[Met Performance] CID:149310
Die Walküre {360} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/29/1948.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 29, 1948


DIE WALKÜRE {360}
Wagner-Wagner

Brünnhilde..............Helen Traubel
Siegmund................Max Lorenz
Sieglinde...............Rose Bampton
Wotan...................Joel Berglund
Fricka..................Blanche Thebom
Hunding.................Luben Vichey
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Martha Lipton
Helmwige................Regina Resnik
Ortlinde................Irene Jessner
Rossweisse..............Lucielle Browning
Schwertleite............Jean Madeira
Siegrune................Hertha Glaz
Waltraute...............Jeanne Palmer

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry

Director................Herbert Graf
Set designer............Lee Simonson
Costume designer........Mary Percy Schenck
Lighting designer.......Lee Simonson

Die Walküre received four performances this season.




Review in The New York Times

The Metropolitan continues to put forth its best foot in its Wagner performances, and the season's first "Walkuere" last night was for the most part impressively traversed, with much of the cogency of the presentation attributable to the eloquent, justly paced and admirably proportioned discourse of the orchestral score under Mr. Stiedry's perceptive direction.

Vocally and dramatically, too, there was a good deal that was telling in the course of the two acts this reviewer was able to hear and still meet the exigencies of a deadline. As Sieglinde, Miss Bampton contributed a poetic, womanly and impassioned portrayal, lovely to gaze upon and, except in certain low-lying passages in the first act, in which the effects of a cold were noticeable, compellingly voiced. Her delivery of the exacting music of the second act, depicting Sieglinde's hysterical fear of the pursuing Hunding, was deeply affecting in its blend of tonal effulgence and emotional intensity.

Miss Traubel had her usual troubles with the "Ho-yo-to-ho," which she accounted for laboriously and without always being able to reach the true pitch. However, after a somewhat unsteady start, she gained firm control of her resources in the "Todesverkuendigung," most of which was richly and expressively voiced. As Fricka, Miss Thebom, in fine vocal form, invested her music with solid, gleaming sounds, and her delineation had a commanding dignity characterized by an economy of gesture and a restraint not always present in this young mezzo-soprano's histrionism.

Max Lorenz, in far better vocal condition than he was last season, provided an uncommonly convincing Siegmund from the visual and dramatic points of view. I can recall no delineator of this role who brought comparable excitement to the close of the first act, beginning with the drawing of the sword from the tree, which became in his hands really a feat of extraordinary strength accomplished with striking effect, and not a bit of tiresome stage business for which one hand must suffice in order that the tenor may keep his eyes glued on the conductor. It would be too much to say that Mr. Lorenz's singing was consistently persuasive; but at its best it had moments of moving expressivity, the appeal of which would have been enhanced had there been less scooping in evidence.

The Wotan of Mr. Berglund was a vocally sumptuous, musically penetrating and dramatically authoritative characterization, and Mr. Vichegonov, who appeared here for the first time as Hunding, was highly satisfactory from the purely vocal angle, but his impersonation was too aristocratic and genteel to suggest the harsh, menacing nature of Sieglinde's spouse.



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