[Met Performance] CID:87120
Der Freischütz {9} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 04/8/1924.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
April 8, 1924


DER FREISCHÜTZ {9}

Max.....................Curt Taucher
Agathe..................Delia Reinhardt
Caspar..................Michael Bohnen
Ännchen.................Thalia Sabanieeva
Ottokar.................Gustav Schützendorf
Hermit..................Léon Rothier
Kilian..................Arnold Gabor
Cuno....................Carl Schlegel
Samiel..................Gustav Schützendorf
Bridesmaid..............Louise Hunter
Bridesmaid..............Laura Robertson
Bridesmaid..............Charlotte Ryan
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio
Dance...................Florence Rudolph

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

Review (unsigned) in the North American (Philadelphia)

'DER FREISCHÜTZ' BEAUTIFULLY SUNG

Weber's Famous Opera Elaborately Staged in Metropolitan's Revival

BOHNEN'S FINE ARTISTRY

Curt Taucher in leading Tenor Role -- Wolf Glen is Spectacular Setting

"Der Freischütz" has long been absent from the local stage, but the Metropolitan Opera Company seeing fit to revive this distinctively German work of Carl Maria von Weber, gave a performance of the opera last evening at the Academy of Music with such detail of scenic elaboration and of effects as will keep the production long in memory. Without the investiture to make for the spectacular, "Der Freischütz," even in its completely musicalized form, would in these days seem rather tame. However, it is an opera that gives excellent opportunities for several of the principals and, in the instance of this revival, an especially agreeable role to that splendid actor and singer, Michal Bohnen. He is comparatively a stranger here, yet he is such a fine artist that he will surely be welcome on each occasion of his appearance. His was the role of Caspar, that ranger who made a compact with the wild huntsman, Samiel, and who sought to gain extension of life by finding victims for the implacable sorcerer. Seven magical bullets were cast in the wolf's glen so that Max might be that victim, but fate intervened to save him from killing the woman he adored and the luckless Caspar turned upon by Samiel, falls victim to the fatal magic bullet.

Weber's opera was in a way the beginning of a new epoch in German music. Prior to the presentation of "Der Freischütz" in 1821 in Berlin, French and Italian music masters had influenced largely the work of German composers. But "Der Freischütz" was of romantic aspect, giving place to German mysticism and to folklore, and Weber thereby became the logical precursor of Richard Wagner.

In the revival of the opera, as has been indicated, every opportunity to give full value to the enactment was taken. The wolf's glen scene was majestic. In the rear was a silvery waterfall coming from a great height, and the moon behind a cliff cast a silvery light upon the clouds. Over a ravine was a rocky bridge, and in the foreground was the cauldron over which Caspar worked making the magic bullets. Each bullet's making caused some new demonstration of Samiel's power. Great bats descended, with glowing red eyes, there were eerie creatures flitting here and there, and the will-o-the-wisps were omnipresent. Thunder sounded and finally there was darkness surrounded by a flood of moonlight. However, the bridge was so high above the stage that Max did not venture upon it. Instead he was represented by a "double," while Curt Taucher, in the wings, sang the music of the part. A little later, in his own presence, Max was seen coming down the rocky cliffs.

Michael Bohnen was magnificent as Caspar. His is a sonorous voice and his acting was of a quality with his singing. It was a splendid bit of rollicking exaltation that was sung at the close of the first act in the famous "Triumph" aria. Throughout the opera Bohnen was a notable figure. Taucher sang in good tenor voice the part of Max. Delia Reinhart as Agatha, the beloved, was also admirable, her rich and lovely voice giving fine expression to the music of the part. Annchen, the cousin, was portrayed and sung by the able Queena Mario. James Wolf was a nerve-tingling Samiel, and Gustav Schützendorf was Price Ottakar, Carl Schlegel and others of the company contributed to an excellent performance. The chorus singing, in German, was splendidly sonorous and there were beautiful effects in vocalization. Artur Bodanzky as conductor deserves praise for the excellence of the performance in its musical aspects. He composed the recitatives for the opera and his work was in the Weber spirit.



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