[Met Performance] CID:127460
Lohengrin {434} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/3/1940.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 3, 1940


Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Kirsten Flagstad
Ortrud..................Rose Pauly [Last performance]
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List
Herald..................Leonard Warren

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

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

Lohengrin received seven performances this season.

Review of Oscar Thompson in the Sun


Flagstad and Melchior in First "Lohengrin"

Few operas have figured so steadily in the repertory of the successive regimes at the Metropolitan as has "Lohengrin." It was heard in the [very first] season of the house and between that time and America's entry into the world war its lapses from the active list were few. Thereafter it was one of the first of the Wagner works to be brought back from exile and it has missed no season since its return. In a little more than half a century it has had approximately 260 performances on the Metropolitan stage and has been sung there in Italian and English as well as in German.

No particular history was made in the performance which brought "Lohengrin" to the attention of the subscribers last night for the first time this season. But it was one of the more gratifying of the Wagnerian representations in the current span of opera and had a new point of interest in the fresh essayal of Ortrud by Rose Pauly. First cause for comment among intermissions was the slenderized appearance of the soprano from Eperjes. If there was no disguising the "Elektra" voice, this certainly was not the "Elektra" figure.

Neither was it quite the commanding figure that might have been expected of so vital an actress. Perhaps this Ortrud was too much in the company of the giant Telramund of Julius Huehn to make her inches count. Vocally, the juxtaposition of her tones with those of Kirsten Flagstad, the Elsa of the evening, may have tended similarly to make her utterance seem smaller than it was. The characterization was an interesting one, well thought out and ably realized. What it most lacked was body of tone. The biting edginess of the voice contributed to an effect of viperish evil. But it did not provide the enchantress with the tonal weight for her invocation of the pagan deities.

Particularly to be commended was the achievement of the extended scene between Ortrud and Telramund at the beginning of the second act. Here, Miss Pauly's treatment of her part was convincingly vengeful. Mr. Huehn went beyond any of his past accomplishments in his portrayal of the baffled and enraged knight.

Mme. Flagstad has been in better voice, but the slight stiffness of her production cast no real shadow on singing that had many magnificent moments, as in the soaring reply to Ortrud's taunts before the minister and in the vision of approaching disaster in the bridal scene. Lauritz Melchior's singing in the title role was the surest and most vital he has given us this season. The last act narrative was delivered with the ringing tone of the voice at something like its best. King Henry was bodied forth in the familiar manner by Emanuel List. A new Herald made his entry. No doubt he will be a better one when Leonard Warren has become more at home on the banks of the Scheldt.

Erich Leindsorf had his most successful evening of the season. Not only did the orchestra play well, barring a minor bobble or two, but in basic pace and in the ebb and flow of the dynamic changes, the performance was one well planned and successfully executed.

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