[Met Performance] CID:82750
Die Walküre {197} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 01/9/1923.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
January 9, 1923


DIE WALKÜRE {197}

Brünnhilde..............Margarete Matzenauer
Siegmund................Curt Taucher
Sieglinde...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Wotan...................Clarence Whitehill
Fricka..................Jeanne Gordon
Hunding.................Paul Bender
Gerhilde................Charlotte Ryan
Grimgerde...............Grace Bradley
Helmwige................Mary Mellish
Ortlinde................Laura Robertson
Rossweisse..............Myrtle Schaaf
Schwertleite............Kathleen Howard
Siegrune................Raymonde Delaunois
Waltraute...............Henriette Wakefield

Conductor...............Artur Bodanzky

Review signed F. L. W. in the Philadelphia Public Ledger

'DIE WALKÜRE' AT THE ACADEMY

Metropolitan Opera Company Gives Wagner in German With a Strong Cast

AUDIENCE IS ENTUSIASTIC

"Die Walküre" was the opera given at the Academy last night by the Metropolitan Company. Artur Bodanzky led, and there could have been no better choice among the Metropolitan conductors, for he thoroughly knows and heartily loves the score, and his master hand over the instruments and vocalists meant that nothing of the meaning of the music was left in obscurity. It is not easy to present a Wagner opera in German today after so much of the Latin tradition of the music dramas: there is an atmosphere, a tradition to re-establish, and thus it is Bodanzky's triumph to have accomplished.

Particular interest attached to the appearance of Curt Taucher in the role of Siegmund, for the advent of an authentic Wagnerian tenor in these days of an exceeding scantiness of such singers is a matter of more than passing moment. It was a distinct success. At the start he wrenched his words a little, as though he were pulling the great sword from the tree - the gutturals were ejaculated somewhat jerkily and explosively.

Singing Bears Out Appearance

But even before that lovely invocation to the spring was reached he was singing with a suavity that bore out his prepossessing physical aspect. He is a good actor as well as a good singer, and he does not look ungainly and bulky in the raiment of the warrior-lover. Paul Bender, who was such an upstanding Baron in the "Rosenkavalier," found his great stature advantageous in the part of Hunding, which in every particular he enacted commendably. Clarence Whitehill's Wotan - a part which the veteran has raised to the level of a classic - was of regal authority, though in some of the rejoinders to Fricka the voice sagged considerably below the pitch.

In the distressful role of Sieglinde, Elizabeth Rethberg offered a picture of no little charm, though she is by no means a lissome figure, and she succumbed to weariness at Siegmund's feet on the installment plan, instead of at one dispirited motion.

Beautiful, Forceful Singer

She sang as forcefully and as beautifully as she did in the role of Sophie in the "Rosenkavalier," and much of the enthusiastic demonstration between the acts was certainly meant for her. Margaret Matzenauer is a magnificent Brünnhilde always. She was a stirring picture of glittering silver with the red robe a trailing flame behind her. She made a great deal of the contrast between the tenderness of her love for Wotan and her defiance, and her voice was always adequate to the tense emotional requirements even at the moments of extreme orchestral inflammation.

An unusually youthful and a singularly handsome Fricka was that of Jeanne Gordon. If she did not quite import into her scene with Wotan the mettle of an operatic Lady Macbeth, nevertheless she was a figure of salient pictorial and vocal consequence. The Valkyrs were a superb octet, rounding out a cast which was as strong as the Metropolitan Company is able to present for a Wagner performance.

The cloud and fire effects of the last act were a superlative achievement of stage management. It is safe to say that an Academy audience has not seen this panoramic climax more realistically presented.



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