[Met Performance] CID:132860
Lohengrin {449} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/3/1942.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 3, 1942


LOHENGRIN {449}

Lohengrin...............René Maison
Elsa....................Astrid Varnay
Ortrud..................Kerstin Thorborg
Telramund...............Julius Huehn
King Heinrich...........Emanuel List
Herald..................Leonard Warren
Noble...................Emery Darcy
Noble...................John Dudley
Noble...................Wilfred Engelman
Noble...................Gerhard Pechner

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

Review of Edwin H. Schloss in the Philadelphia Record

Met Soprano Bows Here in "Lohengrin"

By mere coincidence, Astrid Varnay's recent success with the Metropolitan Opera Association has been a wartime phenomenon.

On December 6, the company's newest Wagnerian soprano (a young Swedish singer of 23) made her New York debut 24 hours in advance of Pearl Harbor. Five days later she donned the breast plates of Bruünnhilde, one day ahead of our declaration of war on the two most operatic countries in world - Germany and Italy. And last night Miss Varnay, still war borne, made her Philadelphia debut in a blackout, singing Elsa in "Lohengrin" while sirens howled outside, completely unheard in the black-curtained and plush lined Academy of Music.

10TH CENTURY SETTING

As far as the blackout was concerned, the war seemed as far away from Broad and Locust Sts. last night as the 10th Century represented on the stage by King Henry the Fowler and his bearded henchmen.

Miss Varnay is somewhat sub-Wagnerian in stature, but she handles herself reasonably well onstage and made a favorable impression from her entrance aria (the famous "Elsa's Dream") on to and including the opera's less lyric moments.

ROUTINE PERFORMANCE

The rest of last night's "Lohengrin" was a sound if somewhat routine performance of an opera not too often heard here but always negotiable when it is.

The cast of veteran ability included Rene Maison as the Swan Knight, Emanuel List as King Henry, Julius Huehn as Telramund, Kerstin Thorborg as Ortrud, and Leonard Warren as the Herald.

Huehn's vigorous and sinister Telramund was one more outstanding contribution by an American artist who seems to be gaining in stature and authority each time he visits here. He and Miss Thorborg gave a convincing account of their darkling scene in Act II - an episode that old anti-Wagnerians used to say (unaccountably) would sound just as well sung upside down.

Erich Leinsdorf at the conductor's desk gave a gratifying account of the opera's famous orchestral episodes - the Prelude and Introduction to Act III - but drowned out his singers repeatedly when his support should have been forthcoming with less ostentation. The Metropolitan's next performance here, February 17, will be Wagner's "Götterdämmerung."



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