[Met Performance] CID:240490
Das Rheingold {108}
Ring Cycle [85]
Metropolitan Opera House: 02/10/1975.

(Debuts: Glade Peterson, Maureen Forrester, Kolbjörn Höiseth
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 10, 1975


DAS RHEINGOLD {108}
Der Ring des Nibelungen: Cycle [85]
Wagner-Wagner

Wotan...................Thomas Stewart
Fricka..................Mignon Dunn
Alberich................Marius Rintzler
Loge....................Glade Peterson [Debut]
Erda....................Maureen Forrester [Debut]
Fasolt..................Bengt Rundgren
Fafner..................John Macurdy
Freia...................Christine Weidinger
Froh....................Kolbjörn Höiseth [Debut]
Donner..................William Dooley
Mime....................Ragnar Ulfung
Woglinde................Christine Weidinger (Scene 1)
Woglinde................Loretta Di Franco (Scene 4)
Wellgunde...............Marcia Baldwin
Flosshilde..............Batyah Godfrey Ben-David

Conductor...............Sixten Ehrling

Production..............Herbert Von Karajan
Stage Director..........Wolfgang Weber
Set designer............Günther Schneider-Siemssen
Costume designer........George Wakhevitch

[Christine Weidinger left the role of Woglinde after Scene 1 in order to substitute for Mary Ellen Pracht, who had been scheduled to sing Freia but cancelled. To accomodate this change, Loretta Di Franco sang Woglinde in Scene 4.]

Das Rheingold received three performances this season.


Review of Donal Henahan in The New York Times


Admit it. You looked at the cast before Monday night's "Das Rheingold" at the Metropolitan Opera and could not suppress a twinge of doubt. A fear for the worst even, to tell the truth. After all, thirteen of the fourteen singers in this first performance of the season in the Met's finally completed "Ring" cycle had not previously taken their roles with the company. Only Thomas Stewart as Wotan was familiar in his part.

Moreover, Herbert von Karajan, who conceived, produced, directed and conducted this production when it was new six seasons ago, was present only in spirit - his place in the pit being taken by Sixten Ehrling, also trying his first "Rheingold" here. Could there be a chancier way to start off the Met's first complete "Ring" since the '61-'62 season?

And yet this turned out to be a first-class if not quite magical performance that compared favorably with Mr. von Karajan's own glorious achievement in the '68 premiere. Mr. Ehrling, like his predecessor, held the orchestra in check with the skill of a sulky driver, so that even the lighter voices could be heard at all times. This meant sacrificing a great deal of what we once thought of as Wagnerian sound, but especially in "Das Rheingold," which has the least inspired music of the "Ring" tetralogy, anything that focuses attention on the acting and the narrative makes dramatic sense.

The vocalism would have sent no one home reeling in dazed delight, perhaps, but the cast was extraordinarily well-balanced. Mr. Stewart, though light-voiced for Wotan and less than light at the bottom, lent dignity and restraint to his part. Mignon Dunn's Fricka, more than usually gentle and understanding, was another in this surprising mezzo-soprano's recent successes.

Of three artists making their Met debuts, Glade Peterson as Loge made the strongest impression. Mr. Peterson's voice is ample, and his nefarious skulking about as Wotan's Secretary of State for Intrigue marked him as a real find for the company. Loge is the perfect corporation lawyer, with a loophole ready for any occasion, and Mr. Peterson had him down to perfection. Maureen Forrester, in her debut as Erda, was musically fine but somewhat lacking in contralto power and timbre, particularly since Erda was placed deep in the stage and far from the amplification that made the Rhinemaidens' task so easy. Marius Rintzler sang lustily and well and, though his characterization was not remarkably rich or detailed, made a plausible Alberich. Ragnar Ulfung as Mime was a touch of luxurious casting in that minor but
important role, and William Dooley swung Donner's hammer with convincing muscularity. As his sidekick, Froh, Kolbjörn Höiseth also looked godly enough but sounded thin and strained in his Met debut. John Macurdy and Bengt Rundgren, as the partners in the giant firm of Fafner and Fasolt, General Contractors, hulked about with proper menace while dunning Wotan for his
unpaid bill.




Added Index Entries for Subjects and Names


Back to short citation(s).