[Met Performance] CID:104590

Les Contes d'Hoffmann
Metropolitan Opera House, Sat, February 22, 1930

Les Contes d'Hoffmann (41)
Jacques Offenbach | Jules Barbier
Antonin Trantoul

Nina Morgana

Lucrezia Bori

Queena Mario

Alfredo Gandolfi

Adamo Didur

Dappertutto/Dr. Miracle
Giuseppe De Luca

Ina Bourskaya

Angelo Badà

Millo Picco

Alfio Tedesco

Arnold Gabor

Louis D'Angelo

George Cehanovsky

Mother's Voice
Henriette Wakefield

Louis Hasselmans

Review 1:

Review of Robert Sabin in Musical America
George Szell, whose dramatic resignation from the Metropolitan Opera staff of conductors preceded this performance by only a few hours, allowed no hint of that disturbance to mar his conducting of the seasons’s fourth (and his last) performance of the new production of the Dresden version of “Tannhäuser.” Throughout the evening the work was firmly molded and compellingly interpreted.

The performance had other unexpected aspects. Owing to the indisposition of Ramon Vinay, Charles Kullman took over the title role. Although Mr. Kullman had had two rehearsals, he had never sung the part of Tannhäuser in public before anywhere. In view of this fact, his performance was a little short of astounding, for it was dramatically telling as well as vocally secure. His is not an ideal “Tannhäuser” voice, but he knew how to husband his resources and make the big phrases come through.

Josef Metternich sang the role of Wolfram for the first time at the Metropolitan. He was thoroughly dependable in the role, as telling in the ensembles as in his solo passages. He sometimes had momentary troubles in keeping the softer phrases clear in quality. Mr. Metternich did not allow the celebrated apostrophe to the Evening Star to droop, as it so easily can, if it is not carefully worked out in the singer’s mind.

Regina Resnik was heard as Venus for the first time at the Metropolitan. It was not a role best suited to her voice or temperament, and she sounded uncomfortable in it, though she injected considerable dramatic vitality into the part. Her top tones were unsteady and unfocused, and the caress of the vocal line was missing. Heidi Krall, who appeared as the Shepherd for the first time at the Metropolitan, sang the air, which is much harder than it sounds, very charmingly.

Astrid Varnay was in her best form as Elisabeth. Her dramatic comprehension of the character was profound and her voice had a sumptuous richness and evenness of quality that she has not always vouchsafed. Miss Varnay is one of the very few distinguished actresses among Wagnerian sopranos today. The rest of the cast was familiar, with Jerome Hines as Landgraf Hermann, Brian Sullivan remarkably good as Walther von der Vogelweide; Clifford Harvout, as Biterolf; Paul Franke, as Heinrich de Schreiber; and Norman Scott, as Reinmar von Zweter, The chorus sang splendidly throughout the evening.

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