[Met Performance] CID:130890
Fidelio {64} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/14/1941.

(Debut: Bruno Walter

Metropolitan Opera House
February 14, 1941


Leonore.................Kirsten Flagstad
Florestan...............René Maison
Don Pizarro.............Julius Huehn
Rocco...................Alexander Kipnis
Marzelline..............Marita Farell
Jaquino.................Karl Laufkötter
Don Fernando............Herbert Janssen
First Prisoner..........Emery Darcy
Second Prisoner.........John Gurney

Conductor...............Bruno Walter [Debut]

Director................Herbert Graf
Designer................Joseph Urban

Fidelio received three performances this season.

Review of Pitts Sanborn in The New York World Telegram

A red letter night at the Metropolitan Opera! You may not feel as some of us do that "Fidelio" is the most beautiful lyric drama since "Don Giovanni", but neither you nor anybody else possessed of a grain of artistic feeling could fail to respond to the performance of Beethovan's only stage work that the Metropolitan musicians afforded us last evening. As for the audience which tested the capacity of the house, it may well be cheering and clapping still.

In the first place, this "Fidelio" was relieved of the clogging, boring recitatives that had long weighed it down at the Metropolitan. Then, it had as conductor an artist of the caliber of Bruno Walter. Often as Mr. Walter has conducted concerts here, never before had he led an opera for us. May he now do so ad infinatum! His feeling for every phrase of the music and his understanding of its large design were a perpetual delight. For a single detail, what it was to hear at last the simple, but classical measures that introduce the Canon Quartet. And the interval between the two scenes of the second act he filled with an overwhelmingly dramatic reading of the Third Leonore Overture. Thrice familiar as that work is, this performance wrought the audience to such a pitch of enthusiasm that one trembled for the safety of the august house.

Review of Francis D. Perkins in The New York Herald Tribune

Bruno Walter, noted in Europe for many years as a conductor both of opera and symphony concerts, has been long and justly admired here for his talent in the latter field. But for a first hand impression of his work in the orchestra pit of an opera house those New Yorkers who had not gone abroad in happier days had to wait until last night, when he began his engagement at the Metropolitan with a memorable performance of Beethoven's only opera. Of those who listened, some may have wondered why he had not come here before; more were undoubtedly glad that he is here now.

"Fidelio" was a well chosen vehicle for Mr. Walter's American operatic debut. It is a work which he not only understands completely but loves whole heartedly, with his ability to communicate his enthusiasm to the artists on the stage, the musicians in the pit , and to the hearers in the audience.

The occasion could be regarded as a exceptional success, both from an artistic and a box office point of view; the house was sold out and the space behind the orchestra circle accommodated as many standees as the law allowed. Cheers as well as vigorous applause greeted the conductor on his first appearance; a longer ovation followed the first act;; and Mr. Walter had to wait two minutes or more after an inspiring conclusion of the Third Leonore Overture before the demonstration subsided sufficiently to allow him to begin the final scene. The audience lingered long for further acclaim at the close of this greatly rewarding evening.

Photograph of Bruno Walter by Pictorial Parade.

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