[Met Performance] CID:92530
Die Walküre {216} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 02/23/1926.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
February 23, 1926


DIE WALKÜRE {216}

Brünnhilde..............Nanny Larsén-Todsen
Siegmund................Lauritz Melchior
Sieglinde...............Maria Müller
Wotan...................Friedrich Schorr
Fricka..................Marion Telva
Hunding.................William Gustafson
Gerhilde................Phradie Wells
Grimgerde...............Marion Telva
Helmwige................Marcella Röseler
Ortlinde................Laura Robertson
Rossweisse..............Ina Bourskaya
Schwertleite............Kathleen Howard
Siegrune................Raymonde Delaunois
Waltraute...............Henriette Wakefield

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

Review of Linton Martin in the Philadelphia North American

'DIE WALKÜRE' GREATLY GIVEN

Lauritz Melchior, Danish Tenor, and Maria Müller Are Superb

Schorr and Larsen-Todsen Also Excellent in Flame-Tipped Performance

Searching for the sun with a flickering candle would be about as appropriate as employing the usual adjectives to do justice to last night's performance of "Die Walküre" in the Academy by the Metropolitan Opera Company. Great works are so seldom greatly given, because of the exceptional artistry required, as compared with the ease with which the average inferior opera may be presented, that there is occasion for celebration when a performance reached the Himelayan heights attained at times last night in what is unquestionably the most satisfying music drama from the entire cycle of the "Nibelungen Ring" tetralogy.

If warmth of musical emotions registered on the thermometer, it would have been mid-August in the Academy last night, however icy outside, at the height of the passionate love scene between Siegmund and Sieglinde in the first act. Such a first act of "Die Walküre" has assuredly not been given here in years and years, if ever before, and this was due to the superb equipment and artistry, vocal, histrionic and with something of the spirit brought to that ecstatic duet by Maria Müller and Lauritz Melchior. The two superlative artists almost swamped the rest of the cast, which included that truly heroic baritone, Friedrich Schorr, as Wotan, and Nanny Lasrsen-Todsen, whose Brünnhilde was well received, but which was not comparable on any count to several others of excellence such as Matzenauer.

This is not to say that Larsen-Todsen and the others did not give good performances, even though she "flatted" persistently and her voice lacked sound support required in so heroic a role. Indeed, Mr. Schorr also strayed but it was not so apparent because of the ringing richness and resonance of his magnificent voice. William Gustafson was far more than a pertumetory barbarian as Hunding, and Marion Telva, substituting for Julia Claussen as "Mrs. Grundyesque" Fricka, upheld all the traditions of the role. The French horn must have been thinking of "Lucia" or "Dinorah" early in the first act.

Hitherto the combination love and spring song of Siegmund has been considered Siegmund's. Last night it was Maria Müller who gave it its real significance by her eloquent acting. Her lovely voice, brimming with color and power, with her acting, made her performance irresistible. There was something unalterably poignant in her appearance in the duet, and even more so in the second act. She is alluring to the eye, and her casual leopard skin was so niftily of 1926, that one almost expected her to exhibit a shingle bob, and get out a compact and lipstick to "make up."

But those arts were not needed on the new Siegmund, the Danish tenor, Lauritz Melchior, who sang the role for the first time with the Metropolitan here on this occasion. He has a magnificent voice, splendidly employed, and there was ample eloquence in his acting as well, with something finely heroic. He made a splendid impression.

Artur Bodanzky at the conductor's stand shared heavily in the dazzling brilliance of the performance. It was a vital and elastic reading.

"It never rains but it pours." But a most welcome deluge is the news that one Wagner work is to follow another when "Tannhäuser" is given as the next performance next Tuesday.



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