[Met Performance] CID:131740
Lohengrin {445} Municipal Auditorium, Atlanta, Georgia: 04/30/1941.


Atlanta, Georgia
Municipal Auditorium
April 30, 1941


Lohengrin...............Lauritz Melchior
Elsa....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Ortrud..................Kerstin Thorborg
Telramund...............Herbert Janssen
King Heinrich...........Norman Cordon
Herald..................Leonard Warren

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

Review of Eugenia Bridges Harty in the Atlanta Constitution

Resplendent Opera Marks Season's Close

Metropolitan's "Lohengrin" Stars Given Deserved Ovation

An eloquent Elsa (Elisabth Rethberg) relinquished her resplendent Lohengrin (Lauritz Melchior) no more reluctantly last night at the city auditorium than an enthusiastic crowd of music lovers who said goodbye to the Metropolitan artists for another season. For a well-deserved ovation required the stars to give a generous number of curtain calls with Kerstin Thorborg, the witch of the evening, winning particular applause.

Miss Thorborg's vocal oratory was reminiscent of Tuesday night's hit, Ezio Pinza as the graceful "devil" in Gounod's opera. For Ortrud, Miss Thorborg's role, displayed dramatic excellence with the voice of a sorcerer. Also in the limelight were Norman Cordon, as King Henry, and Leonard Warren, his herald.

Easy on Ears

Mr. Cordon's singing was as easy on the ears as was his appearance. For all of his six-feet-three was clothed as elaborately as he in turn groomed his role. And Mr. Warren's smooth voice sent chills up 4,500 spines each time he repeated the [first] bars of his recurrent theme song.

As for the Swan knight himself, Mr. Melchior left nothing to be desired in his impressive interpretation of a palatial part. His voice filled the large house with the ease that a pin would have created an out roar after his arias. For the musically-feasted that heard him gave eloquent silent praise, as his voice soared above the full orchestra.

An appreciative audience also held its breath at the exquisite beauty of Elisabeth Rothberg's tone quality. Nor did the genius of Erich Leinsdorf's baton go unheralded. This young director handled the difficult Wagnerian score with expert finesse.

Well Done

The choral work was also unusually well done, vocally as well as technically. And an opera that has the reputation of being a "heavy" proved an appetizing ending for the Metropolitan's three-day course.

Not that Wagner does not require some startling physiques, as the rotund proportions of last night's cast will prove. The singer of the title role is six feet four without benefit of shoes or the towering headdress he donned for the part. And the flimsy castle of his heroine trembled as she descended from her balcony to greet her lover. In fact, as a whole, Wagner's characters of last evening would have been made to order to fit Hitler's ideas of how a superior race should look.

Legendary Air

Thus the [widening] of the curtain on the eerie setting of the second act only added to the legendary air that cloaked the whole performance. So those who believe as a famous humorist did, that "Wagner's music is much better than it sounds," should have been on hand to taste a brilliant and festive evening of it. And the little boy that told Boss Edward Johnson that he wished Elsa hadn't revealed Lohengrin's name, in order that the opera might end with the second act, would have wept last night had this been the case.

For, with the finale of the story of the Knight of the Holy Grail, Atlanta music lovers admitted the end of a three-course banquet that they will long remember. A long fast awaits them until next season but perhaps this will precipitate an even more lengthy menu for 1942.

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