[Met Performance] CID:127980
Ring Cycle  Uncut. Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/12/1940.
Metropolitan Opera House
February 12, 1940 Matinee
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle  Uncut
Forest Bird.............Natalie Bodanya
Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times
"SIEGFRIED" HEARD AT METROPOLITAN
Opera, Third Performance in Wagner Matinee Cycle, Is Conducted by Leinsdorf
LAUFKÖTTER SINGS MIME
Treatment of Role Acclaimed -Melchior, Flagstad and Branzell Also in Cast
The good star which seems consistently to have shone upon the matinee "Ring" cycle at the Metropolitan did not hide its rays when the complete "Siegfried" marking the third performance in the cycle, was given there yesterday. And again sterling achievements in interpretation were not confined to those of the leading members of the cast.
Mr. Laufkoetter, for example, nearly stole the show with his Mime of the first and second acts, and this by the most admirable and unhackneyed treatment of the part. He was given special attention before the curtain by a delighted audience, and it was generally held that this, on the whole, was one of the finest Mime's that the Metropolitan stage has ever seen. An especially gratifying feature of it was the discarding of a misleading tradition which makes of the Mime of certain moments, such as the quarrel with Alberich, a cross between a buffoon and a monkey. Yesterday this passage was something more than the brothers Nibelungen in a comedy act.
Schorr in Excellent Voice
The Wanderer of "Siegfried," as that of the preceding Wotan in "Walküre," found Mr. Schorr in excellent voice, and it is as nearly authoritative and comprehensive in its exposition of every phase of the character as the most devoted Wagnerian need desire. Mr. List has the depth of tone needed for the measures of sulky Fafner. Miss Branzell has developed notably in late seasons as the interpreter of Erda's music, and, in "Siegfried," has a grander opportunity than in any other part of the "Ring."
Mr. Melchior was in fine vocal estate. Perhaps his immensities are not for nothing in the early scenes with poor puny cringing Mime. But with all that the opera demands of him he had ample tone and ample reserve power for the final scenes of the opera, which interpreted, were on a scale and in a manner which he had maintained throughout the performance.
It is in this opera that Wagner reserves till the last a nearly superhuman test for the nearly superhuman character of Brünnhilde. When finally she appears on the stage in the final scene, he then imposes a histrionic as well as a vocal obligation which can give any mortal Brünnhilde pause. For the moment of the awakening and all that follows ask of the dramatic singer an encompassing grandeur which must be inherent since it can hardly be simulated.
Here Mme. Flagstad, by the majesty and the noble plastic of her pantomime does indeed communicate the sense of the timelessness of the earth and the appointed moment of destiny. Her greeting to Siegfried, when the magnificent voice pealed forth in homage to earth and sun and the hero of the world, was unforgettable, yet fully expected, as the inevitable consequence of that which had already spoken from every gesture and flash of the eye. Brünnhilde's soaring phrases fairly completed the conception. They were delivered with a plenitude of tone that carried over the whole surging orchestra, and they were worthily companioned by Mr. Melchior's performance.
Conducting yesterday, Mr. Leinsdorf appeared to be gaining steadily in control, and he must do so to realize proportionately his own interpretive energy. He, too, was cordially applauded.