[Met Performance] CID:124200
Lohengrin {424} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/7/1938.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 7, 1938


Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Irene Jessner
Ortrud..................Kerstin Thorborg
Telramund...............Hans Hermann Nissen
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List
Herald..................Arnold Gabor

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

Review of Oscar Thompson in the Evening Sun


Thorborg Heard as Ortrud, Nissen as Telramund

Two unfamiliar characterizations contributed to the interest of last night's performance of "Lohengrin," an interest that never threatened to get out of bounds. Kerstin Thorborg, now in her third season with the company, appeared as Ortrud for the first time. Hans Hermann Nissen, who made his Metropolitan debut a fortnight ago, added to his first Wotan and his first Wolfram his first Telramund. Otherwise there were Lauritz Melchior as the Swan Knight, Irene Jessner as the too inquisitive Elsa, Emanuel List as Henry the Fowler, and Arnold Gabor as Henry's Herald. Erich Leinsdorf conducted.

Mme. Thorborg was dramatically and pictorially assertive and sang the frenetic evocation of the pagan gods in the second act with appropriate malignity. Thanks partly to her, but even more to some very good singing by Mr. Nissen, the scene of the plotting of vengeance at the [beginning] of this act took on a fresh vitality of utterance. Mr. Nissen gave a good account also of Telramund's charge against Elsa in the first act. Thereafter the fight with Lohengrin was more than ordinarily convincing. But the baritone's voice lacked the weight, particularly at the top, to make Telramund a commanding figure. His acting was of the rule and line variety.

There was no shattering of routine elsewhere in the performance. In the course of the evening Mr. Melchior exhibited considerable versatility in the matter of tone production, ranging from the bright and hard driven to the relaxed and almost inaudibly soft. But he sang a respectable number of splendid phrases. The "Abschied" was particularly right and the swan farewells were managed with skill. The honeyed accents of the wedding scene did not go quite so well. Miss Jessner clung faithfully to the middle ways of competence. The same must be said for Mr. List, though he gave signs of being a little uncomfortable in the tessitura of the King's music.

Save in one detail, the conducting of Mr. Leinsdorf was steadily productive of praiseworthy results. That one detail was an excess of orchestral volume. So far the season has had rather more than its share of loudness from the pit.

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