[Met Performance] CID:130090
Die Walküre {321} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 12/10/1940.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 10, 1940


DIE WALKÜRE {321}

Brünnhilde..............Kirsten Flagstad
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Helen Traubel
Wotan...................Julius Huehn
Fricka..................Karin Branzell
Hunding.................Emanuel List
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Irra Petina
Helmwige................Maxine Stellman
Ortlinde................Irene Jessner
Rossweisse..............Doris Doe
Schwertleite............Anna Kaskas
Siegrune................Helen Olheim
Waltraute...............Pearl Besuner

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

Review of Henry Pleasants in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

'Met' Gives Starry "Walküre"

Flagstad, Traubel, Melchior and Branzell Acclaimed in Cast

For the perfect Wagnerites the opera season began last night with the Metropolitan's production of "Die Walküre." There was a heady cast comprising Kirsten Flagstad, Helen Traubel, Karin Branzell, Lauritz Melchior, Julius Huehn and Emanuel List.

This was a good example of the strength of the Metropolitan's German wing, and in the person of Miss Traubel included its most important recent addition. The St. Louis-born soprano appeared as Sieglinde.

Her performance was, of course, the evening's chief topic for intermission discussions. And it was something to talk about. Miss Traubel's earlier appearances here in recital and soloist with the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra had disclosed the beauty and power of her voice and the exceptional quality of her vocalism. And this standard was maintained under the greater stress of opera.

It can hardly be said that the soprano sang with the emotional force or with the freedom of self-consciousness which has characterized her work on the concert stage, but it is probably not a fundamental matter. Miss Traubel is pretty much a newcomer to opera and possibly does not feel entirely sure of herself with all the incidental problems of acting and ensemble.

The only other newcomer to the cast was Julius Huehn, who assumed the part of Wotan. He has been heard frequently in other roles. His Wotan is rather a matter of adequacy than of distinction. His voice has neither the weight nor the penetrating force requisite for the role, nor does his conception of the part go beyond the traditional routine.

The greater glories of the evening were the familiar ones, Mme. Flagstad's Brünnhilde, Mme. Branzell's Fricka and Mr. Melchior's Siegmund. Mme. Flagstad brings the Brünnhilde of "Die Walküre" an affecting simplicity and warmth in addition to a magnificent voice. Mr. Melchior's Siegmund is something less than athletic, but it is heroic enough vocally. Mme. Branzell voices the shrewish utterances of Fricka with compelling authority. Mr. List's Hunding is remarkably unferocious.

Aside from Mme. Flagstad's Brünnhilde which had its dramatic as well as vocal distinction, this "Die Walküre" was chiefly notably for the singing. The orchestra, under the direction of Mr. Leinsdorf, played roughly. A good deal of the texture of the Wagnerian orchestration was lost, and much of the imagination.



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