[Met Performance] CID:128610
Lohengrin {440} Matinee ed. Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/3/1940.


Boston, Massachusetts
April 3, 1940 Matinee


Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Kirsten Flagstad
Ortrud..................Karin Branzell
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List
Herald..................Leonard Warren

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

Review signed R. F. E. Jr. in the Boston Herald

Laurels to Director Leinsdorf in Wagner's 'Lohengrin' at Matinee

After the consistently remarkable standards so far achieved by the Metropolitan Opera Company during its current Boston engagement, yesterday afternoon's performance of Wagner's "Lohengrin" came as a mild let-down. Let us hasten to add that in so far as it concerns the distinguished company which yesterday found the audience its own from beginning to end, "mild let-down" is a relative term in its best sense. Even when the principals - these principals - are not at their most inspired, their singing is sufficiently thrilling.

From a dramatic point of view, few operas are so soundly written as "Lohengrin." The situation has suspense and to spare. There are not aimless wanderings of plot, no elaborate secondary motivations, no lamentable and baffling deviations from the straightforward narrative. It consequently requires an intenseness and a driving surge of pace to carry it through to the end with a resultant feeling of cumulative impact. It is very much to Mr. Leinsdorf's credit that he imbued yesterday's performance with such a pace.

Mme. Flagstad and Mr. Melchior pursued a normal course, and achieved their usual success. At times, as in the bridal scene, they reached impressive heights. Both were in good voice, and their interpretations were obviously authoritative. Neither, however, appeared to be quite in the mood. Karin Branzell, making her first appearance here this season, added a great deal to the afternoon's spirit with her eloquent and moving portrayal of the ambitious Ortrud.

Her long and intense scene with Julius Huehn in the second act was splendidly done, going a long way to add vitality and emotional power to an act which can be less rewarding. Too, her scenes with Mme. Flagstad seemed to give rise to a greater response in the latter.

Julius Huehn sang Telramund with convincing virility, realizing many admirable moments. His acting was satisfying if lacking in variety of posture. Emanuel List sang King Henry with sonority and dignity, and Leonard Warren, singing the part of the king's Herald, stood out markedly. Of particular merit was the staging of the opera. All the pageantry, the mystic intensity and the color were emphasized by the manner in which the individuals and group masses were handled. In sum, "Lohengrin" was given a thoroughly satisfying if not inspired performance, with Mr. Leinsdorf taking the laurels for his fine work in an exacting task.

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