[Met Performance] CID:101450
Lohengrin {364} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/13/1929.


Metropolitan Opera House
February 13, 1929 Matinee


Lohengrin...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Elsa....................Maria Jeritza
Ortrud..................Karin Branzell
Telramund...............Friedrich Schorr
King Heinrich...........Michael Bohnen
Herald..................Arnold Gabor

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

Review of Oscar Thompson in the New York Post

'Lohengrin' Begins Metropolitan Wagner Cycle in Afternoon

On paper, it was a cast of a certain distinction that began the Metropolitan's annual series of Wagner matinees at the opera house yesterday. On the feminine side, Maria Jeritza appeared as Elsa and Karin Branzell, as Ortrud, with the male parts distributed among Michael Bohnen, Rudolf Laubenthal, Friedrich Schorr and Arnold Gabor. Yet such commendation as is to be bestowed must go, chiefly, not to the singers, but to Artur Bodanzky and his orchestra, of late the targets of much criticism in Wagner performances. The Vorspiel set the stride for playing that maintained a level distinctly higher than the vocalists could reach - which is not merely another way of saying that there was much sagging from the vocal pitch on the part of the stage principals

Mme. Jeritza, making her last appearance of the season, sounded like a tired, tired singer. Nor could the voluminous draperies with which she surrounded herself, or new business in the final scene - this new business consisting chiefly of another toppling fall, after which it was presently necessary to arise - give to the part the characterization that presumably these details were intended to help achieve. Mme. Branzell's part underwent some transposition and, although she gave it plenty of voice, this was not a very sinister or compelling Ortrud. Mr. Bohnen had a moment of forgetfulness with regard to his music and sang most of it with more vigor than of quality. Mr. Laubenthal was a personable Lohengrin and had periods of vital and even heroic singing; others when he committed every vocal sin known to the tenors of Central Europe. The Herald of Arnold Gabor, whose light and none too steady voice was never intended for long-distance proclamations.

There remains the Telramund of Friedrich Schorr. The role is not one of the fortunate ones for this singer of the Wotans and Hans Sachs. He struggled to achieve anything resembling a character. Yet, with so fine a voice and routine so thoroughgoing, it was to be expected that he would give an acceptable performance, and he did.

There were details of the stage action that suggested a paucity of rehearsals. The magic of Lohengrin's sword not only killed Telramund without a blow but caused that vengeful warrior to stand inactive with sword drawn and Lohengrin at his mercy, while Elsa belatedly obtained for the Knight of the Grail the weapon with which to prevent the assassination. The chorus sang badly, particularly after the thanks to the Swan, when it seemed entirely at sea.

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