[Met Performance] CID:101770
Siegfried {145}
Ring Cycle [50]
Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/7/1929.


Metropolitan Opera House
March 7, 1929 Matinee

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [50]

Siegfried...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Brünnhilde..............Gertrude Kappel
Wanderer................Friedrich Schorr
Erda....................Karin Branzell
Mime....................Max Bloch
Alberich................Gustav Schützendorf
Fafner..................William Gustafson
Forest Bird.............Thalia Sabanieeva

Conductor...............Tullio Serafin

Review of Herbert F. Peyser in the New York Telegram


'Siegfried' Survives a Sleepy Metropolitan Matinee Performance

What with Mme. Branzell a song substitute for the grandest which is Schumann-Heink, the misfit bride Kappel and Mr. Laubenthal behaving as if they thought Siegfried the son of Hanswurst, yesterday afternoon's advance through the tetralogical destinies of the gods and men was fraught with a great weariness. To be sure Mr. Schorr's Wanderer was in far better vocal trim than the previous time, and that is no minor matter. But what the performance boasted of authentic Wagnerian splendor was first and last the contribution of Tullio Serafin.

The magnificence of the Italian conductor's "Siegfried" has been voluminously celebrated but somehow one never gets to the end of it. No Metropolitan leader since Anton Seidl has given us a reading so treasurably Germanic, so pervaded with that strength which Wagner used to complain that people did not appreciate in his music. None has known better than he how to clarify the orchestral texture without sacrificing a jot of its richness, how to characterize themes and motifs with an unerring sense of their remotest import, how to correlate the infinitesimal detail and the far-flung heroic design.

And with what anxious affection he will shape and mould what the average conductor would slight as a trifle of no consequence! In the whole of Mr. Serafin's "Siegfried" there is nothing lovelier or more truly memorable than his cherishing treatment, in the last scene, of that little six-bar transition leading to the E major melody which the motif books call "love's peace." And one never can listen to his ethereal announcement of the latter without a mighty longing to hear him conduct the "Siegfried Idyll."

It is doing Mme. Kappel no kindness to make her attempt the awakened Brünnhilde, for which she lacks the proper type and calibre of voice, the plastique, the grasp, the emotional virtuosity. Her singing yesterday was an orgy of scooping, screeching and drab, hollow tone. Mme. Branzell's Erda unquestionably sounded like one aroused from a sorely troubled slumber. Siegfried's feathered counselor, to judge by the assortment of noises which Mme. Sabanieva produced from somewhere among the tree tops, must have been a species of prehistoric pea-hen. Mr. Laubenthal's voice was recalcitrant from the start. The Mime of Mr. Bloch, the Alberich of Mr. Schützendorf and the Fafner of Mr. Gustafson are all highly familiar. Would that the last named were less so!

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