[Met Performance] CID:82810
Die Walküre {198} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/13/1923.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 13, 1923


DIE WALKÜRE {198}

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

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

Review of Oscar Thompson in Musical America

Much had been heard from abroad of the Wotan of Paul Bender and although the Metropolitan has had in Clarence Whitehill's nobly proportioned study of the troubled Norse god a Wotan not likely to be soon surpassed, there was lively interest in the big German artist's first American assumption of the character Saturday night. As thus disclosed, it was a sympathetic and richly matured impersonation, stressing the human side of the character rather more heavily than elements of godhood, and notable for its synchronization of gesture, pose and movement to the musical phrase. There were some indications that the bass was not in his best voice and his singing was of variable tonal quality, with some suggestions both of throatiness and of forcing, but it was singing almost infallibly expressive. Mr. Bender did not succeed in making the farewell as moving as it had been at other recent performances of the music drama, but his treatment of the scene of Hunding's death was altogether impressive. In appearance, his huge frame, though of somewhat too ample girth, aided him in his impressive portrayal.

Elisabeth Rethberg again sang the music of Sieglinde with lovely voice. Margarete Matzenauer was once more a Brünnhilde of commanding presence, vocally more successful with lower levels of the music, as in the scene with Siegmund, than with phrases which carried her to soprano heights. Curt Taucher's Siegmund had routine but little beauty of voice to commend it. William Gustafson, returning to the role of Hunding, which had been entrusted to Mr. Bender at earlier performances this season, projected his music creditably. He was not altogether successful in his efforts to relate bodily movements to orchestral commentaries or cues, and he can profit by observing Mr. Bender, a past master of this phase of Wagnerian art. Jeanne Gordon sang pleasurably as Fricka. The eight remaining Valkyries were Mary Mellish, Charlotte Ryan, Laura Robertson Flora Perini, Grace Bradley, Henriette Wakefield, Raymonde Delaunois and Kathleen Howard. Artur Bodanzky conducted. There were moments when the orchestral pace seemed to trouble Wotan quite as much as Fricka's adjurations.



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