[Met Performance] CID:140840
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {239} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/9/1946.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 9, 1946


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {239}

Hans Sachs..............Joel Berglund
Eva.....................Eleanor Steber
Walther von Stolzing....Torsten Ralf
Magdalene...............Kerstin Thorborg
David...................John Garris
Beckmesser..............Gerhard Pechner
Pogner..................Emanuel List
Kothner.................Kenneth Schon
Vogelgesang.............Anthony Marlowe
Nachtigall..............Hugh Thompson
Ortel...................Osie Hawkins
Zorn....................Richard Manning
Moser...................Lodovico Oliviero
Eisslinger..............Emery Darcy
Foltz...................Lorenzo Alvary
Schwarz.................Wellington Ezekiel
Night Watchman..........Louis D'Angelo

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

Review

Among the rarer visitations at the Metropolitan Opera are new performers in the principal tenor roles in Wagner operas. Rarer still are those as competent as Torsten Ralf showed himself to be on Saturday evening in his first [New York] Walter in "Die Meistersinger." He is superior to his half-dozen immediate predecessors, which is as far as one need go for present purposes since it embraces a score of years.

Ralf is no great figure of youthful illusion (his wig could be improved on and he bulges unfortunately for the turquoise blue skirted affair he wore in the last act), but he sings the music with facility, taste, and a pointed projection of the text. He can manage the top tones of the part (A's) without undue strain, and though he is occasionally overwhelmed in a great orchestral climax, there are few tenors of any time who would not be at the same points. Ralf's voice is not possessed of much color contrasts, but there is compensation in its suave flexibility.

His acting of the part was mostly of the stand-and-smile school, a method at least not obtrusive. He was fine in the early parts of the first act and his anger with the guildsmen (in Act 2) was properly fervent, but he might have been a little bit more anxious about Eva in Act 3. Knowing how the affair was going to come out seemed to minimize his agitation. Ralf had admirable assurance in the set pieces of the first act, in the "Quintet," and in the "Prize Song," and it will be a pleasure to hear him again.

The evening was notable otherwise for the masterful conducting of George Szell, who made of the final scene something of the inspired ritual to the art of song which it is meant to be, and too seldom is; and for the brilliant David of John Garris. Possessed of the right voice, figure, and imagination for the music, Garris could be one of the great Davids. He is already an exceptionally good one. The cast was otherwise familiar, with Joel Berglund a Sachs of ample voice and rich in interpretive detail, Eleanor Steber a handsome but often shrill Eva, Gerhard Pechner a better than stock Beckmesser, and Kersten Thorborg no longer able to do with 'Lena's music what is in her mind. Emanuel List and Kenneth Schon headed the roster of the Meistersingers.

Irving Kolodin
New York Sun



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