[Met Performance] CID:164990
Die Walküre {374} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/23/1954.

(Debut: Rosalind Elias
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 23, 1954


DIE WALKÜRE {374}

Brünnhilde..............Astrid Varnay
Siegmund................Set Svanholm
Sieglinde...............Margaret Harshaw
Wotan...................Hans Hotter
Fricka..................Blanche Thebom
Hunding.................Luben Vichey
Gerhilde................Thelma Votipka
Grimgerde...............Rosalind Elias [Debut]
Helmwige................Lucine Amara
Ortlinde................Heidi Krall
Rossweisse..............Sandra Warfield
Schwertleite............Jean Madeira
Siegrune................Hertha Glaz
Waltraute...............Mariquita Moll

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

Review of R. A. E. in Musical America

Three principals from the first two performances of "Die Walküre" shifted roles for this third performance, resulting in one of the most distinguished and moving presentations the Metropolitan has given all season. Margaret Harshaw, originally the Brünnhilde, and Astrid Varney, originally the Sieglinde, switched parts. Hans Hotter, who had sung Hunding, became the Wotan, and Lubomir Vichegonov stepped into the part of Hunding. Set Svanholm was again the Siegmund; Blanche Thebom the Fricka. Among the Valkyries was Rosalind Elias who, as Grimgerde, was making her Metropolitan debut.

The two long scenes between Brünnhilde and Wotan provided the unforgettable moments of the evening, for Miss Varnay and Mr. Hotter brought to their characterizations a compassion and nobility that profoundly stirred the listener. Miss Varnay seemed all youth and eagerness in a brilliantly sung "Ho-yo-to-ho," and the subsequent deepening emotions found a ready response in her every gesture and vocal inflection. The soprano's stage actions have always been intelligently planned, but this time the movement seemed to be impelled from within, projecting a terribly real emotion. Her voice, too, was at its best, under full control, sensitive to the myriad shadings she demanded of it. Mr. Hotter's Wotan, so commanding in presence, must surely be the finest the Metropolitan has seen since the days of the late Friedrich Schorr. His sonorous voice had a few hollow-sounding passages, but otherwise was at its most powerful and authoritative. His farewell to Brünnhilde was at once human and godlike in its grief.

Miss Harshaw's Sieglinde, her first at the Metropolitan, was firm and opulent in tone, sweeping in musical line, meaningful and dignified in gesture. Already excellent, this characterization, like her others, should grow in vocal expressiveness and dramatic finesse with further performances. Mr. Vichegonov filled his assignment very satisfactorily.

In one of his inspired moods, Fritz Stiedry made the score glow and radiate as he let the music's grandeur unfold to its last superb pages.



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