[Met Performance] CID:114550
Die Walküre {268} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/3/1934., Broadcast

(Broadcast
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 3, 1934 Matinee Broadcast


DIE WALKÜRE {268}

Brünnhilde..............Frida Leider
Siegmund................Paul Althouse
Sieglinde...............Gertrude Kappel
Wotan...................Ludwig Hofmann
Fricka..................Karin Branzell
Hunding.................Emanuel List
Gerhilde................Phradie Wells
Grimgerde...............Philine Falco
Helmwige................Dorothee Manski
Ortlinde................Margaret Halstead
Rossweisse..............Ina Bourskaya
Schwertleite............Irra Petina
Siegrune................Elda Vettori
Waltraute...............Doris Doe

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

Review of A. Walter Kramer in the February 10, 1934 issue of Musical America

Paul Althouse Effects Return in Walküre

The Saturday matinee of Feb. 3 was unusually worthy performance of "Die Walküre," one informed with a spirit not too often observed in Wagner hearing these days. Whether it was due to the brilliant return to the company effected by Paul Althouse as Siegmund, or Mr. Bodanzky's excellent treatment of the score, or both, does not matter. Fact is, was a noteworthy afternoon.

Mr. Althouse, who had made his debut at the Metropolitan in January, 1913, as Dmitri in the American premiere of Moussorgsky's "Boris Godounoff," conducted by Arturo Toscanini, has, in the intervening twenty-one years, matured as an artist. A tenor of excellent quality in his earlier Metropolitan days, he has developed also in vocal substance, so that today he can essay the Wagner roles, whereas in the second decade of this century his roles were the ones mentioned: the Singer in Rosenkavalier; the son in L'Oracolo and others of that type.

That Mr. Althouse was needed at New York's proud opera house has been known for more than a few years. There been considerable indignation among Wagnerites, whose ears have been so cruelly assailed for years by the onslaughts of Herren Taucher, Kirchhoff and Laubenthal. Mr. Althouse, though ready to the sing roles, was not engaged. Max Lorenz came the season before last to remedy the situation, but only his [debut in] "Meistersinger" was promising. Before the season closed he disappointed us, with the result that he was not re-engaged. This season he was, to everyone's surprise re-engaged, but he has not yet convinced us that he is better than other German tenors.

In short, an American tenor sang a Siegmund on Feb. 3 that surpassed the best sung in recent years. In style, in quality, in acting, Mr. Althouse had a conspicuous success, and one well deserved. No record would be complete that did not specify that he sang with real restraint, that he did not yell, as do the German tenors, that he phrased the "Liebeslied" as a song, observing properly its dynamics which are generally disregarded. These contributed to a performance that will be remembered long by those who heard it. Before the curtain the house gave him solo honors.

Mme. Leider's Brünnhilde was uneven, but striking, and Mme. Kappel's Sieglinde poetically conceived. Mme. Branzell was not in her best voice and thus her notable Fricka lacked its usual quality. As Hunding, Mr. List was excellent. As much can not be said of Mr. Hofmann's Wotan. Imposing in appearance, it lacks consistent development. He sings his upper tones with wide open quality that is grossly unpleasant to American ears. It is high time that someone advised Mr. Hofmann, too, that posing by swinging his cloak every few minutes is not considered acting - in this country, at any rate.

The Valkyries were well sung by Mmes. Manski, Wells, Halstead, Bourskaya, Falco, Doe, Vettori and Petina. Mr. Bodanzky was in a great hurry at places in the last act, notably preceding Brünnhilde's "War es so schmälich?" There surely is, at the least, a Luftpause between the bass clarinet of the measure preceding and the first note of the offending Valkyrie's supplication. Mr. Bodanzky had Mme. Leider sing her middle C immediately after the bass clarinet ended. He ought to know better.



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