[Met Performance] CID:104090
Götterdämmerung {104} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/17/1930.

(Debut: Elisabeth Ohms
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 17, 1930


GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG {104}
Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Elisabeth Ohms [Debut]
Siegfried...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Gunther.................Friedrich Schorr
Gutrune.................Editha Fleischer
Hagen...................Michael Bohnen
Waltraute...............Karin Branzell
Alberich................Gustav Schützendorf
First Norn..............Marion Telva
Second Norn.............Henriette Wakefield
Third Norn..............Dorothee Manski
Woglinde................Editha Fleischer
Wellgunde...............Phradie Wells
Flosshilde..............Marion Telva
Vassal..................Max Bloch
Vassal..................Arnold Gabor

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

Götterdämmerung received three performances this season.


Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times


The new Brünnhilde of the present Metropolitan season, Elisabeth Ohms, made her New York debut lest night. The occasion was also the first performance of Wagner's "Götterdämmerung" this season. The performance as a whole, aside from its special feature of interest, gave token of fresh study and careful preparation, and was one of the best "Götterdämmerung"s of recent seasons.

Mme. Ohms, whose European career has been described in American newspapers, has a large following and a high reputation in Germany. These things are due, no doubt, to the inherent quality of a fine voice, to her sincerity as an artist, and her earnest studies in interpretation. There were impressive moments last night when the nobility of the music and drama were upon her. She has an essential bigness of conception. It is probable also that the precise outlines of her Brünnhilde are not known to us. Mme. Ohms was singing for the first time in an immense theatre, before a new and exacting audience. Nevertheless she must be added to the long list of Wagnerian sopranos who do violence to the voice nature gave them. Mme. Ohms's voice in the lower part of its scale was frequently inaudible, which, of course, interfered with dramatic effect. The upper tones were not always steady and there were other mannerisms which militated against finished and expressive delivery, such as the indecisive attack and the scoop and a general lack of controlled and varied color. It will be interesting to hear this singer again in this and in other Wagnerian rôles. She chose one of the most difficult for her debut. The audience was cordially disposed toward Mme. Ohms and gave her a warm and friendly reception.

As regards other individual parts, this performance does not call for extended comment, since nearly all the artists who participated are familiar to Metropolitan audiences, in their rôles. The most unfamiliar of these was Miss Fleischer's Gutrune, which is a very considerable improvement over the impersonation of a previous incumbent. Gutrune was transformed by Miss Fleischer into a human being, even, for an exception, into a figure of dramatic importance. There was perhaps a tendency to exaggeration and assertiveness, but as a whole there was a great expressive gain. And Miss Fleischer is a well schooled singer.

Miss Branzell's scene of Waltraute began rather indifferently, but the climax of the recital of Wotan's despair and the plea for Brünnhilde's aid was a highlight of the performance. Mr. Laubenthal's Siegfried of "Götterdämmerung" again is much better sung than his 'Tristan." He is a comely and sufficiently romantic figure on the stage, which is not true of all Siegfrieds, even some who have appeared in recent Metropolitan seasons. The foil to the blond Siegfried is the black and ominous Hagen of Mr. Bohnen. He seemed in especially good voice and gave a telling performance, There are times when this exceptionally gifted artist indulges in mannerisms or unnecessary effects. His individuality, in any event, would cause details of his conceptions to differ with the ideas of other people. This is Mr. Bohnen's right, when that right does not degenerate into extravagance. The total effect of his performance was highly impressive, dramatic and sinister.

These various features of the performance harmonized well. Mr. Bodanzky seems now to be putting more earnestness and warmth than has been his wont into his conducting. Dryness of color and hardness of tone were infrequent last night, although there were technical faults in the orchestral playing. The performance had an unusual degree of unity and sweep, and when this spirit is present it gives every individual artist a better opportunity and better setting for his special task.

The score also benefited by the restoration of a number of cuts. The first act is now entire save for two short excisions, one in the Norn scene and one at the beginning of Waltraute's scene. The second act remained last night as it had been, but the third was extended, in the scene of Siegfried with the Rhine Maidens and in the Gutrune scene after the death of Siegfried. The dialogue between Brünnhilde and Gutrune has always been omitted by Mr. Bodanzky, but the whole of "Götterdämmerung," uncut, will soon be heard as part of the special Wagner matinee cycle. Mr. Bodanzky was probably looking toward this complete presentation in the restorations that he made lest night. He should feel encouraged by the results. The opera was not materially lengthened, but it gave an impression of greater completeness, coherency, logic of development, than before.



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