My day off. Went in the morning to Lindenthal. There a fair-sized lake is frozen over, and skating is in full swing. To me, a novel sight, the gliding inter-volving crowd, dotting intensely the dazzling surface of the ice, all crusted with the powdering from the steel skates. I stayed there for about an hour watching the trickery and turning of the expert, and the graceful appearance which this pastime gives to anyone of reasonable skill and good carriage. Two “flappers” waltzing made a particularly pretty picture, and the bright sweaters of many of the girls gave a welcome touch of colour to the sharp study in black and white.
Die Meistersingers took exactly five and a half hours.
First, I must remark on the astonishing vocal power of the man (one Frederich Schorr) who took the part of Hans Sachs. Throughout this great work his voice, a bass, is in almost constant use, yet at the end one could detect no sign of fatigue. (Footnote: Years later records of his voice became known on gramophones.)
Eva was one of the favourites (Wanda Achsel) – a graceful fair woman, with a pleasing voice, who does not strive for much effect in her acting, but “gets there” all the same.
It did not seem a bit too long – the music beautiful; the setting and acting splendid; it is permeated with a broad strain of cheerfulness, no darkening cloud of tragedy impending, no stupendous terror let loose, but something just as human and as vital, I think – an enlightening insight into folk-life and folk-lore of a nation once great and lovable.
A bit stiff after my long sojourn on the hard seats of the “Gods”, I walked the two miles back in the fresh moonlight, with the slightly exalted sensations of one who has added something to the treasury of the mind.
[Image: Skating at Cologne, 10 February 1919. IWM (Q 3595) Note the exact location of this photograph is unknown, but potentially it could be the lake at Lindenthal which Lincoln refers to]
[Image: Skating at Cologne, 10 February 1919. IWM (Q 3593) Note the scene photographed is not Lindenthal where Lincoln visited, but is in the heart of Cologne, on the Rhine]
[Image: Skating at Cologne, 10 February 1919. IWM (Q 3596)]