[Met Performance] CID:97950
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {173} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/10/1928.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 10, 1928


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {173}

Hans Sachs..............Friedrich Schorr
Eva.....................Grete Stückgold
Walther von Stolzing....Rudolf Laubenthal
Magdalene...............Kathleen Howard
David...................George Meader
Beckmesser..............Gustav Schützendorf
Pogner..................Pavel Ludikar
Kothner.................Arnold Gabor
Vogelgesang.............Max Bloch
Nachtigall..............Louis D'Angelo
Ortel...................Paolo Ananian
Zorn....................Angelo Badà
Moser...................Aaron Weisberg
Eisslinger..............Giordano Paltrinieri
Foltz...................James Wolfe
Schwarz.................William Gustafson
Night Watchman..........George Cehanovsky

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

OPERA SEASON

'Die Meistersinger' Sung by the Metropolitan Opera Co. at Academy

In the lobby of the Academy of Music last night veteran opera goers vied with one another in finding words sufficiently impressive to convey their warm appreciation of "Die Meistersinger," Richard Wagner's only and immortal comic opera, as staged and sung by the Metropolitan Opera Company. The verdict of the lobby jury seemed to be that not in a decade at least has Gatti-Casazza done so well by this masterpiece as in last night's performance.

Two singers of extraordinary vocal and histrionic gifts were presented in the roles of Eva and Hans Sachs. In the first part Grete Stückgold revealed a soprano of clear and vivid beauty, full-toned and equal both in dynamics and tonal compass to the exacting requirements of the music.

Friedrich Schorr, who created a sensation when he first appeared here with the Wagnerian Opera Company seven years ago, set a high mark of achievement in the role of the philosophical shoemaker whom Wagner chose to represent the voice of the people. Schorr's rich, unforced tone possessed, as well, a pianissimo that is one of the marvels of the current singing season. In the softest passages the tone remained true and flawless. Always it was perfectly controlled. Whether his second act solo, his soliloquy in the first scene in the third act or his vocalization just before the Finale was his best must remain a matter of individual opinion. He brought to the part a sound conception of its simple dignity that was well suited to the music.

In the difficult part of Beckmesser, Gustav Schütendorf allowed himself wide latitude of comic effect. The burlesque serenade was perhaps over-emphasized. It is sufficiently funny without any striving for effect. Schützendorf's singing was skillful and displayed a keen understanding of the music's demands.

If this opera needed any added new recommendation it might be offered in the fact that its beauty remained unimpaired despite the periodic return of Rudolf Laubenthal to the chief tenor role of Walther, the warbling knight of the "Prize Song." His strained tones with their curious nasal quality were in contrast to the excellent singing of the remainder of the cast.

The apprentice as sung by George Meader retained a sensitive feeling for the part that Meader has displayed in previous years. Possessed of a rarely beautiful voice of authentic tenor quality he, in addition, is a splendid actor, able to convey by a gesture the mood of the situation.

Two things stand out in recalling the performance. One is the vivid charm of the melodious quintet that ends the first scene of the third act. The second is the unusually fine singing of the chorus, especially the soprano section. In the vocalism, even more than in the excellent costuming and staging, the ancient town of Nuremberg was made to live again. Its street fights, its meadows, its quaint dim-lit streets all arose out of the past and the audience was able to live briefly in an atmosphere of charm all too rarely found in these days.

The "mastersingers" acquitted themselves well, especially William Gustafson and Pavel Ludikar. Artur Bodanzky conducted with his accustomed skill and musicianship and did remarkable things with his orchestra. His playing of the overture, the Apprentice's Dance and the Finale were especially fine.



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