[Met Performance] CID:97750
Der Rosenkavalier {45} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/26/1927.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 26, 1927


DER ROSENKAVALIER {45}

Octavian................Grete Stückgold
Princess von Werdenberg.Florence Easton
Baron Ochs..............Richard Mayr
Sophie..................Editha Fleischer
Faninal.................Gustav Schützendorf
Annina..................Kathleen Howard
Valzacchi...............Angelo Badà
Italian Singer..........Alfio Tedesco
Marianne................Dorothee Manski
Mahomet.................Madeline Leweck
Princess' Major-domo.........Max Altglass
Orphan..................Mary Bonetti
Orphan..................Philine Falco
Orphan..................Mildred Parisette
Milliner................Phradie Wells
Animal Vendor...........Raffaele Lipparini
Hairdresser.............Armando Agnini
Notary..................William Gustafson
Leopold.................Ludwig Burgstaller
Faninal's Major-domo....Raimondo Ditello
Innkeeper...............George Meader
Police Commissioner.....James Wolfe

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

Review of Charles D. Isaacson in the New York Telegraph

GLEE IN OPERA 'ROSENKAVALIER'

There was laughter everywhere in the Metropolitan Opera House last night. The audience had a perfectly hilarious time, and the singers acted as if they were still at their holiday festivities. But chiefly the music laughed.

Richard Strauss, who could write a "Salome," "Elektra" and a "Hero's Life," the most tragic and philosophical of harmonies, proved in "The Rosenkavalier" that he is master of every kind of orchestration. Under the skillful baton of Artur Bodanzky, the orchestra made merry. The instruments smiled, grinned, giggled, chuckled, guffawed, and roared right out loud. The strings were he-feeing from the rise of the curtain, and the cellos and basses laughed haw-haw! Talk about the laughing saxophone and the cheerful jazz orchestra of a Ted Lewis. Here is music of the subtlest order, music fit to shine alongside the finest of all time - and it is the very essence of fun.

It was not new to hear the musical laughter of Mr. Strauss. But on Christmas night, it seemed particularly gratifying and seasonable to hear it all over again, in one of the best performances of the kind ever put on Broadway, in or out of the opera, musical comedy, abandoned farce of burlesque!

"The Rose Cavalier" has solid entertainment. At times, as in "Charlie's Aunt," we have a young chap running around in woman's garb. At times, the Baron, resembling Falstaff, is making love to every pretty girl, and tickling at her knees. At times the groom-to-be plays a miniature scene of "Taming of the Shrew," in which the taming is never to be accomplished.

With all that low comedy, there are interwoven poetry, idyllic love passages, and an atmosphere of realism, which "The Barber of Seville," for instance, never accomplishes. It is a masterpiece, there is no doubt, and if only an Arthur Hammerstein could maneuver a whole scan of "The Rose Cavalier" in English he would pack in the Broadwayites. Of course, the question would be - where could he get the singers! For, with all of its popular appeal and fun, "The Rose Cavalier" is a real grand opera, in its demands upon the vocalists. The management was particularly felicitous last night in the roster of its principals.

To Richard Mayr fell the joyous task of singing the bombastic, pompous Baron, who loses his sweetheart to Octavian, his rose-bearer. To add to the grotesque mishaps of the Baron, Octavian is the very disguised maid, to whom the philandering old fool has made flirtations love! A finer Baron, it would be hard to imagine, and in a Broadway production he would be a headliner overnight. Yet this is the very same artist, who but recently was the dignified King in "Tannhäuser" and "Lohengrin." How he bellowed and roared when the sword of Octavian scratched him! And how he chortled as he chucked the maid under the chin! And how he puffed and gloried in the momentary power over the pretty Sophie! What a bear he was as swung to the graceful waltz theme.

Grete Stückgold was Octavian (the role is always sung by a woman). Her comedy and her singing were worthy of 100 percent rating. And this was the same woman who only the last week sung the dusky princess, Aida.

Now the young American [sic], Editha Fleischer has come into her own. A lovelier woman, pretty of face and figure has not been seen on the Metropolitan stage. In this role of Sophie, the young artist was vocally at her finest. Miss Fleischer is being hard worked. No doubt she makes not the slightest objection - she loves it, and that is why she is putting over all the difficult principal parts assigned her.

Florence Easton's singing of the Princess was smooth, rich and in her best manner. In their important places in the action, everything one could hope for was done by a true galaxy of stars; Kathleen Howard as Annina, Bada as her partner, Schützendorf as Sophie's father, and a long cast of worthy artists. We hear about galaxies: this is one instance where we found it an actuality. Even Madeline Leweck, who merely walked on in the part of a negro boy, did it so well, the audience wanted to applaud her!

No, this is not the Christmas spirit which is on us; we haven't a word to say against anything or anybody. Only a grouch could have complained. The whole audience went out of the auditorium last night, whistling and singing a Strauss waltz (as fine as anything the other Waltz King Strauss ever wrote.)



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