[Met Performance] CID:98680
Lohengrin {359} Matinee ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 03/3/1928.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 3, 1928 Matinee


LOHENGRIN {359}

Lohengrin...............Walter Kirchhoff
Elsa....................Elisabeth Rethberg
Ortrud..................Karin Branzell
Telramund...............Friedrich Schorr
King Heinrich...........Michael Bohnen
Herald..................Everett Marshall
Page....................Unknown

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

Review of Charles Pike Sawyer in the New York Post

Rethberg and a Great Cast in a Splendid Performance of 'Lohengrin' at the Metropolitan Opera House

Every now and again, on most unexpected occasions, an orchestra conductor comes to the conclusion that the singers should have an opportunity to make themselves heard without rising on their tip toes and shouting out their arias at the top of their lungs and then audiences sit back and listen to opera or music drama given as the composer intended it should be. Several times of late that has happened at the Metropolitan Opera house and we have rejoiced with exceeding joy.

Following the footsteps of Serafin, who gave us one of the best performances of "Siegfried" in years by permitting the singers to bring out all the lyric beauty of that score the other day, Bodanzky did the same thing with "Lohengrin" Saturday afternoon and we reveled in one of those rare occasions where everybody was in good voice, the orchestra had its proper place in the performance and all was as right as right could be. All honor to Bodanzky, who outdid himself in repression and gave the exquisite music every bit of its charm. Maybe the other directors will follow the lead of this pair - let us hope the reform is permanent - and the nights will be filled with music.

Of course the singers rose to the occasion every last one of them. They always do under such circumstances. Then, too, was not Elisabeth Rethberg back in the fold to lead as great a sextet as had ever been gathered together for that opera. They seemed inspired from the very outset. It was evident from the playing of the Prelude that Bodanzky was going to be good to them and to us. It was beautifully given. A promise of better things to come and they surely came.

Never has Mme. Rethberg been in better voice or spirits and she acted and sang most gloriously. All the lovely quality of that exquisite voice was there. She sang with rare judgment and expression, even the softest of tones reaching every ear, and when the occasion demanded, her resonant, liquid tones rang through the house, powerful without forcing, a rare treat. And how she played it.

The despair when the call for her champion was unanswered was utter; it was the very art of expression and then, when Lohngrin's motif came surging through the music, the lighting of that mobile face in rejoicing was of rare beauty. It was a completely satisfying Elsa. What more could be desired?

And Bohnen's King Henry was another fine bit of acting. He was every inch the King, while his singing was with his wonted ease and beauty of tone. Then there was a most delightful Telramund in Friedrich Schorr, a villain if there ever was one and a singer, too. Ortrud, in the capable hands of Karin Branzell, pleased too, and Everett Marshall did his full share of the singing as the Herald.

Then, urged to his best by the company he was in, Walther Kirchhoff sang as he rarely has sung, that "Swan Song" being given with great beauty of voice and expression, while his "Elsa, ich liebe dich" was as real as it could be. His acting was better than at any time since he joined the Metropolitan Company. And that chorus sang as only they can sing - the greatest chorus in the world. It was a "Lohengrin" long to be remembered.



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