[Met Performance] CID:133420
Die Walküre {329} Metropolitan Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/24/1942.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
March 24, 1942


DIE WALKÜRE {329}

Brünnhilde..............Astrid Varnay
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Lotte Lehmann
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Hunding.................Emanuel List
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Mary Van Kirk
Helmwige................Maria Van Delden [Last performance]
Ortlinde................Maxine Stellman
Rossweisse..............Lucielle Browning
Schwertleite............Anna Kaskas
Siegrune................Helen Olheim
Waltraute...............Doris Doe

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

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

OPERA

Melchior, Lehmann and Varnay Stars of "Die Walküre"

"Die Walküre" found the Wagner-wing of the Metropolitan Opera Association in form last evening. Astrid Varnay, the young Swedish-American soprano, whose Boston debut was unfortunately upset by her illness during last Thursday's "Lohengrin," seemed completely recovered and gave her first entire performance here as Brünnhilde. Except for Miss Varnay and Lotte Lehmann, who had sung the part of Sieglinde here but once before, the other principals were well-known to the city in their roles.

 A candid estimate of Miss Varnay's abilities at the present is not easy without seeming, perhaps, to belittle her very definite talents. She has an excellent voice, fine and warm in quality, but small in volume. Miss Varnay is young, and very likely her voice will grow with time and experience. But just now it is not a Brünnhilde voice, at least, not for a production of Metropolitan caliber, and cannot soar opulently over a big Wagnerian orchestra. Nor has Miss Varnay either the intellectual or spiritual penetration of the role or the dramatic fire to portray Brünnhilde in the full dimensions of that goddess.

But Varnay sings carefully. She does not force her voice. She phrases carefully, and has been taught Wagner style. In all probability, if she continues to study Wagner, she will attain requisite artistic growth. The arduous leading roles of the great Wagner music-dramas demand years of effort before they can be mastered.

There was only one opulent voice, that of Kerstin Thorborg, whose few moments upon the stage will linger in memory. Her delineation of Fricka is a masterpiece. She also looks like a goddess, in her draped yellow costume and coronet braid (I think that's what they call such a hair-do).

 Lotte Lehmann's Sieglinde is dramatically persuasive. She establishes the womanly compassion, ardent nature and final pathetic desolation quite vividly and with a minimum of physical effort. But a staunch Lehmann admirer must observe that she no longer projects the music of Sieglinde with both power and richness. When strength was present, richness was lacking and vice versa. Friedrich Schorr's Wotan must be described in much the same terms, a characterization of absolute dramatic mastery, but wanting the vocal prowess that was Mr. Schorr's in the past. Mr. Melchior is always a dependable Siegmund, though his singing, too, failed to display the vocal color of past performances. Emanuel List, ever a formidable Hunding, was prone to wobbly intonation.

Mr. Leinsdorf conducted with a good deal of spirit, and achieved some electrifying moments. It did seem that he favored the voices at times, however.

Brünnhilde now hands to Sieglinde a broken instead of a perfectly good sword; Wagner directed, nevertheless, that Sieglinde receive the broken pieces of Siegmund's weapon. There was a different tree instead of the rather spurious pine under which, in recent years, Brünnhilde has been spelled into sleep. Magic Fire must be on the priorities list. It was very scanty.



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