[Met Performance] CID:85990
Lohengrin {330} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/17/1924.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 17, 1924


Lohengrin...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Elsa....................Maria Jeritza
Ortrud..................Margarete Matzenauer
Telramund...............Clarence Whitehill
King Heinrich...........Paul Bender
Herald..................Lawrence Tibbett
Page....................Cecil Arden
Page....................Nannette Guilford
Page....................Laura Robertson
Page....................Charlotte Ryan

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

Review signed "I. M." in Musical America

The First 'Lohengrin'

The Knight of the Swan came down the Scheldt for the first time at the Metropolitan this season on Thursday evening, and, if any unprepared opera-goer shared Elsa's curiosity about his name, the program would have informed him that this new Lohengrin was none other than Rudolf Laubenthal. Otherwise most of the principals were familiar. The angelic but still womanly heroine was impersonated by Maria Jeritza, who sang of wandering breezes and maidenly dreams with all the accustomed beauty of her voice. Clarence Whitehill once more adjusted the fearsome moustaches and assumed the knitted brow of Telramund, and as a consort he had the vigorous, full-voiced Ortrud of Margaret Matzenauer. The dignified King Henry was presented in the person of Paul Bender, and Lawrence Tibbett demonstrated that, when it comes to being a herald, it is of little moment whether he is deposited on the banks of Wagner's Scheldt or Riccitelli's Arno. For the pages there were Charlotte Ryan, Laura Robertson, Nannette Guildford and Cecil Arden. Artur Bodanzky presided at the conductor's desk.

Mr. Laubenthal, in his glittering armor, made a fine figure of the knight, and he held himself right doughtily, both in song and in action. In this new role he furnished additional evidence that the Metropolitan has gained a German tenor who is a decided acquisition. It is something to have a singer of physical proportions to suggest the Wagnerian hero, but, more than this, Mr. Laubenthal has enviable vocal equipment. He delivered the Narrative in true heroic style last week. He was excellent also in the Swan Song. Mr. Tibbett, the other newcomer to the cast, also gave an admirable performance. This American singer has, in half a season, demonstrated his value to the company in a decided manner. He has been entrusted with some important parts, and the Wagnerian Herald is not the least of these. Vocally his work was distinguished by clarity of diction and excellent tone.

Mme. Jeritza repeated her former success as Elsa. Her singing was good, extremely beautiful at moments, especially in the second act aria, and she gave much charm of person to the tried heroine. Mme. Matzenauer has the dramatic force necessary to make the part of Ortrud interesting, and she used her opulent voice in the manner to which she has accustomed her admirers. In a distinguished cast she won a place of distinction. Mr. Whitehill played Telramund with his usual artistry, and Mr. Bender was also excellent, giving more than effective voice to the lines of the King.

Review of W. J. Henderson in the Herald

'Lohengrin' Sung

"Lohengrin" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening for the first time this season. The principals were Mme Jeritza as Elsa, Mme. Matzenauer as Ortrud, Mr. Laubenthal as Lohengrin, Mr. Whitehill as Telramund, Mr. Bender as King Henry and Mr. Tibbett as the Herald. Mr. Bodanzky conducted. The new members of the cast were Mr. Laubenthal and Mr. Tibbett. The honors went to the American, not because he was more distinguished in the general interpretation of Wagner's popular work than the German, but because he rose more nearly than the other to the status of his role.

Mr. Laubenthal's Lohengrin had some excellent qualities. He made a fine, young, manly figure of the fabulous swan knight who is sometimes represented as a stout, middle aged Bavarian with a tendency to split his phrases and slip from the pitch. Mr. Laubenthal sang the phrases almost always as Wagner wrote them and was just in his intonation. His pronunciation of the text was clear and intelligible. It cannot be said that this Lohengrin was shrouded in mystery. He was a professional maiden rescuer who had his orders and came down the river to carry them out with promptness and dispatch. He disposed of Telramund handily, married the lady, answered her natural question, told his little story and went back up the river.

Mr. Tibbett sang the music of the Herald with a good quality of tone, with exact phrasing, and with a clarity of diction which was wholly admirable. That is all a king's herald in "Lohengrin" has to do, and Mr. Tibbett did every bit of it. Not much need be said about the others. Mme. Jeritza's Elsa is praiseworthy, but it does not clamor for ecstatic laudation. The soprano sang the music in an uneven manner, sometimes very well and sometimes with poor tone and strained style. There is little chance in Elsa for an exhibition of that nervous energy and vigorous acting in which Mme. Jeritza is at her best. Mme. Matzenauer is always a competent Ortrud. Mr. Whitehill's Telramund was as admirable as it has always been, and Mr. Bender was a good, kind king.

A vicious practice in the combat was revived. The Lohengrin did not fell Telramund with a mighty blow, but held up his sword and watched his foe fall. And this, too, after the Herald's special warning that neither fighter was to resort to magic. Wagner's stage directions are explicit; there is no excuse for this blunder.

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