The Mapleson Cylinders - Program Notes
Wagner: DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN
Although Die Walkure had been performed
in New York prior to the opening of the Metropolitan Opera House in 1883, it
fell to the resident German company to extend America's acquaintance with the
remaining three operas of the Ring cycle.
Siegfried and Götterdämmerung were introduced in the 1887-88 season,
and Das Rheingold in 1888-89, which also saw the
first complete cycles--two that year and one the next. Not until
1898-99 did New York again hear the full Ring,
when Franz Schalk conducted what were billed as the first uncut cycles in
America--three of them; the following year's two--also
uncut--were in the hands of Emil Paur.
As is occasionally confirmed by the cylinders, in Mapleson's
recording years the Ring was not uncut. During the
second of the two cycles Walter Damrosch led in 1900-01 (a matinee cycle
with Jean De Reszke as Siegfried), Mapleson recorded parts of Siegfried (passages from both Götterdämmerungs that season were evidently among the cylinders
now lost). Damrosch also led the single cycle in 1901-02, from which the
cylinder of the last pages of Die Walküre with
Anton Van Rooy may stem. The following season, Alfred Hertz took over the
Ring, and two cycles were presented; the Mapleson
collection includes excerpts from all the operas except Das
Rheingold in the first cycle (January 16, 19, 23), and from
Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung in the second (February 21, 28).