[Met Performance] CID:125220
Ring Cycle  Uncut. Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/22/1939.
Metropolitan Opera House
February 22, 1939 Matinee
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle  Uncut
Forest Bird.............Natalie Bodanya
Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times
"SIEGFRIED" MATINEE AT METROPOLITAN
'All-Star' Cast, With Melchior in Title Role, Flagstad and Schorr, Is Heard
MISS BRANZELL AS ERDA
List Sings Part of Fafner - Opera Is Directed by Artur Bodanzky
The story of Wagner's "Siegfried" as performed at the Metropolitan these days, with an "all-star" cast which usually includes Flagstad and Melchior, Mr. Schorr's Wanderer, and other excellent elements of interpretation, is now a familiar
and glorious one.
That story, where yesterday afternoon's performance is concerned, can properly begin at the end of the occasion. That ending was a testimony more eloquent than the cold record of fact could be, of the service that the Metropolitan does its public when it presents a masterpiece in such a manner. When the curtain fell the people applauding and cheering, would not leave until after a demonstration that must have continued for ten minutes.
Special Matinee Performance
It is to be born in mind that this was one of the special afternoon performances of the opera, the fourth of the matinee Wagner cycle; that it followed earlier "Siegfrieds" of the season; that the audience, which no doubt included a number of those who attend the evening subscription performances, consisted in by far the greater part of those who do not "double," and no doubt in many cases could not "double" on performance of "Siegfried." In other words, another cross-section of the immense public that there is, in New York alone, for Wagner, was present. It was not an audience of hard-boiled box-holders, after-dinner parties, or the like. It was a gathering which had come purely for the music, and it is hardly exaggeration to say that this gathering was transported by what it received.
There was good reason for its gratification. After many appearances of the leading pair of artists in the roles they took yesterday this writer fails to recall an occasion when they sang the final duet of the opera in such fashion, with such wealth of tone and heroic passion. There is no need to speak of the demands of the grand but terribly exacting music. And it was sung, not howled; sung with light and shade, with tenderness as well as fire, and with exceptional histrionic significance on the part of Mme. Flagstad. Less than a performance of this character gives the music a pompous and artificial air. Yesterday it was the lyrical flight of eagles.
Schorr Sings Great Role
Mr. Schorr's Wanderer of "Siegfried" is perhaps the greatest of his Wotan roles in the "Ring," and he was at his best yesterday. Then there was Mr. Laufkötter's admirable Mime; Miss Branzell's nobly conceived Erda; Mr. Vogel's brief and sardonic Alberich, who laughs to the tune of Nibelung motive as the head of little brother Mime falls with the snicker-snack of Siegfried's sword; the properly profound resonance of List's Fafner, and Miss Bodanya's Forest Bird in uncommon health and spirits.
Mr. Bodanzky's conducting of "Siegfried" is not the interpretation of one but of every part of the opera. It is not to be taken for granted, for it represents the very essence of the score. It was a performance which in accent, color and sense of form established the mood and significance of the occasion. The fact was appreciated by the public, which gave the conductor special applause.