[Met Tour] CID:95240

American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tue, February 1, 1927

Review 1:

Review of Samuel L. Laciar in the Philadelphia Ledger


Walter Kirchoff Excellent in Debut Here in Title Role. Claussen Sings Well


"Lohengrin," that Wagnerian epic showing the evil effects of too much feminine curiosity, and lasting through three long acts, each filled to the brim with trouble, was the offering of the Metropolitan Opera Company last evening at the Academy of Music before the usual large and appreciative audience. The feature of perhaps the greatest interest was the first appearance in Philadelphia of a new German tenor, Walter Kirchoff. He has a high voice of excellent, but not superlative, quality and sings far more largely in the Italian manner than the average German tenor, especially in his command of mezza voce, which is remarkable. Not many of the German operas will allow this use of the tenor voice, but "Lohengrin" is one of them. The wonderful acoustics of the Academy proved of considerable assistance to the new tenor in what must be considered a very successful Philadelphia debut. His acting was good, but not overwhelmingly convincing, although due allowance must be made for the fact he was playing opposite Mme. Jeritza, a difficult place for even the most gifted of dramatic talents.

Mme. Jeritza took the role of Elsa with her highly charged dramatics, her majestic stage presence, and her uncanny ability to make stage pictures. Her singing was a trifle uneven, as was the case with some other features of the performance, but her work as a whole was excellent. She won the instant approval of the audience, as she always does, before she had sung a single tone.

Julia Claussen was perhaps the most effective member of the cast, in a highly temperamental and always convincing interpretation of Ortrud. She did the best and most consistent singing of any of the principals throughout the opera. Gustav Schützendorf, as Telramund, was sufficiently adequate dramatically to make up for some decided deficiencies of singing. Mr. Ludikar was the exact reverse, singing the role of the King well enough, but acting it without any of the human kindness which is, or should be, one of the chief characteristics of the role.

The chorus did some of the best operatic choral work that has been heard in Philadelphia for many years and the stage settings and the costumes were fully up to the Metropolitan's standard. Mr. Bodanzky made liberal cuts, especially in the first and second acts, the latter being perhaps not altogether justified, but even at that the opera lasted until 11:30. He conducted the prelude at a very slow and absolutely uniform tempo and the processional of the second act at a pace resembling a funeral march more than a wedding procession. However, the audience was immensely pleased with the performance and virtually everyone stayed until the final curtain - and approval can go no further that this in a more than three hour opera.

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