[Met Performance] CID:130800
Das Rheingold {86}
Ring Cycle [70] Uncut
. Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/7/1941.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 7, 1941 Matinee


DAS RHEINGOLD {86}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [70] Uncut
Wagner-Wagner

Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Alberich................Walter Olitzki
Loge....................René Maison
Erda....................Karin Branzell
Fasolt..................Alexander Kipnis
Fafner..................Emanuel List
Freia...................Hilda Burke
Froh....................Emery Darcy
Donner..................Julius Huehn
Mime....................Karl Laufkötter
Woglinde................Eleanor Steber
Wellgunde...............Irra Petina
Flosshilde..............Helen Olheim

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

Director................Leopold Sachse
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

Das Rheingold received one performance this season.

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

Matinee Cycle of "Ring" Opens at Metropolitan

Wagner's "Das Rheingold" Presented, With Olitzki in the Role of Alberich

No presentation of "Rheingold" can carry full conviction if the singer entrusted with the important part of Alberich brings thereto so little in the way of vocal and dramatic equipment. The epic tragedy which culminates with the destruction of Walhalla and of the end of the gods begins with Alberich's cursing of the ring, and if that curse is delivered with so little ability to suggest its terrifying contents, with tones so much closer to ineptly spoken declamation than to expressive song, Wagner's intentions are inexcusably thwarted. Elsewhere, in the scenes with Loge and Mime and with the Rhine-maidens, Mr. Olitzki's portrayal failed of its objectives. His tonal nuances are not those of a malignant, cruel dwarf, but those of a scolding harridan.

This was the most serious flaw in the casting for, although Mr. Schorr's topmost tones wanted in body, he was better disposed than he has been at his earlier appearances this season, and his singing was often satisfying and his delineation of the ruler of Walhalla has lost none of its inherent dignity viewed from the dramatic aspect. Mme. Thorborg's Fricka is an appositely poised characterization and, after an infelicitous beginning, she voiced her music in steady, if not wholly persuasive, fashion.

Hearing Mme. Branzell's opulent, round tones in Erda's Warning juxtaposed to the "whiter" tones of Mme. Thorborg made the listener doubly aware of the fact that Mme. Branzell is still the finest contralto in the company.

Mr. Maison's delineation of the volatile, tricky fire-god, Loge, is highly intelligent, but I find it difficult to stomach his twangy French accent and whining vocal style in Wagnerian music dramas. Both Messrs. List and Kipnis were well disposed and Mr. Laufkötter, always a superb Mime, was in his best form. Mr. Darcy disclosed the finest tenor voice to be associated with the part of Froh here in many years, and Mr. Huehn delivered Donner's lines authoritatively. Miss Burke, whose Freia, visually regarded, gave indication of having partaken somewhat generously of "Hella's Apfel," gave forth some tones which sounded as though perhaps a few of those apples of longevity were a trifle sour. The Rhine-maidens' voices blended well. Miss Steber's tones emerging with more "point" than in the recent performance of "Götterdämmerung."

Much of the dramatic cogency of the presentation must be attributed to Mr. Leinsdorf's well-coordinated and lively paced interpretation of the score.



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