[Met Performance] CID:122220
Die Walküre {292} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 12/18/1937., Broadcast

(Broadcast
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 18, 1937 Matinee Broadcast


DIE WALKÜRE {292}
Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Marjorie Lawrence
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Kirsten Flagstad
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Hunding.................Ludwig Hofmann
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Irra Petina
Helmwige................Dorothee Manski
Ortlinde................Irene Jessner
Rossweisse..............Lucielle Browning
Schwertleite............Anna Kaskas
Siegrune................Helen Olheim
Waltraute...............Doris Doe

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

Director................Leopold Sachse
Set designer............Jonel Jorgulesco

Die Walküre received eight performances this season.

Review of Lawrence Gilman in the Herald Tribune

Flagstad Appears at the Opera Matinee in the Role of Her Debut Here

It was almost three years ago that a virtually unknown singer from Norway wrote the heading of a new chapter in America's operatic history when she made her debut here one Saturday afternoon as Sieglinde in "Die Walküre." The same singer appeared in the same role at yesterday's matinee performance at the Metropolitan: and again she seemed to be establishing new standards for beauty and eloquence, and [revealing] new vistas in the achievement of that imaginative fidelity which is the hallmark of the great interpreter.

For it is one of the characteristics of Mme. Flagstad's art that it is continually self-renewing and self-extending. Hearing her Sieglinde, her Brünnhilde, one is often tempted to say that her embodiment fulfills the rôle, discharges its complete significance. But one learns that this is not the case. As she holds before her the chalice of an exhaustless art, it seems to turn within her hands, reflecting in unexpected ways the light that falls upon it from some hidden source.

Her Sieglinde was a revelation when she first disclosed it here on that February afternoon in 1935. It was a revelation yesterday. Not only does it sound the gamut of Wagner's conception as we have long known it - from the awakening tenderness of the early scenes to the rapturous abandonment and tragic pathos that succeed them, and the final ecstasy of heroic consecration with which she receives from Brünnhilde the fragments of Siegmund's shattered sword - but it makes us realize that there is no such thing as knowing a great creation in its entirety, that its contents are endlessly extensible. They are extensible only by interpreters of a sort who happen with disheartening rarity; but when they do, they make over our conceptions of the bounds of insight and inspiration and the limitless humility of genius.

Such deeds of heightening and intensification are not to be enumerated. Nothing was added yesterday to Wagner's music or his drama, but much that had been obscured or hidden was released. And throughout the scenes in which Sieglinde figures, the influence of the artist's penetrating intuition and the overmastering expressiveness of the means by which she made it tell - the marvelous voice and singing, the poignant reticence of the acting - evoked a Sieglinde whom we had not known, yet one whom we recognized at once as Wagner's in its essence.

Since Mr. Melchior was the Siegmund, singing with magnificent plenitude and passion, yet artfully preparing the way by which Wagner reaches his tremendous moments, the result was a performance of the first Act such as we had not heard at the Metropolitan in more years than any one is capable of numbering.

The effect would have been far less overwhelming if Mr. Bodanzky had not had at his disposal what is virtually the Metropolitan's new orchestra - a collective instrument so enriched and subtilized, so astonishingly enhanced in beauty and power and security, that we are hearing this season performances of Wagner for which even veteran opera-goers can recall no parallel. As for Mr. Bodanzky himself, he was completely and superbly in the vein. The familiar Brünnhilde of Miss Lawrence, the Wotan of Mr. Schorr, Mr. Hofmann's Hunding, Mme. Thorborg's Fricka - these were cooperative elements in a performance which at its finest was one not soon to be forgotten.



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