[Met Performance] CID:123530
Die Walküre {299} Matinee ed. Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/30/1938.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
March 30, 1938 Matinee


DIE WALKÜRE {299}

Brünnhilde..............Kirsten Flagstad
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Karin Branzell
Hunding.................Emanuel List
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

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

METROPOLITAN OPERA

Wagner's "Die Walküre" Sung in the Afternoon

The Metropolitan turned its attention yesterday afternoon to the family troubles of the gods and the Volsungs. Once again Wagner's imperishable masterpiece "Die Walküre" exercised its familiar spell over an audience that filled the Boston Opera House. And for yet another time, some of those who heard the incredible beauties of the score, and beheld the images of legendary figures, were in sense transported back to the first, fresh morning of the world.

Evidently there were many in the audience who felt just that way and were quick on the emotional trigger to tell the world about it. For applause broke in upon the closing measures of the first act and drowned the sonorities of the tumultuous orchestra. So far as this observer could make out, Mr. Bodanzky cut short the orchestra before the final chord was reached. Whatever resentment he may have felt was thoroughly justified. It does not speak well either for the thoughtfulness or the esthetic sensibilities of an audience thus to break in upon such music. There is no applause - at "Parsifal" or anything else - but it should wait until the musicians have finished.

Mme. Flagstad and Mr. Melchior were, naturally, objects of chief devotion. As usual when they sing, handclapping was swelled to cheers. Let no more superlatives be spent in futile attempts to describe the beauties of their singing. It is sufficiently to the point to say that one has heard them sing as well many times, but never better.

Mme. Branzell's Fricka is neither entirely shrewish nor an outraged goddess, but a combination of both. The music of the part does not lie so "gratefully" for her as that of Brangäne, but she made a great deal of an unsympathetic part. Mr. Schorr, noble artist that he is, may truthfully be called an ideal Wotan, even if the upper tones of the role put increasingly perceptible strain upon his voice. Mr. List was, as usual, a sonorous Hunding. Mme. Rethberg sang Sieglinde with an assurance and poised beauty of tone not always to be found in her work and there was more than customary freedom in her acting. The eight Valkyries were in almost unanimous agreement about the pitch.

Mr. Bodanzky's tempi are always in the briskness of good judgment, and he does justice to Wagner. No mortal can, however, invariably maintain the high tension that sets apart an extraordinary performance. The orchestra was eloquent in the final scene, but they were not at their best, no doubt accountable to fatigue at the end of a season. Instrumentally, yesterday's "Walküre" was B-plus.

The stage effects were in the main well disposed. The magic fire looked like fire. Yet why could not Wotan have made his appearance, when Siegmund and Hunding fight, in the red glare proper to his rank? Brünnhilde, by the way, is supposed to give Sieglinde the unbroken pieces of Siegmund's sword. Mme. Rethberg received a Nothung that looked good as new.



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