[Met Performance] CID:95630
Siegfried {135} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/1/1927.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 1, 1927


SIEGFRIED {135}

Siegfried...............Walter Kirchhoff
Brünnhilde..............Florence Easton
Wanderer................Michael Bohnen
Erda....................Karin Branzell
Mime....................George Meader
Alberich................Gustav Schützendorf
Fafner..................William Gustafson
Forest Bird.............Editha Fleischer

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

Review (unsigned) in the Philadelphia Bulletin

Metropolitan Gives 'Siegfried' With Success at Academy of Music

The superb vocal and histrionic performance of Walter Kirchhoff, a new tenor of the Metropolitan Opera Company, in the title role of "Siegfried," played a conspicuous part in the success attending the presentation of Richard Wagner's music drama, the third of the Nibelungen "Ring Cycle," at the Academy of Music last night. Kirchhoff, sometimes alone and sometimes with one or more of his colleagues, responded to seventeen curtain calls during the evening - seven after his spirited rendition of the "Sword Song" in the first act; six after the second act Forest Scene, and four at the end. It was a surprising demonstration, elicited chiefly by the surprise of a tenor who could actually sing the role.

Kirchhoff's voice, of genuine tenor quality, was subtly colored to suit the dramatic or lyrical demands as they occurred. The wide compass of the music was achieved with full-throated ease and excellent tone placement. The sustained high notes came forth full and free in marked contrast to the whooping and choking which have been heard at previous performances during recent years. In acting the part, he made the Fearless One a reckless, blithe and headstrong youth, and his love scene was essayed with a physical vigor that brought gasps from those who are accustomed to see a reverential wooing in the manner of "Tristan und Isolde."

George Meader's tenor voice was excellent in the part of the malicious dwarf, Mime, and Michael Bohnen sang with resonance and fine effect in the part of The Wanderer. His duet with Karin Branzell, whose contralto was admirably attuned to the music of Erda, was notably fine. Florence Easton's Brünnhilde was capably sung, but lacked the fire and feeling that Kirchhoff infused into his music. Editha Fleischer as the Voice of the Forest Bird, displayed good tone, but was not always in accord with the orchestra. As Fafner, the dragon, William Gustafson, basso, sang with his accustomed skill and sly humor that enhanced the scene between Siegfried and the guardian of the Ring.

Artur Bodanzky conducted with fine authority and the brisk pace required if the stage action is not to lag. The playing of the strings was notably fine in the Forest scene. All in all, the performance was probably the best "Siegfried" Philadelphia has heard in a number of years.



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