[Met Performance] CID:90040
Götterdämmerung {92} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/3/1925.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 3, 1925


GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG {92}

Brünnhilde..............Berta Morena [Last performance]
Siegfried...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Gunther.................Carl Schlegel
Gutrune.................Charlotte Ryan
Hagen...................Michael Bohnen
Waltraute...............Karin Branzell
Alberich................Gustav Schützendorf
First Norn..............Marion Telva
Second Norn.............Henriette Wakefield
Third Norn..............Marcella Röseler
Woglinde................Laura Robertson
Wellgunde...............Phradie Wells
Flosshilde..............Marion Telva
Vassal..................Max Altglass
Vassal..................Arnold Gabor

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

Review of Lawrence Gilman in the Tribune

A New Brünnhilde in 'Götterdämmerung' at the Opera

According to official pronouncements, Mr. Curt Taucher, the Metropolitan's heroic tenor, is the only singer alive who is available for the rôle of Tristan in the original tongue. If Mr. Taucher had met his death, instead of merely breaking a finger and shaking himself up generally, when he fell through a [trap door] in the stage at the Metropolitan not long ago, we should have had to wait for years, perhaps for generations, until another tenor as exceptional as Mr. Taucher grew up from a supposititious babyhood and learned to sing "Ach Isolde! Wie schön bist du!" the way that Mr. Taucher does.

Figure to yourself, therefore, the pricelessness of Mr. Taucher. On him depends the retention in the Metropolitan's répertoire of the greatest of all music-dramas. If Mr. Taucher does not receive a bank president's salary, he should certainly strike for a raise without delay. Surely he is the world's most precious tenor. For he is not only the one tenor in the Metropolitan company who can sing Tristan; he is the only tenor alive, so we are told, who sings the rôle well enough to be presentable. An astounding situation, and an alarming one. Those who love "Tristan" can only pray that Mr. Taucher will be indefinitely spared to us - at least until the oncoming generation of opera singers gives us a new lyric deal.

Last night, for the second time this season, Mr. Taucher's indisposition caused a postponement of an announced performance of "Tristan und Isolde." A few weeks ago the opera was withdrawn because of Mr. Taucher's famous accident in "Siegfried." Last night "Tristan" was again postponed because Mr. Taucher had contracted a coryza, probably in the Wolf's Glen of "Freischütz" last Saturday afternoon, the dampest and least salubrious spot in all German opera. So it fell out that "Tristan" was shelved again, and "Götterdämmerung" was put on in its stead, with the obliging Mr. Laubenthal as Siegfried.

The central feature of the occasion was however the return to the Metropolitan of Mme. Bertha Morena, the Munich soprano, whose reappearance the performance of "Tristan und Isolde" had been prepared. But, failing Taucher, Mme. Morena obliged to put aside her Isolde for the present, and last night she was heard as Brünnhilde of the "Ring's" concluding drama. Mme. Morena, who hails from the Munich State Opera, returns as guest after a long absence from the Metropolitan. She made her first appearance there on March 4, 1908 as Sieglinde in a performance of "Die Walküre"directed by Gustav Mahler; and thereafter she sang Elizabeth, Elsa, Santuzza and other rôles; but her "Götterdämmerung" Brünnhilde was heard here for the first time last night.

Mme. Morena was known seventeen years ago as one of the most beautiful sopranos on the operatic stage, and she is still a woman of striking and gracious presence. She has a certain eloquence of pose and gesture, and in the scene of her parting from the most witless of Wagnerian juveniles, Siegfried the Volsung, she achieved some expressive effects of pantomime. But she lacks repose. Her movements in the great scene of the second act were almost epileptic in their distorting violence, and her facial indications were unpleasantly exaggerated. Her voice was formerly remarkable for clear beauty of its upper register, but a good deal of this quality has disappeared. Mme. Morena, perhaps through a pardonable nervousness, treated Wagner's intervals last night with somewhat too distant a politeness - she almost came to grief in "Welches Unhold's List." But Mme. Morena has fervor, and her hair is very lovely.

The outstanding feature of the performance - after Mr. Bodanzky's puissantly dramatic reading of the orchestral score - was Mr. Bohnen's stunning Hagen, in which last night he surpassed himself. Charlotte Ryan took Miss Müller's place as Gutrune, and Carl Schlegel substituted for Mr. Schorr as Gunther. Neither change was an improvement. The rest of the cast was that heard in earlier performances of "Götterdämmerung" this season.



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