[Met Performance] CID:120570
Die Walküre {287} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/3/1937.

(Debut: Gertrud Rünger
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 3, 1937


DIE WALKÜRE {287}

Brünnhilde..............Gertrud Rünger [Debut]
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 W. J. Henderson in the Sun

A New Brünnhilde Is Heard

Gertrude Ruenger Makes First Appearance Here in Role in 'Die Walkuere'


Wagner again held the stage at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening, but not with his usual grip. The music drama of the night was "Die Walkuere," which has for many years enjoyed a popularity explained in numerous ways, but not always satisfactorily. However, that has no very direct bearing on the fact that a large audience listened respectfully but not with unconcealed emotion last night to a pedestrian performance which moved resolutely through its three acts without striking fire till Wotan summoned Loge in the final scene.

Several causes co-operated in shaping the general character of the presentation. There was a new Brünnhilde, but she, of course, had no effect on the first act, which went heavily. Possibly the state of Elisabeth Rethberg's voice, which seemed tired and without the brilliant tone associated with the creation of its fame, was driven with evident effort through the scene of Sieglinde with Siegmund. She was no better in the brief episode of the second act.

Her influence doubtless fell upon Mr. Melchior, whose Siegmund was decidedly matter of fact all through the revelation of his relationship with Sieglinde and the proclamation of their sudden passion. In the second act the new Brünnhilde introduced herself to the audience. She was Gertrud Ruenger, who was making her first appearance here. The Brünnhilde was a routine impersonation of no great distinction. Mme. Ruenger's voice was dull in quality, entirely wanting in the brightness of tone needed for the music of the laughing Valkyr.

Nor was there any more favorable opportunity for the organ in the "todesverkuendigung" scene, where the tones, instead of being dark and touched with something of mystery, were merely dull and lacking in vibrancy. Mme. Ruenger's Brünnhilde showed knowledge of the traditions of the role, but they are no secret in these days. To portray the young Valkyr now, a singer must have personality, ability to project dramatic meaning across the footlights, and authority in the delivery of every measure. There was no marked degree of any of these in the art of the new Brünnhilde, who was received generously by the audience, but whose performance surely did not evoke any enthusiasm.

For the rest there was again Mme. Thorborg as the dominant Fricka, which she sings commendably, but without imparting to her impersonation any suggestion of a commanding divinity, and there was again Mr. Schorr, whose Wotan was one of the sustaining powers of the representation. Mr. List once more assumed the gloomy front and sepulchral tones of Hunding. There was the familiar family chorus of Wotan's daughters and Mr. Bodanzky was in the conductor's chair. The program contained the usual warning that no encores would be allowed and no one seemed inclined to try to break the rule.



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