[Met Performance] CID:136870
Die Walküre {336}
Ring Cycle [73] Uncut
. Metropolitan Opera House: 02/15/1944.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 15, 1944


DIE WALKÜRE {336}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [73] Uncut

Brünnhilde..............Helen Traubel
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Astrid Varnay
Wotan...................Herbert Janssen
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Hunding.................Alexander Kipnis
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Christine Johnson
Helmwige................Doris Doree
Ortlinde................Maxine Stellman
Rossweisse..............Lucielle Browning
Schwertleite............Margaret Harshaw
Siegrune................Helen Olheim
Waltraute...............Hertha Glaz

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

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in The New York Herald Tribune

This presentation of "Walküre" tarried on similarly high planes as last week's "Rheingold." All the singers were well-disposed and Mr. Szell's discourse of the orchestral score was of the highest eloquence, often, as in the Prelude to the second act and in the final scene, overwhelming in its realizations of Wagner's grandiose conception.

Miss Varnay's Sieglinde remains her most satisfying role. Her voice has grown in power since she made her debut therein several seasons ago, although it has lost something of its native richness of texture because of infelicitous usage. But her delineation has a communicative warmth of feeling and her singing gained in freedom of production in the second and third acts.

The Brünnhilde of Miss Traubel, too, has made musical strides since it was first unfolded here. The "Ho jo to ho" provided Miss Traubel and her listeners with some uncomfortable moments because of the soprano's inability to cope with the sustained high B's. But two top tones do not make or mar a performance and Miss Traubel more than atoned for their tentativeness by her subsequent accomplishments, singing with almost unsullied tonal beauty and consistent understanding and expressiveness throughout the second and third acts. One does wish, however, that she would acquire a costume that would not give the impression that it had been inspired by the Chrysler Tower.

As Fricka, Miss Thorborg offered one of the finest portrayals of the evening, both from the dramatic and vocal aspects. The contralto was in exceptionally fine form and poured forth her huge voice in prodigal fashion. A word of praise is in order, too, for the telling work of the eight Valkyries.

It was a pleasure to her Mr. Melchior's voice issue forth with hardly a trace of the fogginess which often dulls its brilliancy, and his characterization of Siegmund was more animated than has sometimes been the case. Mr. Kipnis's Hunding, aside from a few inapposite melodramatic poses and a few measures bellowed instead of sung, was a convincingly ferocious assumption of a role often too tamely conceived.

Mr. Janssen's Wotan, which had been disclosed on this stage only once previously, is an impressive delineation, both in song and action, suggesting with plastic gestures the various qualities, noble, tender and wrathful, of the ruler of Valhalla. Some portions of the music lie too low for his high baritone voice to encompass resonantly, but for the most part he sang admirably, often with dramatic intensity, as in the climatic "Das Ende," of the second act narrative, or with touching tenderness in the second half of the "Abschied."



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