eagerly, if only half consciously, for the lover whose touch shall kindle her to flame. When she stand shielding the cowering minstrel in Hall of Song, facing the angry and horrified knights, her "I loved him" has the pride and divine shame of a woman who has stripped her soul bare for love's sake. Vocally, Mme. Jeritza is at her best in the part. She sang the sustained phrases of "Dich, Teure Halle" last night with a beauty and steadiness of tone that belied her reputed inability to sing legato successfully.

Mr. Taucher's Tannhäuser is much the same as Mr. Lussman's at the Manhattan - a conventional performance that is neither impressive nor very bad. Mr. Taucher made more of the role last night than he has made of Siegmund or Tristan, although his upper voice still lacked the power the role calls for. He struck some exceedingly effective poses, but spoiled them by jerky and ill-planned gestures. Mr. Bender made the lay Hermann surprisingly effective, and Mr. Whitehill, though he seemed vocally miscast, made Wolfram much more of a vital and arresting figure than he usually seems.



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