[Met Performance] CID:30030
Lohengrin {198} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/28/1902.

(Debut: Georg Anthes, Alfred Hertz, Johannes Elmblad
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 28, 1902


LOHENGRIN {198}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Georg Anthes [Debut]
Elsa....................Johanna Gadski
Ortrud..................Ernestine Schumann-Heink
Telramund...............David Bispham
King Heinrich...........Edouard de Reszke
Herald..................Adolph Mühlmann

Conductor...............Alfred Hertz [Debut]

Director................Johannes Elmblad [Debut]

Lohengrin received nine performances this season.


Review of Richard Aldrich in The New York Times

The performance of "Lohengrin" last evening at the opera-the third subscription night-was of importance as disclosing to this public the powers of two of the new members of Mr. Grau's company, upon whom much will depend in the coming season. Mr. Alfred Hertz, the new conductor who comes from Breslau to take charge of the German performances, and Mr. Georg Anthes, the tenor, who is expected to fill the leading roles in the same performances and who comes from the royal opera of Dresden, made their first appearances. The rest of the cast was composed of singers who have often in previous seasons taken the parts that were allotted to them in last evening's performance.

The assignment as printed upon the house bill, as doubtless most of the audience very soon discovered, was wrong in two particulars. Mr. Bispham, who was not named in the type, was the Telramund, and Mr. Mühlmann, who was set down for that character, was the herald, while Mr. Dufriche, mentioned in the latter place, took no part in the doings of the evening.

Mr. Hertz is a conductor whom the lovers of the German repertory need not be afraid to see occupying the conductor's stand at the Metropolitan. He is not a commanding genius, but he is a leader of strong and masterful personality, with a firm grasp of everything that is going on in the orchestra and upon the stage. He made it plain that he is possessed of abundance of skill and routine. He knows what he wants and how to get it. His beat is firm, clear cut and decisive, and his influence never found wanting. Mr. Hertz is thoroughly familiar with the score of Lohengrin at least.

It is in his ideas of tempo that he will meet with disapprobation. He showed the tendency to linger and dwell upon the sustained passages that is a characteristic of so many of the younger conductors in Germany at this time, and in the prelude and throughout much of the first act the tempo was taken considerably slower than we are used to. Mr. Hertz had evidently a well-defined and definite scheme of the whole in his mind, however, and his deliberation was consistent with it. Yet he is not without a feeling for elasticity and dramatic modifications of tempo, and there were not a few passages in which there was the vigorous pulse of dramatic life and climaxes that were well wrought.

So far as could be judged from what he did last evening he has the skill, and, to a certain degree, the temperament for the task that lies before him. In works less thoroughly ingrained than "Lohengrin" as a matter of tradition in the well-schooled conductor of the German repertory, he will have an opportunity to show more clearly what his powers are. With many excellences, the performance last evening was scarcely a brilliant one. Mr. Anthes is a tenor of the German type, of which we have had many representatives here. His voice last evening gave the impression of a somewhat hard, metallic quality without great sensuous beauty. It is an organ of power and considerable sonority; but he did not disclose much subtlety in its use or much power of modulating and coloring it to express shades of dramatic meaning. His phrasing seemed last evening to lack smoothness and finish, and, as in the case of so many of his compatriot singers, it has little breadth and sustained power. Everything is short-breathed and disjointed. As an actor Mr. Anthes showed a rather matter-of-fact conception of the Grail Knight's character and office. He represented him as commissioned with a duty that he was to perform in as capable and expeditious a manner as possible.

Of the celestial spirit, the tranquil poise and the human tenderness of Lohengrin Mr. Anthes appeared to have little comprehension. He is a "competent" artist; but of such competency as may be feared somewhat, it seemed, for the impulses and enthusiasms of an artist there were not many in evidence last evening.
Mme. Gadski, Mme. Schumann-Heink, Mr. Bispham and Mr. Edouard de Reszke are all familiar representatives of the parts of Elsa, Ortrud, Telramund and the King, and there is little need to comment on them now. There was some singing out of tune in the first act in which Mr. de Reszke and Mme. Gadski had a certain share that made their admirers uneasy-fortunately the new tenor had none of it-and the chorus participated in it largely with unaffected indifference.



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