[Met Performance] CID:124070
Lohengrin {423} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/26/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 26, 1938


LOHENGRIN {423}
Wagner-Wagner

Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Lotte Lehmann
Ortrud..................Dorothee Manski
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........John Gurney
Herald..................George Cehanovsky

Conductor...............Erich Leinsdorf

Director................Leopold Sachse
Designer................Joseph Urban

Lohengrin received eleven performances this season.

Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times

Melchior in "Lohengrin"

The Metropolitan closed the first week of its new season with honor. Last night's "Lohengrin" found the whole cast in good voice, the orchestra and conductor on the alert. There was about the entire performance the freshness born, perhaps, of renewed appreciation of a work that will soon reach its hundredth year.

"Lohengrin," with its finest lyricism and sharp characterization, can almost play itself across the footlights with a few reasonably respectable voices and a little thoughtful acting. But there was more than this last night.

From the aspect of vocal interpretation, Lotte Lehmann's Elsa is one of the best things the Metropolitan offers. It is a broadly melodious part peculiarly suited to Miss Lehmann, who is, it is pertinent to add here, a lieder singer of exceptional insight. Mr. Melchior, in splendid voice, was a more than fitting companion to an inspiring Elsa. This is a role whose heroic conception and execution are familiar enough to dispense with without further comment.

Dorothee Manski's Ortrud, satisfactorily sung, was not quite vivid enough a characterization to bring to complete effectiveness the sharp relationships between it and its two principal foils, Elsa and Telramund. An Ortrud of proper malevolence should heighten in contrast, and endow with greater dramatic force the white innocence of Elsa, as well as the vacillation and cowardice of the Telramund. The active influence in this triangle were last night somewhat two-sided, Mr. Huehn's Telramund contributing a persuasive portrait. This is a role that has grown notably since last season. John Gurney's King Henry was good to hear and George Cehanovsky sang the Herald with proper pomp.

Aside from some wry intonation in the woodwind (which was a matter of preliminary tuning, not technique) the orchestra behaved beautifully under Mr. Leinsdorf's vigilant direction. It is a treat to watch this young man send cues all over the pit and stage with a cool and unerring hand, and it is even pleasanter to attend his sane musicianship.



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