[Met Performance] CID:86510
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {147} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/23/1924.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 23, 1924 Matinee


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {147}

Hans Sachs..............Friedrich Schorr
Eva.....................Delia Reinhardt
Walther von Stolzing....Curt Taucher
Magdalene...............Marion Telva
David...................George Meader
Beckmesser..............Gustav Schützendorf
Pogner..................Léon Rothier
Kothner.................Carl Schlegel
Vogelgesang.............Max Bloch
Nachtigall..............Louis D'Angelo
Ortel...................Paolo Ananian
Zorn....................Angelo Badà
Moser...................Pietro Audisio
Eisslinger..............Giordano Paltrinieri
Foltz...................James Wolfe
Schwarz.................William Gustafson
Night Watchman..........Arnold Gabor

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

Review of Lawrence Gilman in the Tribune

A Memorable Performance of "Die Meistersinger" at the Metropolitan Matinee

Although it could not have been pleasant for Miss Delia Reinhardt to faint on the stage of the stage of the Metropolitan yesterday afternoon as a result of nervous excitement incident to her New York debut as Eva in "Die Meistersinger," She may derive what consolation she can from the knowledge that for one witness, at least, she took rank among the most charming Evas who have been heard here within recent years.

Miss Reinhardt fell to the stage as she finished her last note in the Quintet in the third act. The audience, perhaps thinking that this was some original bit of stage business invented by the new Eva, never turned a hair, and sat calmly listening to the dozen measures that come between the end of the Quintet and the close of the scene. Three of the other singers - Miss Telva, Mr. Tauscher and Mr. Meader - went to Miss Reinhardt's assistance; Mr. Schorr (the Hans Sachs) sang the nine measures of his part which follow the Quintet; and then the curtain closed, while Mr. Bodanzky and the orchestra continued with the music of the brief interlude that separates the scene in Hans Sachs's workroom from the scene in the meadow beside the Pegnitz. No one seemed flustered, and the wheels of the operatic machine continued to revolve with perfect smoothness. It was an admirable exhibition of discipline and self-possession on the part of every one concerned.

Miss Reinhardt was taken to her dressing room and soon revived. A physician found her to be suffering from nothing more alarming than an attack of nervous indigestion. The singer very pluckily insisted upon finishing her part in the performance. So they let her go on in the last scene and though it was a white and rather shaky Eva who, watchfully supported by Magdalena, placed the wreath of laurel and myrtle on Walther's head, sang her "Keiner wie du, so bold zu werben weiss," and a little later transferred the wreath from Walther's brow to Sachs's, nevertheless she was Eva until the end - and a very winsome one too, adorned in her gleaming Sunday best for the Johanistag festivities. But she took no curtain call, though the audience clamored for her loudly and long.

Yesterday's representation of "Die Meistersinger" was notable for other reasons than because a singer fainted during the performance. To begin with there was Miss Reinhardt's beguiling Eva - an Eva illusive to the eye, slim, girlish, acceptable to the imagination. But also an Eva admirable in action and, on the whole, in song. This Eva was delightful because of her spontaneity, her suggestion of youthful sentiment and impulsiveness, her variety and significance of pose and gesture and expression. She was not offensively simpering, and ponderously arch, with the arches as of a truckload of iron girders that is typical of many German Evas. She was candid and winsome and forthright - for Eva is anything but coy; she is hanging shamelessly upon Walther's neck when the second act has barely begun. She is, in fact, a Wild Young Thing, and was the originator, we are convinced, of the first petting party ever held in sixteenth-century Nuremburg. But she is a thoroughly Nice Girl, nevertheless, a credit to the good Pogner, her father, and to the Young People's Circle of the Katherinenkirche; and Wagner has given her some exquisite music to sing - music as dewy and fresh and fragrant as a spray of honeysuckle, music that wonderfully succeeds in expressing adolescent ecstasy and the breath and flavor of sincere romance without ever seeming mawkish or yeasty or sentimental. Marvelous music it is - that which tells us of the passion of Eva and her young Knight; there is none lovelier in all Wagner. It is possible to listen for the hundredth time to that motive which the annotators have entitled "Sommernachszauber" and still yield to the spell of its enchanting, glamorous beauty.

Beauty, indeed, was present in abundance at yesterday's performance. Mr. Schorr's remarkable Hans Sachs possessed, no doubt, the largest share of it. It was his first appearance in the rôle at the Metropolitan, though New York had recognized the quality of this impersonation a year ago, when Mr. Schorr was a member of the Wagnerian Opera Company. We have seen few finer Sachses than Mr. Schorr's. Perhaps, if we had to testify under oath, we should have to confess that we do not remember a more persuasive one since Emil Fischer's great performances in the old days; though Fischer never sang this music, within our recollection, as Mr. Schorr did yesterday.

Mr. Schorr has a voice of exceptional beauty, and he sings like a magician. Some of his mezza-voce and pianissimo singing yesterday was of astonishing delicacy, purity and finesse - we shall not soon forget the rare tenderness of "Dem Vogel der heut'sang" or the musing poetry of the great monologue in the third act. Mr. Schorr's phrasing is that of an artist of fine taste and sensibility. His is the authentic Sachs of Wagner's drama; a poet, a dreamer, a man of sorrows; but a tragedian who has mastered his grief and does not take too seriously his resignation; who is mellow without softness and noble without offense. Like all profound humorists, he is tolerant, contemplative, philosophic, a liberal and a modernist, and a man of charm - magnetic, dominant, lovable.

This complex and subtle character came to life under Mr. Schorr's hands and moved before us in humanness and truth. It was largely planned, but was none the less full of significant and revealing detail - as in that moment of Sachs's difficult self-control when Eva throws herself into his arms and knowingly torments him with her gratitude that she swears is love. Here for an instant, we saw the anguished middle-aged lover of Wagner's poignant conception, with his sorrow, his fortitude, his resignation, his magnitude of soul, his humorous acceptance of his own tragedy, his tenderness that is never for himself. This was a truly great performance and Mr. Schorr was called again and again before the curtain to acknowledge the audience's appreciation.

The Walther von Stoltzing of Curt Taucher was not distinguished. Mr. Taucher has neither the voice nor the style for Walther's music, and his singing might be amiably characterized as unresourceful. Leon Rothier, the French basso, assumed the role of Pogner for the first time at the Metropolitan. The result was an intelligent effort, but scarcely a successful one. We doubt if Mr. Rothier will ever be quite happy as a Teutonic guildmaster, and we rather hope he won't. A French Pogner seems to us as anachronistic as a German Manon - though, no doubt, such a bird exists. Marion Telva's Magdalena is still, apparently, in the experimental stage. The rest of the cast was that of the earlier performances this season. Mr. Bodanzky conducted with his usual still and dependability.



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