[Met Performance] CID:101140
Lohengrin {363} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/22/1929.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 22, 1929


LOHENGRIN {363}

Lohengrin...............Walter Kirchhoff
Elsa....................Florence Easton
Ortrud..................Karin Branzell
Telramund...............Friedrich Schorr
King Heinrich...........Michael Bohnen
Herald..................Lawrence Tibbett

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

METROPOLITAN OPERA

'Lohengrin' at Academy with Two Important Changes in Cast

There were two important changes in the cast of "Lohengrin" as presented by the Metropolitan Opera Company at the Academy of Music last evening. illness causing the substitution of Walther Kirchhoff and Florence Easton in the roles of Lohengrin and Elsa, for Rudolf Laubenthal and Gertrude Kappel who had been announced and whose names were on the program. It was an adequate, rather than a distinguished, performance of Wagner's opera that was given, although there were fine moments during the evening and several of the leading artists were heard to excellent advantage. The start-off was rather unpromising with some ragged work on the part of the chorus and some off-pitch singing by one or two of the principals before the first act ended. Michael Bohnen began well as King Henry, however, and sustained a high vocal standard throughout, as did Friedrich Schorr, with his magnificent baritone as Telramund, while Miss Easton's entrance was graceful and her singing of "Elsa's Dream" appealing, though she did better later on. Mr. Kirchhoff has neither face nor figure exactly to create the illusion of a heaven-sent knight, but there have been less dramatic and less expressive Lohengrins and some who have not put nearly so much of lyric smoothness and sympathetic expression into the music. He sang Lohengrin's farewell to the swan with fluent use of the mezzo voce and, while his high tones at times verge on the falsetto, there is a grateful absence of the harsh metallic tone that mars the singing of the average German tenor.

Miss Easton was a majestic and beautiful Elsa and her acting of the part showed attention to detail and a sense of emotional values often absent from its portrayal. Her voice, while still having traces of the pinched tone in the upper part, is of clear brilliant quality and she uses it with skill and intelligence. There was some fine vocalism, true to pitch in difficult measures, in Elsa's song "To the Evening Breezes," from the balcony in the second act. Here, too, Karin Branzell, a handsome and forbidding figure as Ortrud, did some fine dramatic singing in the tremendous scene of the vindictive sorceress, the breadth and power of her voice and her dramatic use of it winning an interrupting spontaneous burst of applause from the audience. The cast also included Lawrence Tibbett, who came to the front two or three times and used his fine baritone with telling effect, as the King's Herald.

The staging of the opera and the general effects of the presentation were about as formerly and there was little to call for any particular enthusiasm, although the chorus came out well in some of the ensembles, and such familiar passages as the "Wedding March" again won favor. The orchestra progressed from fair to good and better, the overture being so upset by the string of latecomers - with a sudden snowstorm as more of an excuse for their tardiness than they often have, perhaps - that it did not have a fair chance to be heard, but after that Artur Bodanzky, the conductor, atoned for some uninspired moments with others that rose to real heights.



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