[Met Performance] CID:120330
Die Walküre {285} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/16/1937., Broadcast


Metropolitan Opera House
January 16, 1937 Matinee Broadcast


Brünnhilde..............Marjorie Lawrence
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Lotte Lehmann
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 Olin Downes in The New York Times


She Scores in First Act of 'Die Walküre' as Presented at the Metropolitan


Melchior Appears at His Best in Role of Siegmund and List Is the Hunding

A new element in the cast of "Die Walküere" - new, at least, for this season yesterday afternoon in the Metropolitan Opera House, gave the occasion the glamour and the thrill which can confer upon opera its maximum intensity. This was, in addition to Mr. Melchior's superb Siegmund, the Sieglinde of Lotte Lehmann.

These two artists, with the competent Hunding of Mr. List, held the audience fascinated and swept them off their feet with the final passages of the first act. As for this writer, who has been privileged to hear some great Sieglindes at the Metropolitan, and that within no distant date, he would sacrifice them all, great and small, high and low, for the glory, the sweep and the transfiguring emotion of Mme. Lehmann's interpretation.

Seldom has he realized how this one figure in the whole "Ring" can move us as much as any single element of the tale; and of what transcendent importance to a full revelation of the "Ring"'s meaning is this brief and most piteous appearance, so womanly, so noble in passion and surrender, of the tragically fated daughter of the Volsungs.

Makes Interpretation Clear

The rest of them are gods. But she and Siegmund, despite the partial heritage of Valhalla, are helpless humans, and they move us the more for the fact. Here is one, abandoned by Valhalla, who may not comprehend by what cruel caprice she should so suffer, but whose act of utter abandon and regardlessness of any fate is the deed which in the end of all things leads to the destruction of ancient evil and the birth of a cleansed world.

One does not have to go into complicated Wagnerian allegory to discover these or attendant philosophical motives attached to this figure of the Wagnerian drama. One had only to watch and listen to Mme. Lehmann in one of the warmest, most womanly and beautiful enactments of the Sieglinde part we have seen. That told all that was necessary of the meaning of the moment and its place in the unfoldment of that which was to come.

From the moment - Sieglinde appeared in the scene following Hunding's retirement, to the last ecstatic burst of the orchestra as the curtain falls upon the delirious pair hurrying forth into the Spring night, there was one sustained sweep of line and surge of feeling.

The voice had in it every color that the scene implies. For once Sieglinde's entrance conveyed the suspense and intensity of the situation. She did not sleep-walk on the stage and politely suggest to Siegmund that if he wanted some social embarrassment tomorrow he might best be moving next morning. She may have added an unnecessary histrionic detail or two to certain passages. But the utterly right feeling, and the imaginative artist's sure grasp of the dramatic as well as musical curve of the situation rang true every instant. It was felt in the sensuous droop of certain falling phrases, in the growing passion and exultancy of the duet, and the ringing tones of triumphant acclaim, and intoxicated homage, to the hero who drew and wielded Wotan's sword.

Melchior at His Best

This first act of the opera was its principal distinction as compared with earlier performances of
the work with the same singers in other parts. Mme. Lehmann is the artist, for the Sieglinde passages of the second act fall shorter than those of the first.

The interpretations of the other members of the cast have been reported before this in THE TIMES. But it should be said that Mr. Melchior has seldom sung more gloriously than he did in this act, and that he, as well as Mr. Bodanzky, appeared to draw fresh power from the collaboration of Mme. Lehmann. In fact, the orchestral performance in this place was the best that the reviewer has heard at the Metropolitan this season. It was brilliant in tone, dramatically incisive, rich in color, potent with drama. In the whole interpretation was a quality which tipped it with creative fire.

Mr. Schorr, whose Wotan is well known, substituted at short notice for Mr. Hofmann, who had contracted a cold, and in so doing saved the performance for the public, and with Mme. Thorborg, added to the high level of the occasion.

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