[Met Performance] CID:92620
Tannhäuser {236} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/2/1926.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 2, 1926


TANNHÄUSER {236}

Tannhäuser..............Rudolf Laubenthal
Elisabeth...............Maria Müller
Wolfram.................Friedrich Schorr
Venus...................Frances Peralta
Hermann.................William Gustafson
Walther.................George Meader
Heinrich................Giordano Paltrinieri
Biterolf................Arnold Gabor
Reinmar.................Louis D'Angelo
Shepherd................Elizabeth Kandt
Page....................Grace Anthony
Page....................Minnie Egener
Page....................Laura Robertson
Page....................Mary Bonetti
Dance...................Unknown

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

WAGNERIAN OPERA

"Tannhäuser" Sung by Metropolitan Company at Academy of Music

The third Wagnerian opera within a month was presented by the Metropolitan Company from New York at the Academy of Music last evening, when a performance of "Tannhäuser" was given. The setting of the story of the minstrel-knight is rather a different matter, to be sure, musically as well as in the nature of its narrative, from the much later and "heavier" music-drama of "Tristan und Isolde," or "Die Walküre," the second part of the Nibelungen Ring, but it is truly "Wagnerian," and one of the greatest works of its kind ever written. It represents Wagner before he gave up the more distinctly operatic form for that of the music-drama and is rich in romance, poetic in appeal and noble and magnificent in the melodious beauty and dramatic significance of its music.

The presentation last night in some respects was worthy of the masterpiece. Artur Bodanzky conducted with insight and feeling and with admirable, if not altogether thrilling, results from the orchestra, while the cast was notable especially for the singing of the role of Elisabeth by Maria Müller, and that of Wolfram by Friedrich Schorr, while Rudolf Laubenthal was competent and acceptable as Tannhäuser. The tenor substituted for Lauritz Melchior and the soprano for Florence Easton, the indisposition of these singers, who were announced to appear as Tannhäuser and Elisabeth, necessitated the changes in the cast.

While a Philadelphia audience always is glad, it may be inferred, to welcome Miss Easton, and that of last night no doubt would have found much to commend in her Elisabeth, there could be no regret where there was so much to enjoy in the beautiful singing of Miss Müller. This soprano fairly idealized the character, in the stately beauty, the sympathetic charm and the vocal splendor of her performance. Her voice is the purest soprano quality, of lyric loveliness and dramatic power, and she sings with such fluent ease and so much of intelligence and expressiveness that listening to her is a joy and a satisfaction. She realized the beauty of the great aria, "Hall, Bright Abode," Elisabeth's majestic greeting to the hall of song and sang the Prayer in the third act very impressively. Mr. Schorr's baritone, of rich and sympathetic quality, was used with fine effect in his singing of Wolfram, the melodious song to "The Evening Star," giving him an opportunity to shine vocally while he sang to the stellar radiance.

The disappointment of the evening was the substitution of another tenor for Mr. Melchior, who was so cordially received a week ago as Siegmund. Mr. Laubenthal, however, is an experienced Wagnerian singer and his Tannhäuser had its fine moments dramatically and vocally, though his voice is of the rather pinched, metallic quality of the typical German tenor, and there is not much of warmth or emotional appeal in his singing. William Gustafson began better than he finished, and Landgraf Hermann, his resonant bass giving out somewhat in the second act, and the other roles were in capable hands. Frances Peralta making a voluptuous Venus and singing with authority in the [beginning] Venusburg scene, where the ballet did the Bacchanal with spirit, though the lighting was so dim that the dancers and the several tableaux that appeared in the background were scarcely visible. The big chorus did very well, particularly in the March entrance to the festival hall and the first Pilgrim's Chorus was well done, though the re-entrance of the pilgrims in the third act found the tenors and basses somewhat at variance as to tone and tune. The playing of the orchestra, under Bodanzky, had a better chance of appreciation between the acts than in the overture, when the audience was being seated, not only during that famous number but almost to the end of the Venusburg scene.



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