[Met Performance] CID:120100
Die Walküre {283} Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 12/29/1936.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
December 29, 1936


DIE WALKÜRE {283}

Brünnhilde..............Kirsten Flagstad
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Hunding.................Emanuel List
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Irra Petina
Helmwige................Dorothee Manski
Ortlinde................Irene Jessner
Rossweisse..............Ina Bourskaya
Schwertleite............Anna Kaskas
Siegrune................Helen Olheim
Waltraute...............Doris Doe

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

Review of Paul J. Brown in the Brooklyn Citizen

Opera Season in Brooklyn Has a Brilliant [Start]

Famous Wagner Opera, 'Die Walküre' Presented by Metropolitan Opera Company at the Academy of Music - Flagstad and Melchior Head Cast - Johnson Speaks - 'Samson et Dalila' Next

Musically the [start] of the Metropolitan Opera Company's twenty-ninth Brooklyn season at the Academy of Music last night was an auspicious success. The artistic triumph and the enthusiastic turnout for the presentation of "Die Walküre" both seemed infallible signs that opera on the grand scale is to continue as an institution in Brooklyn.

There was some question before the Metropolitan opened its home season eight days earlier whether "Die Walküre" was a wise choice. It has not been considered in line with tradition to select for an op**ing Wagnerian opera with its music which demands concentration that might otherwise dull a gala night. The choice proved to be an excellent one.

When the same opera was chosen to [start] the Brooklyn season, there was the same question, but experience has again showed that Edward Johnson, the Metropolitan manager, was right. His argument was undoubtedly based on the fact that the German-Scandinavian side of the company is the stronger one. He determined to offer the best that he had. It was no task in that case to pick Wagner and secondly "Die Walküre." After the last two performance of "Walküre" by the Metropolitan there will be few - there never have been many - to deny that music-drama the highest honors of the four of the Neibelungen cycle.

To return to last night's performance, there is little to be said that does not justify superlatives. To be critical would seem to be quibbling in varlet fashion. The singing was in all instances good if not excellent. The direction was always forward-moving and confident. The settings were as colorful and realistic reproductions of the mythical Niebelungen scenes as could be effected. The musical accompaniment and the conductor, Artur Bodanzky, who are of course immeasurably more important in a Wagnerian opera than in almost all others, were at least fully up to the standard of the evening. It seems difficult at that point not to credit Mr. Johnson with a large part of that success. The presentation at least was far superior to what the Metropolitan used to offer to its Brooklyn audiences.

Kirsten Flagstad as the queen of the Walkuerie was splendid. She has grown both in voice and in presence. In tempo and in volume she was as correct as in her infallible artistry. Particularly in the tragic third scene did she rise to great operatic heights.

Although in a lesser role, Kerstin Thorborg, a newcomer from Sweden, proved that she is a contralto and an operatic singer of importance. Her voice is powerful, yet restrained. Her carriage and her demeanor fitted her superbly for the dignified role of the goddess Fricka. In her debut in this country last week and her first appearance in Brooklyn last night, she proved that there have been no superior Frickas in a long time and won herself untold prestige.

The other principals, Lauritz Melchior as Siegmund, Emanuel List as Hunding, Friedrich Schorr as Wotan, and Elisabeth Rethberg as Sieglinde, were all at their best, which is quite as much as anyone could demand.

After the performance it was announced that the next Brooklyn presentation of the Metropolitan's current season will be Camille Saint-Saens' opera, "Damson et Dalila," on Tuesday night, January 12.

In the speech of welcome after the first act, Adrian Van Sinderen, chairman of the Brooklyn Citizen's opera committee, spoke of the recent difficulties encountered in presenting opera. He then declared, "We have weathered the storm." Mr. Johnson, who also spoke briefly, said that next season the Metropolitan hopes to enter its 55th Manhattan season, its 30th Brooklyn season and its third Johnson season. If the succeeding operas this season even approach "Die Walküre" in quality, that goal is assured. One feels he might have made the goal twenty years further away with complete assurance of fulfillment.



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