[Met Performance] CID:97650
Lohengrin {357} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/19/1927.


Metropolitan Opera House
December 19, 1927


Lohengrin...............Rudolf Laubenthal
Elsa....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Ortrud..................Margarete Matzenauer
Telramund...............Clarence Whitehill
King Heinrich...........Richard Mayr
Herald..................Lawrence Tibbett

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

Review of Grena Bennett in the American

Elisabeth Rethberg Wins New Laurels in 'Lohengrin'

A brilliant performance of "Lohengrin" was given at the Metropolitan Opera House last night. Interest centered in the Elsa of Elisabeth Rethberg, who has been absent from America until two days ago. Her impersonation of the heroine was unforgettably lovely in every detail. Her vocalism has ever been (that is, since she joined the organization) one of the boasts of the opera company and one of the delights of the subscribers. She was at the peak of her art last evening and sang with the quality, style and judgment that have placed her among the prime vocalists of the day,

Excepting for the unbeautiful top notes, Rudolf Laubenthal's portrayal of Lohengrin was admirable. Clarence Whitehill, fully recovered from a recent illness, sang Telramund with fine resonance and unusually good quality. Dramatically it was forceful and convincingly malignant. Matching this latter detail was the Ortrud of Margaret Matzenauer, whose tone of velvety richness never fell more engagingly on the listener's ear.

Lawrence Tibbett returned to the role of the lusty-voiced Herald, and each uttered note registered robustly. The role of King Henry, as presented by Richard Mayr, was dominating, dignified and regally sympathetic. The beauty and eloquence of the score were revealed in a masterly manner by the orchestra, guided by Artur Bodanzky.

From the review of Noel Straus in the New York World

The performance of "Lohengrin" at the Metropolitan last night ran into snags well into the second act of an uninspiring presentation. Obviously the opera had not been rehearsed sufficiently. Considering how many times practically the identical cast has been heard in the work, it was surprising how rough and lame much of the performance sounded.

Even Elisabeth Rethberg, whose Elsa is easily the finest the Broadway opera house has to offer nowadays, did not manage to bring to her interpretation the grandeur of outline that usually graces it, although she adorned the role with a plentitude of excellent vocalism. This artist, who was making her first appearance of the season, received an ovation after the first act. But in spite of her exalted rendition of the "Dream," it soon became evident that she was a bit unstrung by the series of mishaps which had delayed her return from abroad until the last possible moment. Not until her duet with Mme. Matzenauer in the second act did she gain command of the full glory of her voice - too late to give effectiveness to the opera as a complete organism. But had it not been for her the production would have been a total loss.

Throughout the first act Mr. Bodanzky, whose rhythms were often eccentric, seemed at his wit's end to keep his forces together. There was a constant tug of war between the orchestra and the singers, which increased in vehemence as the action advanced, until with the "Prayer," in which all of the principals were off key, such confusion arose that a fiasco was inevitable.

Aside from Miss Rethberg the only other member of the cast whose efforts deserve special mention was Mr. Tibbett, who lent distinction to the role of the Herald. Mme. Matzenauer was uneven and often ran out of oxygen as Ortrud, but attracted attention by her new costumes, especially the peacock blue raiment with which she embellished herself in the [first] act. The other parts were sung in routine style.

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