[Met Performance] CID:141500
Die Walküre {348} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/12/1946.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 12, 1946


DIE WALKÜRE {348}

Brünnhilde..............Helen Traubel
Siegmund................Torsten Ralf
Sieglinde...............Astrid Varnay
Wotan...................Herbert Janssen
Fricka..................Kerstin Thorborg
Hunding.................Emanuel List
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Martha Lipton
Helmwige................Beal Hober [Last performance]
Ortlinde................Irene Jessner
Rossweisse..............Lucielle Browning
Schwertleite............Margaret Harshaw
Siegrune................Hertha Glaz
Waltraute...............Jeanne Palmer

Conductor...............Paul Breisach

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

Janssen and Thorborg Save Lifeless Performance of "Die Walküre"

Last night's performance of "Die Walküre" by the Metropolitan Opera Association had its exciting moments and they were when Herbert Janssen and Kerstin Thorborg were the main focus of the proceedings. Otherwise it was small-scale Wagner, and not very eloquent.

Mr. Janssen's Wotan, which was new here, proved like his Wolfram and Hans Sachs to be a magnificently voiced and saliently acted portrayal.

I cannot remember ever having heard so arresting a performance of the long narrative of the second act. What oftentimes is just a stretch to be got over as soon as possible was, as Mr. Janssen did it, of epic proportions and deeply moving.

There was a quality in his uttering of the words "Das Ende!" that sent shivers up my back.

Once again Miss Thorborg recreated Fricka's angered demand that Wotan allow the incestuous Volsungs to be killed, with her usual superb tones and magnetic presence.

The scene between Wotan and Fricka is short, but it is of great importance to the whole of "Die Walküre." All too often it is more like a domestic wrangle than the fiercely clashing wills of mythological divinities.

But when Miss Thorborg is on hand - and now Mr. Janssen too - the scene takes on heavy drama, which no doubt was just what Wagner had in mind.

Apart from these two performers, however, this "Die Walküre" was disappointing. Mr. Breisach's conducting rarely took fire, most often the tempi were plodding, and the orchestra heavy and without luster.

Miss Varnay sings better than the last time I heard her, but her Sieglinde is strangely without that effect of tenderness and femininity which ought to be its prevailing characteristic.

Miss Traubel seemed to be saving her voice until the latter part of the colloquy with Siegmund in the second act. The "Ho-jo-to-ho" lacked both brilliance and power. Yet, toward the end of Brünnhuilde's explanation of what Siegmund would find in Walhalla, Miss Traubel brought force to her singing and, as Mr. S. J. Perelman might say, made like a goddess.

As for the Siegmund of Torsten Ralf, it was adequate so far as the actual notes were concerned. He sang in time and with rhythm. But this is not enough, and the indispensible quality of eloquence of emotional intensity just was not there. Nor did he muster sufficient vitality in his acting. The Hunding of Mr. List was well in the picture, even though the musical phrases were pretty shaky in tone.



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