[Met Performance] CID:130480
Siegfried {191} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/10/1941.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 10, 1941


Siegfried...............Lauritz Melchior
Brünnhilde..............Marjorie Lawrence
Wanderer................Friedrich Schorr
Erda....................Karin Branzell
Mime....................Karl Laufkötter
Alberich................Walter Olitzki
Fafner..................Emanuel List
Forest Bird.............Eleanor Steber

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

Director................Leopold Sachse
Set designer............Hans Kautsky
Set designer............Jonel Jorgulesco [Act III, Sceve 2 only]

Siegfried received three performances this season.

Review of Howard Taubman in The New York Times


Wagner Music Drama Return to Repertory is Marked by 'Mettlesome Performance'

Karl Laufkoetter Plays Mime and Marjorie Lawrence Sings Part of Bruennhilde

This has been a relatively reticent season for Wagner at the Metropolitan Opera House. With last night's return to the repertory of "Siegfried," the season's record for Wagner thus far stood at four works; the other three have been "Tristan and Isolde," "Die Walkuere" and "Tannhaeuser." The chances, however, are that there will be no intensive pick-up in the number of Wagner performances as the season progresses. Events overseas have made the Metropolitan cautious, though there seems to be no public antagonism to a composer dead more than fifty years.

The Wagnerites were grateful to have "Siegfried" back, and the music-drama returned in a mettlesome performance. Erich Leinsdorf had the work and his forces well in hand. The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra played with drive and vibrancy, and even the oft-erring brasses were almost impeccable. When the orchestra does its job in a Wagner music-drama, the heart of the composer's genius is successfully conveyed.

Singers in Good Voice

The singers, however, were not far behind; some stood shoulder to shoulder with the orchestra. Lauritz Melchior, who carries the heaviest vocal burden as Siegfried, sang with stirring amplitude of tone and with an expert grasp of the Wagnerian style. If he seemed a ponderous and awkward young hero at times, his most important function was to sing well.

Marjorie Lawrence as Bruennhilde companioned him admirably. Her awakening was managed, in its action, with a sense of line. Hers was a passionate, heroic Bruennhilde. Her voice was in fine estate; she sang with opulence of tone and dramatic fire, taking her high C's with what was almost recklessness. Miss Lawrence tended to give too much of her vocal resources almost every moment she sang. A bit more restraint would have helped her to avoid an occasional edginess and would have enabled her to round out a splendid performance.

Karl Laufkoetter made of Mime more than a caricature, singing and playing with some sensitivity, Walter Olitzki's Alberich was conventional. Karin Branzell intoned the music of Erda with spaciousness and nobility. Emanuel List was duly weighty as Fafner, and Eleanor Steber sang agreeably the voice of the forest bird, improving as the scene progressed.

Friedrich Schorr was the Wanderer, which has been, in the past, one of his memorable roles. It is a disagreeable duty to speak harshly of the work of a man who has been one of the Metropolitan's finest artists. But facts must be looked in the eye. Mr. Schorr still commands the dignity and pathos of the role, but his voice is a ghost of itself. Only a narrow range is intact, and no singer, perceptive artist though he may be, can go through a role like this with such limited resource.

As for Wagner, no one need worry about him if his works are represented less frequently. A music-drama like "Siegfried" retains its sorcery, its enchantment of the forest, its intimations of tragedy and its ecstasy of love. And after the war, it will still be around.

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