[Met Performance] CID:134630
Tannhäuser {333} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/22/1943.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 22, 1943


TANNHÄUSER {333}

Tannhäuser..............Lauritz Melchior
Elisabeth...............Rose Bampton
Wolfram.................Julius Huehn
Venus...................Marjorie Lawrence
Hermann.................Alexander Kipnis
Walther.................John Garris
Heinrich................Emery Darcy
Biterolf................Osie Hawkins
Reinmar.................John Gurney
Shepherd................Maxine Stellman
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris
Dance...................Monna Montes
Dance...................Nina Youskevitch
Dance...................Michael Arshansky
Dance...................Alexis Dolinoff
Dance...................Jack Gansert

Conductor...............George Szell


Review of Olin Downes in The New York Times

The audience assembled for the performance of Tannhäuser last night in the Metropolitan Opera House had reason to admire the art as well as the courage of Marjorie Lawrence. She then appeared for the first time in an opera performance in this city since her attack of infantile paralysis of nearly two years ago. The occasion was also that of her first appearance as Venus before the public of this city, if we except her singing of this part at the gala performance given in her honor on the same stage last December....

At that time Miss Lawrence demonstrated that whatever had occurred to throw physical obstacles in her way had in no sense lessened her interpretive powers. The limited score of her acting in no way limited her plastic presentation of the part. Her gestures reclining on Venus's couch, were admirably planned and so composed that no dramatic limitation was felt. She carried the scene.

But the burden of this...scene of the drama is carried by the voice. It is always a semi-stationary part. The voice was fresh and dramatic, and the tones were skillfully colored. The wisdom of giving the Venus role, which lies dubiously between the soprano and contralto registers, to a soprano has long been manifested. But one is tempted to say that if Miss Lawrence's voice has a lower tessitura than is the case she would still have given the music its varied color and impact by virtue of her temperament and her gift for characterization by means of tone.

Because of this, all aspects of the Venus music were fully communicated. The sensuous, sustained song of "Geliebter, komm" was as convincing as the fire and majesty of Venus's outburst, "Zieh hin," and "Kehrest du nich zurueck." In sum, this was an exceptional, complete revelation of the passage, done so eloquently that the audience interrupted the performance with applause. There are singers in full possession of their physical resources who have not accomplished nearly as much as did Miss Lawrence, with the special problems that now confront her on the stage.



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