[Met Performance] CID:97030
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {169} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/2/1927.

(Debuts: Grete Stückgold, Richard Mayr
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 2, 1927


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {169}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Clarence Whitehill
Eva.....................Grete Stückgold [Debut]
Walther von Stolzing....Rudolf Laubenthal
Magdalene...............Kathleen Howard
David...................George Meader
Beckmesser..............Gustav Schützendorf
Pogner..................Richard Mayr [Debut]
Kothner.................Arnold Gabor
Vogelgesang.............Max Bloch
Nachtigall..............Louis D'Angelo
Ortel...................Paolo Ananian
Zorn....................Angelo Badà
Moser...................Max Altglass
Eisslinger..............Giordano Paltrinieri
Foltz...................James Wolfe
Schwarz.................William Gustafson
Night Watchman..........George Cehanovsky

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Hans Kautsky


Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received eight performances this season.


Review of Olin Downs in The New York Times

The first performance in a season of a given opera is sometimes a brilliant one, and sometimes not. When the opera is a work new to the theatre, and especially when that theatre is the Metropolitan, it is likely to be brilliantly presented. Conductor, orchestra and cast are on the qui vive and give their utmost. But on other occasions, when the work is a restudied item of the repertory-however conscientiously, restudied-the reactions of the interpreters to the situation may not be so vivid, energetic and coordinated.

For whatever reason, the first "Meistersinger" of the Metropolitan season, which made last night's attraction at our famous lyric theatre, was in several respects a disappointment. We speak first of the performance in general. The quality of the orchestra was rough, with abrupt accents and transitions, and sometimes solo voices were covered. The many cuts made in the score, partly in response to the necessity of shortening the opera, but also, probably, with the intention of favoring certain singers whose voices no longer support for long periods the immense strain of Wagner's music, did not conduce to continuity of effect. Nor was there, apparently, a superabundance of enthusiasm.

The excellences of the performance were rather repetition of familiar accomplishments than any novel or unexpected revelations of art. Thus Mr. Laubenthal, who continues to use a fine voice in the more or less brutal German manner, shows his intelligence, his continued studiousness, his general development as an interpreter; and he is a personable figure on the stage. Mr. Whitehill's mastery of detail and command of tradition offset in considerable degree his moderating vocal capacities. The same principle holds true of Mr. Meader, the accomplished impersonator of David. Miss Howard's Magdalena is a capable interpretation. There is always the excellent Metropolitan chorus, which seems to rise to every test, be the opera in Italian, German or Choctaw.

There was an artist on the stage last night, who, if his vocal results had been equal to his fine intuitions, his sense of dramatic values and his knowledge of style, would have been the distinguishing feature of the performance. This was Richard Mayr, who appeared for the first time at the Metropolitan and who was quite possibly handicapped by a pardonable trepidation and the unaccustomed and immense proportions of the theatre. Mr. Mayr's resonance did not always fill its spaces. His tone color, in the upper register, was inclined to be pale. He showed himself, nevertheless, the artist of high and deserved reputation in Europe, as those who have seen his performances in operas by Mozart and Beethoven, for example, will testify. Later appearances will probably present Mr. Mayr in a different light than last night's, when he was not heard to the best advantage.

Miss Grete Stückgold has the valuable asset of a young and fresh voice, and she is a plausible if a little over-kittenish Eva on the stage. In so far she gave pleasure. She, too, must be heard in other roles to be fairly estimated. Her Eva of the first two acts had no very distinctive or eloquent characterization.

And yet such individual virtues and defects as those which have been recounted are, after all, secondary affairs in opera that has dramatic quality. The great considerations in a work of the character of "Meistersinger" are dramatic and musical life, logic and spontaneous flow of tempi, and the weaving of every element of the ensemble into a web of tone which conveys to the listener the inexhaustible beauty and the Shakespearean variety of Wagner's expression. Such life, unity, cohesion and harmoniousness of effect did not characterize last night's performance.



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