[Met Performance] CID:130720
Lohengrin {441} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/31/1941.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 31, 1941 Matinee


Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Kirsten Flagstad
Ortrud..................Marjorie Lawrence
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........Norman Cordon, Act I
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List, Acts II, III
Herald..................Leonard Warren

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

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

[Cordon cancelled after Act I and was replaced as Heinrich by List.]

Lohengrin received five performances this season.

Review of Noel Strauss in The New York Times

First Performance of "Lohengrin" of Season Heard at the Metropolitan Opera House

Wagner's "Lohengrin" received its initial hearing of the season yesterday afternoon at the Metropolitan Opera House at a special performance given in memory of Sir Wilfred Grenfell and for the benefit of the Grenfell Association of America, which is furthering his work in Labrador and Newfoundland.

Two last minute changes were necessitated in the cast, which was headed by Kirsten Flagstad as Elsa and Lauritz Melchior in the name part. Marjorie Lawrence who had sung the title role in Gluck's "Alceste" the preceding night, substituted as Ortrud for Karin Branzell, unable to appear because of a cold. Norman Cordon, though suffering from a similar affliction, attempted to deal with King Henry's music, but after a valiant struggle with the difficult part during the first act, was unable to continue, being replaced by Emanuel List, who was summoned from his home and arrived in time to go on for the rest of the opera.

Cathedral Scene Praised

The presentation, which was of a rather routine nature on the whole possessed the most atmosphere during the scene at the end of the second act before the cathedral door. It was at that part of the proceedings also that the more significant vocalism of the afternoon was forthcoming.

Miss Flagstad, who has never been in her real element in this opera, accomplished her most effective singing at this point in action, bringing the entire act to a definite sense of climax with her poignant delivery of her final lines, beginning with "Mein Retter, der mir heil gebracht." All of the intense inner agitation and shameful confusion Wagner asked for were vividly conveyed by Miss Flagstad throughout these culminating moments of the altercation with Telramund and Ortrud, and her tones there became more glamorous than at any other time in the course of the opera.

Mr. Melchior, who was garbed in attractive new costumes, was in good vocal fettle. Except for the [beginning] address to the swan, where his tones sounded rather constricted, his work was consistently sympathetic and eloquent.

Julius Huehn Is Telramund

Miss Lawrence's voice also was in good form, but, especially after so recent a handling of the taxing role of Alceste, she often did not find the top tones of her scale easy of emission or amenable to true pitch. Neither she, nor Julius Huehn, the Telramund, are particularly well cast in this work, which demands a more sinister and powerful portrayal of each of the demonic characters to arrive at any pronounced success. Like Miss Flagstad, Miss Lawrence and Mr. Huehn did their most telling singing at the church portal episode. Mr. List was dignified and efficient as the King. The personnel was completed by Leonard Warren, who invested the Herald's proclamations with stentorian sounds, not always too well focused.

For some reason an old set was used for the second act, in which the Kemenate, with the balcony where Elsa appears for her "Zephyr" solo, was placed so far back in the wings that half of the audience could not see her.

The chorus entered into its share of the presentation with enthusiasm. Erich Leinsdorf, whose tempi were well chosen throughout, conducted with zeal and authority. A large and demonstrative audience demanded many curtain calls for all of the principals after each of the acts.

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