[Met Performance] CID:9160
Tannhäuser {57} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/28/1890.

(Debut: Heinrich Gudehus, Antonia Mielke, Adolf Von Hübbenet, Olga Islar, Edmund Müller

Metropolitan Opera House
November 28, 1890


Tannhäuser..............Heinrich Gudehus [Debut]
Elisabeth...............Antonia Mielke [Debut]
Wolfram.................Theodore Reichmann
Venus...................Marie Jahn
Hermann.................Emil Fischer
Walther.................Edmund Müller [Debut]
Heinrich................Adolph Von Hübbenet [Debut]
Biterolf................Bruno Lurgenstein
Reinmar.................Peter Mastorff
Shepherd................Olga Islar [Debut]

Conductor...............Anton Seidl

Director................Theodore Habelmann
Set Designer............Charles Fox, Jr.
Set Designer............William Schaeffer

Tannhäuser received seven performances this season.

Unsigned review in The New York Times


The second night of the season of grand opera in German at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening drew together a large audience. The house, to use the familiar expression of the theatrical profession, was packed from pit to dome. It was quite as brilliant an audience as that of the [first] night. It may be doubted whether the sterling old opera of "Tannhäuser" would have brought together such a large house if it had not been for the great interest attached to the début of the tenor and soprano, upon whom will rest a large share of the burden of this season's work.

Heinrich Gudehus, it is hardly necessary to say to lovers of German music, is one of the Wagnerian tenors who rejoices in a large reputation in Europe. He has passed the ordeal of Bayreuth and has traversed the entire range of Wagner's tenor heroes, having crowned his achievements by singing "Parsifal" in the holy of holies, the Wagner Theatre. It will be seen at the outset that this singer possesses at least an historic interest. It has been the experience of this public in the past that Wagner tenors who came here from Europe were chiefly possessed of this kind of interest which was supposed to supply the place, to some extent, of that ever-present need, a voice.

Herr Gudehus's claims are not, however, wholly based on his splendid past. His day is not done yet, and there is reason to hope that he will give a certain amount of pleasure during the season before us. His voice is abundantly powerful, and last evening he was unsparing in his demands upon it. Indeed, he might have exerted himself less with better results unless it be the fact, as we suspect, that the organ is too unyielding to be managed without forcing. The middle and lower registers are strong, but not resonant. There is hardness, a lack of mellowness that becomes wearisome to the ear in time. The upper register has the true tenor quality, but it is also hard. The voice is by no means flexible, but flexibility is one of the things that age impairs, and Herr Gudehus is no longer young. He sang generally in tune last evening, and if this proves to be a permanent merit the other shortcomings can be tolerated. His phrasing was intelligent and his declamation was in the true Wagnerian style. His enunciation of the text was fairly good, and his acting was commendably effective on conventional lines. Add to this that he is a large man of good presence, and it will be seen that the Opera House has a Wagner tenor who will be acceptable and probably something more.

Fran Antonia Mielke made her first appearance before an American audience as Elizabeth. She comes from the Stadt Theatre of Cologne, where she is a great favorite. She is a dramatic soprano with a rich, powerful, and resonant voice. It is not so mellow a voice as that of Lilli Lehmann, but it is equally forcible and somewhat more penetrating. Frau Mielke is unquestionably an experienced and splendidly trained artist. Her phrasing is most admirable, especially in recitative passages, which she read last night with splendid intelligence and true eloquence. Her cantabile is broad and expressive, and in her first scene last evening she moved the audience to enthusiasm and gave promise of ability to handle such rôles as Brünnhilde in an impressive manner. She is a tall and dignified woman, who treads the stage with true poise and shows the results of experience and study as an actress. If she continues to do as good work as she did last evening, she will certainly prove to be a valuable acquisition.

Those familiar friends Fischer and Reichmann appeared as the Landgrave and Wolfram. It is hardly necessary to say that Herr Fisher's work was well done. He is one of those who makes an auditor feel comfortable in the assurance that all will be well. Herr Reichmann did not sing in tune all the time, and he impresses the spectator with a feeling that he has a large and abiding sense of his own importance, His Wolfram, however, is a fine performance. Fräulein Marie Jahn sang the music of Venus smoothly and tunefully, but without uncommon dramatic force. The other members of the cast were Edmund Muller as Walter, Bruno Lurgenstein as Biterolf, A von Hübbenet as Heinrich the Scribe, P. Mastorff as Reinmar, and Olga Islar as the shepherd. The last-named singer has a light and pretty voice, and she phrased her few measures commendably. The chorus and orchestra did their work well, and Hen Seidl conducted with his customary skill.

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