[Met Performance] CID:86740
Die Walküre {205} Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/11/1924.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 11, 1924


DIE WALKÜRE {205}

Brünnhilde..............Karin Branzell
Siegmund................Curt Taucher
Sieglinde...............Elisabeth Rethberg
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Marion Telva
Hunding.................William Gustafson
Gerhilde................Phradie Wells
Grimgerde...............Marion Telva
Helmwige................Mary Mellish
Ortlinde................Laura Robertson
Rossweisse..............Flora Perini
Schwertleite............Kathleen Howard
Siegrune................Grace Anthony
Waltraute...............Henriette Wakefield

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Inquirer

'DIE WALKÜURE'

An Excellent Performance of Wagner's Music Drama by New York Company

Beyond paying a hearty tribute to its excellence and warmly recognizing the high value of several abilities which it engaged, there is not a great deal necessary to be said about the performance of "Die Walküre," given at the Academy of Music last evening by the company of the New York Metropolitan Opera under Mr. Artur Bodanzky's appreciative and illuminating directions. Its news feature was the first local appearance of Mme. Karen Branzell, who sustained the part of Brünnhilde, and of whom it may be recorded that in verifying the glowing reports by which her coming here had been preceded, she achieved a distinct success. If she did not quite attain to the artistic stature of Lilli Lehmann or Lillian Nordica, she proved herself in an impersonation which was notably vital, authoritative and picturesque, one of the best Brünnhildes of the contemporary stage, and there is no doubt that she produced a decidedly favorable impression.

Her voice, while of agreeable timbre and ample range, is not quite so voluminous as one could wish, and at the outset it seemed as though it might not be equal to the demands of Wagner's exorbitantly exacting score, but it gained in strength as the performance proceeded, and the sense of effort which was at first communicated entirely passed away. Other Brünnhildes have been more heroic and more broadly dramatic, but that of Mme. Branzell, in its dignity and passion and sincerity, and in the intensity of feeling by which it was inspired, was singularly fine. She stressed the human rather than the supernatural aspects of the character and made Wotan's favorite daughter a convincing and sympathetic figure.

No less satisfying with her different opportunities and within her narrower limits, was that charming artist Mme. Elizabeth Rethberg, in the role of Sieglinde. She admirably expressed the poetry and pathos of this naturally sympathetic part and invested it with qualities of tenderness and devotion which were powerfully appealing. Her voice is a beautiful one and she uses it with a high degree of skill so that nothing of the significance of the music was missed in her interpretation of it. Jeanne Gordon, in a demure gray costume, which might better have been blue, was a sufficiently imperious and virtuously indignant Fricka, and the parts of the Valkyries who contribute so much to the impressiveness of the drama were all competently taken.

Of the men, the most notable and praiseworthy was Friedrich Schorr, whose Wotan, both musically and dramatically, was an admirable performance. Schorr's voice is so rich and round and clear, and is an exceptionally good one and, besides being an accomplished singer, he is an actor of much more that ordinary talent. The familiar Siegmund of Curt Taucher was no less satisfactory than ever, and while William Gustafson's bass is hardly heavy enough for the part of Hunding, he succeeded in investing this sinister character with an appropriate ruggedness and force. Mr. Bodanzky kept the orchestra well in hand, not allowing it to overpower the singers, and the full message of the illuminative accompaniment was eloquently and helpfully conveyed.



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