[Met Performance] CID:138120
Götterdämmerung {155} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/8/1944.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 8, 1944


GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG {155}
Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Helen Traubel
Siegfried...............Lauritz Melchior
Gunther.................Herbert Janssen
Gutrune.................Astrid Varnay
Hagen...................Emanuel List
Waltraute...............Kerstin Thorborg
Alberich................Frederick Lechner
First Norn..............Margaret Harshaw
Second Norn.............Lucielle Browning
Third Norn..............Jeanne Palmer
Woglinde................Thelma Votipka
Wellgunde...............Lucielle Browning
Flosshilde..............Hertha Glaz
Vassal..................Richard Manning
Vassal..................Osie Hawkins

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

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

Götterdämmerung received four performances this season.

Review of Herbert Peyser in the December 25, 1944 issue of Musical America

'Götterdämmerung" had its first performance of the season on the evening of Dec. 8, before the usual crowded house which greets this mightiest of music dramas. Lauritz Melchior was Siegfried and Helen Traubel, Brünnhilde. Emmanuel List replaced Alexander Kipnis as Hagen; Kerstin Thorborg was Waltraute; Herbert Janssen sang Gunther, and Astrid Varnay, Gutrune. Lesser roles were assumed by Frederick Lechner, Thelma Votipka, Lucielle Browning, Herta Glaz, Margaret Harshaw, Jeanne Palmer, Richard Manning and Osie Hawkins. George Szell conducted.

The performance suffered from unmerciful and inconsiderate cutting as well as some dubious playing by the orchestra, notably the drums and cymbals which were overwhelming. Proceedings seemed a long time getting into pace and more than once during the evening there was a lack of integration which was disturbing. The finical stage-direction continues to be annoying. The destruction of Valhalla at the end was more convincing than it has been in recent years, but the fire took a comparatively short time to consume the very solid looking castle.

The singing of the principals was, for the most part, excellent. Mr. Melchior was in good voice throughout the evening. Mme. Traubel improved as the opera went on, though she has sung the Immolation with greater effect and her acting was less vivid than it might have been. Mr. List did not seem to be in his best voice and the wisdom of some of his positions on the stage is open to question. Mr. Janssen's Gunther was somewhat restrained but vocally good. Miss Varnay's voice has improved but she has adopted a mannerism of only hitting the high spots and letting the volume of her voice diminish in between. Both the Norns and the Rhine Daughters were unimpressive. The chorus of vassals, though lacking in finesse, was sung lustily. Of the three acts, the second was the best. Some of Mr. Szell's conducting was magnificent, some of it less so.



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