[Met Performance] CID:121490
Lohengrin {415} Matinee ed. Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/16/1937.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
April 16, 1937 Matinee


LOHENGRIN {415}

Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Kirsten Flagstad
Ortrud..................Karin Branzell
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List
Herald..................George Cehanovsky

Conductor...............Maurice Abravanel

Review of Denoe Leedy in the Cleveland Press

German Opera Strongest of Met's Forces

Flagstad Again the Star

Two performances were given by the Metropolitan Opera yesterday in Public Auditorium, Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin" in the afternoon and Ambroise Thomas' "Mignon" at night. With today's performances of 'Carmen" and "Il Trovatore," Cleveland's highly successful week of opera will come to an end.

"Lohengrin" one of the earliest manifestations of the Bayreuth master's genius, was distinguished by that remarkable cast of singers which earlier in the week achieved such thrilling results with "Tristan und Isolde." Kirsten Flagstad, Lauritz Melchior, Karin Branzell, Emanuel List and Julius Huehn - here are singers eminently fitted for Wagner's puissant measures.

Mme. Flagstad's "Elsa of Brabant" may not leap into musical and dramatic flames as did her "Isolde," but that is hardly her fault. The role demands on the whole a relatively quiet delineation, and whatever the vicissitudes of fortune which befall the beautiful maid of Brabant, they are in no way comparable to the overwhelming spiritual tragedy of the Irish princes.

Heavenly Flagstad

In certain respects "Elsa" may be a more difficult role than "Isolde." At the time "Lohengrin" was written, Wagner had not yet mastered the orchestra as he was to later. There are no oceanic surgings of instrumental sound flowing beneath the vocal line.

The soprano must sing with the utmost purity and must carve her phrases against what is relatively a slight background. Needless to say, Mme. Flagstad was equal to all demands placed upon her. Again one was constantly thrilled by the ever-expanding opulence of tone, the sensitive and intelligent musicianship and the ability to capture all the dramatic elements which go into the making of the role.

Melchior, the "Lohengrin," was in better voice than on Tuesday evening. He made an impressive knight in shining silver armor, and throughout the afternoon showed conclusively those qualities which have helped to establish him as the Metropolitan's chief Wagner tenor.

Karin Branzell, endowed with a contralto voice, which easily dominates every scene, made "Ortrud" a sinister figure, but likewise raised the role to noble lines. She was seconded by Julius Huehn in the complementary role of "Telramund." His scenes in the second act were charged with power.

Emanuel List, always reliable, was "King Henry," and the part of the King's Herald was in the capable hands of George Cehanovsky. The conductor, Maurice De Abravanel, kept his combined instrumental and choral forces under an iron grip and in the large spectacular moments whipped the performance up to a state of brilliance.



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