[Met Performance] CID:100390
Die Walküre {229} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 11/27/1928.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
November 27, 1928


DIE WALKÜRE {229}

Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Florence Easton
Siegmund................Rudolf Laubenthal
Sieglinde...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Wotan...................Clarence Whitehill
Fricka..................Margarete Matzenauer
Hunding.................Richard Mayr
Gerhilde................Charlotte Ryan
Grimgerde...............Marion Telva
Helmwige................Dorothee Manski
Ortlinde................Mildred Parisette
Rossweisse..............Ina Bourskaya
Schwertleite............Dorothea Flexer
Siegrune................Jane Carroll
Waltraute...............Merle Alcock

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

Die Walküre received seven performances this season.

Review signed S. L. L. in the Philadelphia Ledger

METROPOLITAN CO. SINGS 'WALKÜRE'

All-Star Cast Gives Exceptionally Well-Balanced Performance of Wagner Work

A particularly well-balanced and authoritative performance of Die Walküre," second of the "Ring" operas of Richard Wagner, was given last evening at the Academy of Music by the Metropolitan Opera Company.Vocally, perhaps the outstanding member of the cast was Elizabeth Rethberg, whose Sieglinde was so exquisitely sung that a finer rendition of the role is almost impossible to imagine. In the music of the first act and in the scene with Siegmund in the second, Mme. Rethberg reached her highest points, and they have never been surpassed by any singer in this city. Scarcely second to Mme. Rethberg vocally and on a par with her dramatically was Florence Easton in the more elaborate role of Brünnhilde. Her singing was very fine throughout, and even better was her artistic conception and delineation of the role, which demands the portrayal of virtually every emotion. Especially fine was Mme. Easton's scene with Wotan in the last act.

Whitehill Sings Wotan

Clarence Whitehill, as Wotan, brought to the role that authority which always distinguishes his work and gave a splendid delineation of the character, although he wandered slightly from pitch in some of the high notes of the closing act. Rudolph Laubenthal, as the unlucky Siegmund, did some of his best work he has ever done here, and Richard Mayr, who made his second appearance in Philadelphia, was the best Hunding that has been heard here for a long time. He showed a voice of great beauty and power and acted exceedingly well. Margaret Matzenauer took the role of the domineering Fricka with authority and splendid voice.

The outstanding feature of the opera, however, was not the work of the individual members of the cast; fine as that was, but the perfectly balanced performance and the atmosphere created by all the members of the cast and Mr. Bodanzky's handling of the orchestra.

High Standard Kept Throughout

With the exception of a few relatively unimportant moments, this condition obtained throughout the performance from the first note to the last, resulting in one of those completely satisfactory operatic presentations which occasionally happen. Perhaps, the fact that with such a cast, there were no very conspicuously fine moments furnishes the best testimony to the exceptionally high standard of the entire performance.

A feature of the opera, however, was the very excellent singing of the Valkyries at the beginning of the last act. Coming immediately after the music of the famous 'Ride of the Valkyries," the semichorus - its eight, and afterward, nine voices can be so termed - has a difficult place, singing against an almost thunderous orchestration and with the exaltation of the "Ride" music still upon the audience. This was beautifully done last evening by Mmes. Manski, Ryan, Parisette, Bourskaya, Telva, Alcock, Carroll and Flexer, all of whom have voices which warrant their appearing in stellar roles, as they generally do.

Mr. Bodanzky gave a splendid reading of the score with its more than elaborate orchestration. His tempi were generally convincing and his control of the musical situations, both as regards the cast and the huge orchestra, was admirable. There were a few times when he forgot, as Metropolitan Opera Company conductors are apt to do, the exceptional acoustics of the Academy of Music, and in those places there was occasionally a tendency to allow the orchestra to become a little prominent. This was not a serious fault, however, as "Die Walküre," like most the Wagner operas, has as much or more of the salient music in the orchestra as in the voices.



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