[Met Performance] CID:212700
Die Walküre {402} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/27/1967.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 27, 1967


DIE WALKÜRE {402}

Brünnhilde..............Birgit Nilsson
Siegmund................Jon Vickers
Sieglinde...............Gundula Janowitz
Wotan...................Walter Berry
Fricka..................Christa Ludwig
Hunding.................Karl Ridderbusch
Gerhilde................Phyllis Brill
Grimgerde...............Joann Grillo
Helmwige................Clarice Carson
Ortlinde................Carlotta Ordassy
Rossweisse..............Rosalind Hupp
Schwertleite............Louise Pearl
Siegrune................Barbro Ericson
Waltraute...............Gwendolyn Killebrew

Conductor...............Herbert Von Karajan

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

Berry's Wotan in Dim 'Walküre'

After stomping between life and death (that is between sloping, irregular inner and outer rings) at last night's "Die Walküere," I have renounced my ambition to be a bardic warmaiden, that is, a Von Karajan Valkyrie. I came to the Metropolitan Opera to witness Walter Berry's first Wotan in the new production, and I was glad I did. But though I heard him, and saw him dimly for two acts along with everybody else in the dark - in trying out the ring myself between Acts II and III - I almost broke my neck. And I didn't sing, and I didn't have a stage-train as these oddly garbed dynamic females do.

Conductor and stage director Herbert Von Karajan was also stomping around on the ring back-stage between Acts II and III giving last minute instructions to Gerhilde and others. There were flickering lights everywhere from the projections, making the milieu more mysterious and hazardous, that is, making it almost impossible to tell the difference between a deep space and a rock. Appearing a little like a panther hunting his prey, he put his girls in place, then two minutes later he was in front of the house leading the "Ride."

A Commanding Wotan

Now Wotan has to cope with two dominating women, Fricka and Brünnhilde, surrounded by much else that he can only perceive dimly, what with the emphasis in this production on the quarter-light. I'm happy to say that Berry rose to the occasion from his first entrance in Act II, until he commanded the fire to surround Brünnhilde in Act III. He improved as he continued, an excellent sign, indicating the role is right for him. He was an imposing figure and his voice had enough warmth and amplitude in the middle and low registers, and enough brilliance on the top.

Christa Ludwig, singing Fricka, was not only Wotan's on-stage wife, but his own at home as well. She sang the best of the three Frickas she has sung this season. She really told her husband off in public in high style. Birgit Nilsson, that stalwart of great sopranos, sang Act III, Scene III, "War es so Schmalich," on her stomach, and triumphed. At the end of Act II she sang from a scrim-enclosed inverted capsule that unexpectedly zoomed her down a few inches at one point. You gather that in this "Walküere," while the "Fate" motive sounds no more unpredictably, the on-stage fate of the performers is in balance more often than not.



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