[Met Performance] CID:135070
Siegfried {196}
Ring Cycle [72] Uncut
. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/2/1943.


Metropolitan Opera House
March 2, 1943

Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [72] Uncut

Siegfried...............Lauritz Melchior
Brünnhilde..............Helen Traubel
Wanderer................Friedrich Schorr [Last performance]
Erda....................Karin Branzell
Mime....................Karl Laufkötter
Alberich................Walter Olitzki
Fafner..................Emanuel List
Forest Bird.............Nadine Conner

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

Director................Lothar Wallerstein
Set designer............Hans Kautsky
Set designer............Jonel Jorgulesco

Siegfried received one performance this season.

[Jorgulesco designed the set only for Act III, Sc. 2.
Traubel's costume was designed by Adrian.]

Review of Olin Downes in the New York Times

Mr. Schorr's final performance was an interpretation wholly worthy of his distinguished career. The audience had reason to again realize the nobility and authority of his entire conception of this one of the Wotan roles; the feeling as well as the musicianship which inhabited every moment of it.; the significance given to the text as well as the melodic line; the variety of color and of illuminative detail which have so often been described and which there is no need to dilate upon at this day.

But it will not be easy, indeed it will not be possible, to replace Mr. Schorr on the Metropolitan stage. Other great artists have been and are and will be on that stage. Other singers with as great and greater voices will appear. None will serve their art more devotedly, with a truer perception of the line that separates what is great and what is not great in interpretation, or a loftier understanding of the traditions of the works he interprets.

After the last curtain, and many recalls, and after the tumult and the shouting had subsided, Mr. Schorr made a brief and very simple speech which bore witness to his sincerety and modesty as man and artist. He thanked his audience for their encouragement and as he put it, indulgence of many seasons, of their patience "when I could not come up to your expectations", and all the Metropolitan and the approval and discrimination of its audiences had meant to him. He quoted the words of Hans Sachs in which he deprecates the praise given him by the throng in the last act of "Meistersinger", and closed with the words of Sharpless in "Mme. Butterfly", "America forever"!

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune


Metropolitan Audience Rises and Cheers in Farewell Tribute in Ring Cycle

Having expected to return to my desk not much before midnight last night in the belief that it was an unabridged version of "Siegfried" I was to hear at the Metropolitan Opera House, I was greatly surprised at the early hour at which Siegfried and Bruennhilde concluded their nuptial duet. The reason, of course, was that the performance was not by any means an uncut one, and no reason was given for this procedure.

There were some other peculiarities in the presentation never before encountered in the many unfoldings of Wagner's incomparable work which I have attended here and abroad. Mme. Traubel wore no armor as Bruennhilde, so that when Siegfried sang "Komm, mein Schwert, schneide das Eisen," all that happened was that he passed his sword through the air at a safe, distance from the soprano, enveloped in too many yards of cloth and removed, instead of a breastplate, a small square of crepe! There was an unfortunate mishap in the scene between the Wanderer and Siegfried. The spear carried by Mr. Schorr fell apart several minutes before Siegfried struck it with his weapon and, although Mr. Schorr turned his back to hide the remains of his broken spear, the dramatic cogency of the scene was vitiated. I heard a noise as the baritone left the stage which sounded very much as though he had hurled the pieces to the ground in quite understandable rage.

Presentation Rewarding

The presentation was not, however, without its rewarding aspects. It is true that Mr. Melchior was not in his best form. Apparently his recent illness has left its traces on his voice, though these were not in evidence in his delivery of Siegmund's music in last Saturday's "Walkuere." Perhaps he exerted himself too greatly on that occasion. Last night he sang with something like half voice through most of the performance and the arduous closing duet found him distinctly out of voice.

Mme. Traubel, who vouchsafed her first "Siegfried" Bruennhilde, wisely refrained from doing much in the way of acting. Her "Greeting to the Sun" was the finest thing in her delineation of this notoriously taxing role from the tonal facet. Here her tones sounded forth with bell-like resonance. There were measures later on, too, which were solidly projected. But she made no attempt to sing the high C in "Ewig bin ich" and, of course, availed herself of the optional low C at the end of the duet. Her interpretation of the music was careful in matters of musicianship, but wanted in intensity and warmth of feeling and tenderness. It was a stolid approach to some of the most ecstatic music ever penned.

The Mime of Mr. Laufkoetter was the most consistently satisfying delineation of the evening, wholly convincing in its cunning and malevolence. Mr. List sang with variable steadiness of tone as Fafner and Mr. Olitzki contributed a moderately telling Alberich. Miss Conner sang the Voice of the Forest Bird with agreeable freshness and sparkle and Mrs. Branzell's Erda had its impressive moments.

Schorr Sings Farewell

The performance brought with it the farewell appearance of Mr. Schorr as the Wanderer. In the first two acts his singing had a round sonority which recalled his earlier years on this stage. As was to be expected, he had trouble in encompassing the high-lying passages in the third act. But his artistry is undiminished and his profound understanding of Wagner's intentions atoned for any vocal shortcomings. The audience rose to its feet at the conclusion of the first act to applaud and cheer him.

Mr. Leinsdorf's conducting of the score was one of the most impressive ones he has given us and his conception revealed increasing musical perceptiveness.

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