[Met Performance] CID:139710
Lohengrin {465} Chicago, Illinois: 05/1/1945.

(Review)


Chicago, Illinois
May 1, 1945


LOHENGRIN {465}

Lohengrin...............Kurt Baum
Elsa....................Helen Traubel
Ortrud..................Kerstin Thorborg
Telramund...............Alexander Sved
King Heinrich...........Nicola Moscona
Herald..................Hugh Thompson
Noble...................John Gurney
Noble...................William Hargrave
Noble...................Richard Manning
Noble...................Anthony Marlowe

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

Review of Felix Borowski in the Chicago Sun

Role of Elsa Beautifully Sung by Helen Traubel

Wagner's 'Lohengrin' Excellently Presented by Metropolitan Company at Opera House

Wagner's "Lohengrin," excellently presented by the Metropolitan Opera Co. at the Opera House last evening, gave the Eastern organization an opportunity to disclose its accomplishments in interpretation of the German school.

It is possible that the work was given this performance in order to present Helen Traubel in a role other than those which she has been singing with the company in New York. Elsa, is not, however, music best suited to this gifted soprano.

It is music lyrical, in essence, for it was conceived before Wagner has bethought himself of the mythological titans who, he intended, were to disport themselves in Walhalla and elsewhere, there to contend with vast powers of heaven and earth, as well incidentally, as with the giant orchestras with which the Bayreuth master intended to clothe his inspirations.

Music Beautifully Sung

Miss Traubel, while she did not suggest in figure or movement the shrinking maiden who called upon Lohengrin to defend her cause and honor, at least remembered in her [first act] Dream that Elsa was a far cry from Brünnhilde.

Its music was beautifully sung, with something of the dreamy ecstasy which Wagner had conceived for it.

When the situations became more exciting Miss Traubel, figuratively speaking, cast off the garments of Elsa and arrayed herself in these of Wotan's strenuous daughter. In them she still sang magnificently, but in scarcely the style of vocalization called for by "Lohengrin."

Characterization Adroit

Wagner always declared that his music should be sung with the polish and beauty with which the works of the great Italians were entoned. It was seldom that he obtained such a consummation, and Kurt Baum, who sang the title role last night, resembled most other Lohengrins in throwing bel canto overboard and giving his music in the dry Germanic manner.

For the rest, however, Mr. Baum made a striking figure, and his characterization was adroit and picturesque.

The Telramund of the cast was Alexander Sved, who gave that wicked fellow all the malignity and the dramatic - or melodramatic - impressiveness that belongs to him. And the singer was admirable in the matter of voice and the manner in which he used it.

Ortrud Well Done

Admirable, too, was Kerstin Thorborg's Ortrud. This is an ungrateful part, most of it sung on the dark stage of the second act, and with no effective vocal moments.

Yet its interpreter held well the attention of the listener. There have been previous Ortruds less convincing vocally or histrionically.

Other, and smaller, parts were King Henry, sung with noble tone and dignity by Nicola Moscona, and the Herald, also well set forth by Hugh Thompson.

Erich Leinsdorf gave a particularly colorful direction of the score, in which careful attention to nuances and technical correctness were outstanding features.

The chorus did its work well and zestfully, and sang the difficult bits in the [first] act with better intonation than often they have been sung before.

George Szell, who was to conduct "Die Meistersinger" Friday evening, is ill and the opera will be directed by Paul Breisach.



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