[Met Tour] CID:127540

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tue, January 9, 1940

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (225)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Hans Sachs
Friedrich Schorr

Elisabeth Rethberg

Walther von Stolzing
René Maison

Karin Branzell

Anthony Marlowe

Walter Olitzki

Norman Cordon

Julius Huehn

Max Altglass

Louis D'Angelo

Nicholas Massue

Lodovico Oliviero

Giordano Paltrinieri

Douglas Beattie

John Gurney

Night Watchman/Ortel
George Cehanovsky

Erich Leinsdorf

Review 1:

Review of Henry Pleasants in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Metropolitan Gives "Meistersinger"

When one considers the tremendous popularity of Wagner's operas in the present-day repertoire, it seems strange to report that Philadelphia heard "Die Meistersinger," last night, for the first time since the spring of 1935.

Although the last previous performance of the opera was by the Philadelphia Orchestra and last night's performance was by the Metropolitan Opera Company, the casts were not entirely different. Friedrich Schorr was the Hans Sachs on both occasions. Julius Huehn repeated with the Metropolitan the Fritz Kothner Philadelphians first heard in 1935, and Albert Mahler, the David of Philadelphia Orchestra's production, was present in the same role under his new name of Anthony Marlowe.

Mr. Marlowe's participation was the result of a brace of indispositions which the Metropolitan took in its stride. Karl Laufkötter was to have been the David and Charles Kullman, the Walther, but both were ill. In Mr. Kullman's place was Rene Maison, the admired Belgian tenor more than favorably remembered for his Loge in last season's "Das Rheingold," and for his Herod in the "Salome" of the preceding season.

The dominant figure in a well-balanced and shrewdly-paced performance was, of course, Mr. Schorr. His Sachs has lost some of its vocal richness and warmth, but none of its expansive sympathy and kindliness. This is a noble characterization, radiant with understanding and insight and good humor. It makes the homage of the last act a logical and touching tribute.

After Mr. Schorr, however, came the two substitutes. Mr. Maison's Walther had a certain knightly bearing which not many tenors can achieve, and an essential part of this aristocratic quality was the well-bred reserve which Mr. Maison maintained from first to last. His singing had a similar refinement and distinction. It has been a good many years since Walther's music has been so well sung.

Mr. Marlowe's David gave not the slightest indication of inexperience or of the perils that go with short-notice appearance in difficult parts. It was a well and completely developed characterization with even some individual touches. There have been Davids with more beautiful voices, but few who have sung the music more appealingly, or with a more successful suggestion of youthfulness.

The evening produced one more outstanding achievement in the Beckmesser of Walter Olitzki, a baritone new to the company this season and previously unknown in Philadelphia. Mr. Olitzki knows his Beckmesser. By refraining from a good deal of the conventional burlesquing, he contrived to make the character not only ridiculous but also a little pathetic. The element of pathos in comedy is a curious thing, and too complex for discussion here. One might remark however, that it has something to do with the difference, for instance, between Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy. Certainly it had a lot to do with the superiority of Mr. Olitzki's Beckmesser.

Elisabeth Rethberg's Eva was an engaging person, as was as the Magdalene of Karin Branzell. Norman Cordon sang sonorously and with dignity as Veit Pogner, and Mr. Huehn was a massive Kothner. Other smaller roles were all capably taken. Erich Leinsdorf conducted with authority, and also with a certain impetuous enthusiasm which may have accounted for a rather loud participation by the orchestra.

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