1908 Opera New York 07-03-1908

Review in The New York Times:


The Indispensible, Ever-Ready, and Indomitable Tenor to the Rescue Once More


So the Metropolitan’s Future Herr Direktor Read Up in the Cab and Bravely Finished Performance

Dippel the indispensable sang the hero’s rôle in the last act of “Siegfried” last night in one of those double-tenor performances for which the Metropolitan Opera House is famous. The indefatigable replacer, who is to be Herr Direktor next season, had not sung Siegfried before in six years, but in spite of the fact that he was called from a heavy dinner at 10 o’clock, and knew nothing of Mahler’s system of cuts, he went through with the part with an abandon and brilliancy which delighted the audience.

Mr. Burrian started the trouble by going to the Opera House last evening with a case of the grip. He struggled through the first act, but his voice began to break in the sword song, with which Mr. Burgstaller had similar trouble two weeks ago. After the first act the genial Max Hirsch, who, like Brünhilde telling Siegmund of his approaching death, is the sure forerunner of dire tidings, appeared before the curtain. There was an expectant hush and whispers were heard all over the house: “Dippel is going to sing.”

However, Mr. Hirsch only announced: “Mr. Burrian is suffering from a severe hoarseness and the indulgence of the audience is requested.” But behind the scenes a drama was being enacted. Burrian was lying on his back in his dressing room, delivering his ultimatum. “I shall finish this act,” he said, “and then no more. You must get another tenor for the last act. I can’t sing it.”

“But it’s impossible,” urged Mr. Goerlitz. “Mr. Dippel is at dinner; it’s too late to get him. And Burgstaller is hoarse.” “All the same to me,” said Burrian, “I won’t sing. Get Bonci; get Caruso, or give the last act without Siegfried. I can’t sing any more after this next act.”

Then Dippel was telephoned for. As good-naturedly as usual, he took his hat and coat and left for the Opera House. On the way down he stopped at the Majestic for his score of “Siegfried,” and went over the last act in his electric cab.

Burrian finished the second act, and then there was a long wait. The lobby became suspicious, and bets were freely made as to who would finish the music drama. Finally the curtains were pulled aside, as they are for curtain calls, only much higher. The footlights became brilliant. Mr. Hirsch again appeared. He smiled; so did the audience. “Mr. Burrian has become too hoarse to finish the opera,” he commenced. “Mr. Dippel ……” “Wh-ee!” The audience shrieked with delight. The faithful understudy was back. The man of many parts was again on deck. Mr. Hirsch waited until the tumult had subsided and then announced that there would be a wait of ten minutes.

About 11 o’clock the curtain rose on the last act and the music drama proceeded to its close. It should be said that in appearance and action Mr. Dippel is the best of the Metropolitan Siegfrieds. His memory and adaptability must be nothing short of marvelous, considering that he has not sung the part for so long and knew nothing of Mr. Mahler’s cuts.

Mme. Fremstad was in particularly good voice and glorified the finale, Mme. Kirkby-Lunn and Miss Alien, and Messrs. Reiss, Goritz, and Van Rooy were in the cast. As has been implied, Mr. Mahler conducted.

Error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: