[Met Performance] CID:181100
Lohengrin {509} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/11/1959.

(Debuts: Karl Liebl, Aase Nordmo-Lövberg, William Stanz, Frank Mandile, Lloyd Strang, Dawin Emanuel
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 11, 1959


LOHENGRIN {509}

Lohengrin...............Karl Liebl [Debut]
Elsa....................Aase Nordmo-Lövberg [Debut]
Ortrud..................Nell Rankin
Telramund...............Walter Cassel
King Heinrich...........Otto Edelmann
Herald..................Mario Sereni
Noble...................William Stanz [Debut]
Noble...................Frank Mandile [Debut]
Noble...................Lloyd Strang  [Debut]
Noble...................Dawin Emanuel [Debut]

Conductor...............Thomas Schippers

Review of Louis Biancolli in the New York World Telegram and Sun

Soprano and Tenor Debut in 'Lohengrin' at the Met

It was debut night at the Metropolitan last night. A young Norwegian soprano and German tenor, both well thought of overseas, made their first Metropolitan appearances together in a performance of "Lohengrin" conducted by Thomas Schippers. The newcomer from the land of fjords, Vikings, and Kirsten Flagstad was Aase Nordmo-Loevberg, a striking figure of a woman looking very much the way her celebrated compatriot did in her 30s. The German was Karl Liebl.

Of the two, Miss Nordmo-Loevberg was much the more impressive, though neither of them proved exactly epoch making. The voice sounded strong and fresh enough, at its best in the upper register, where there were reminders of Mme. Flagstad.

Vocally Ill at Ease

But the newcomer was some-ill-at-ease vocally. The pitch wasn't always certain, and lower notes tended to lose quality and steadiness. It is a voice of substance and beauty, however, and one awaits Miss Nordmo-Loevberg's next role. One also awaits Mr. Liebl's next role. His debut as Lohengrin was far from convincing, though here again the fundamental isn't at all bad. The fact is the singing seemed under stress. At times Mr. Liebl belted his tones. It is possible both artists were overawed by the implications of a Metropolitan debut. It is also possible Miss Nordmo-Loevberg is better qualified for other Wagnerian roles. The same may apply to Mr. Liebl.

Domestic Salute

With all due respect to the visiting guests from abroad, it was two American members of last night's cast who stole the show - Walter Cassel and Nell Rankin. Both did some of the finest singing of their local career. Mr. Cassel, whose Scarpia ranks high in the Metropolitan gallery, added another portrayal of power and depth with his interpretation of Telramund last night. Miss Rankin's Ortrud had parallel impact. Actually, for all their evil designs and malign frustrations, Telramund and Ortrud were far more believable as human beings than last night's posturing Lohengrin and static Elsa.

During the first act I was ready to report that Mr. Schippers was doing an inferior job as compared to his conducting of the season's first "Lohengrin." That proved only temporary. Things picked up nicely in the second act. Those knowing Germans must have marveled at the callousness of the nobles gathered on the banks of the River Scheldt as Telramund hurled his hideous accusations at Elsa. They might have been listening to a commercial.



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