[Met Performance] CID:170020

Metropolitan Opera House, Fri, November 18, 1955

Debut : Hermann Uhde

Lohengrin (500)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Brian Sullivan

Eleanor Steber

Margaret Harshaw

Hermann Uhde [Debut]

King Heinrich
Otto Edelmann

Arthur Budney

Charles Anthony

James McCracken

Calvin Marsh

Louis Sgarro

Fritz Stiedry

Dino Yannopoulos

Set Designer
Charles Elson

Lohengrin received six performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Jay S. Harrison in the Herald Tribune

Wagner's 'Lohengrin' Back at Met After Year's Lapse

Wagner's "Lohengrin," which returned to the Metropolitan Opera Friday night after a season's absence, invariably taxes all those concerned with it. The audience sits long, the soloists sing hard and the chorus and orchestra are kept in a frenzy of prolonged activity. When the music drama jells, however, all the fuss, fuming and hazards to voice and limb retreat to the status of minor inconvenience. They did, at any rate, in the present instance.

The performance, in short, was a grand one. It had pace, it had power. It was visually brilliant, vocally rich. And it introduced to the Metropolitan audience the person of Hermann Uhde, a baritone who will doubtless prove a stable prop to support the company's sagging Wagnerian wing. As Telramund, Mr. Uhde revealed a voice of genuinely heroic proportions whose pitch, in general, is as true as a tuning fork's and whose timbre is warm and ringing. Color he has also, and it was strikingly modulated according to the sentiments of the text. By turns he was dour, sinister, brave and remorseful, and in all cases his voice adopted the expressive shading necessary to give meaning to his phrases and life to his characterization.

These things considered, it is a pity that he feels impelled to sing mostly at a forte level, with the result that he holds little in reserve for climaxes. Since Mr. Uhde is unaccustomed to the acoustics of the house it is possible that he imagines loudness the only means of making himself heard. This, I am sure will change in time, as will, one hopes, his tendency to overact. At the moment he is a lurcher, a staggerer and a roller of the eyes. This, too, is a loss to us all, for Mr. Uhde is a splendid figure of a man whose very presence commands attention and respect. His Telramund would lose not a jot of its vigor if it were a mite more restrained in its gesture and prancing.

The other members of the cast - none of them new to the roles - varied in their efficiency, but managed, as a whole, to reflect most of the common Wagnerian virtues. At the start Miss Steber's voice was frequently spread, the tones emerging unclear rather like a signature on blotting paper, but by the second act her soprano took on the assurance and focus it is known to possess. Myself, I do not regard her impersonation of Elsa as being full-blown or deeply dimensional, but she does act the part with poise and considerable integrity. As. Lohengrin, Mr. Sullivan has grown so enormously in his artistry that he is scarcely recognizable, and his tenor also continues to expand in size and increase in resonance. His entire potential is not yet realized, but enough of it shone through last night to make his points.

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