Götterdämmerung

Artur Bodanzky
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Date/Location
11 January 1936
Metropolitan Opera House New York
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
SiegfriedLauritz Melchior
BrünnhildeMarjorie Lawrence
GuntherFriedrich Schorr
GutruneDorothee Manski
AlberichEduard Habich
HagenLudwig Hofmann
WaltrauteKathryn Meisle
WoglindeEditha Fleischer
WellgundeIrra Petina
FloßhildeDoris Doe
1. NornDoris Doe
2. NornIrra Petina
3. NornDorothee Manski
Gallery
Reviews
Musicweb-International.com

Finally there is Götterdämmerung, another performance which is somewhat compromised by aural imperfection (principally some acetate wear and also a degree of fluctuation on the originals which has been well dealt with here by Ward Marston). This is the earliest of this Met cycle with commensurately the poorest sound but persevere because there are noble compensations. Chief amongst them is, needless to say, Melchior. He is in commanding voice with a brooding, gleaming and sonorous baritonal extension. His range is exceptional, his high C of cavalier brilliance, and the impersonation one of all encompassing variety and breadth. All the more valuable therefore is the fact that this seems to be his only surviving Götterdämmerung. Brünnhilde is Marjorie Lawrence and her famous splash in this role was to appear astride her horse Grane as she rides into immolation – a feat Wagner had sanctioned but no one before Lawrence had had the nerve to do. (And a feat to which the director and conductor both objected). Lawrence, then in her mid twenties possessed a lustrous and youthful sheen to her voice. The voice is strong but not overpowering; the compass is even but distinctly stronger in the middle and upper registers. Hers is an unusually mature understanding of the role, plaint and affectionate where necessary, rising to a peak of complex sensitivity for the Immolation scene. This Bodanzky takes at a pretty fearsome lick, exercising some tempo retardation later on – but his characteristic vitesse might be unwelcomingly bracing to some. Schorr’s Gunther is still magnetic to hear; when he and Melchior join vocal forces in the blood-brother duet the results are as thrilling as one would anticipate. German bass Ludwig Hofmann made his met debut in 1932 in this role and he proves a suitably cavernous Hagen, powerful without barking and no guttural impediments. Eduard Habich was fifty-six in 1937 but his insinuating Alberich is still impressive and he abjures easy characterisation. But the principal glory belongs to Melchior, Lawrence his worthy Brünnhilde.
Jonathan Woolf | 3 September 2003

Rating
(8/10)
User Rating
(4/5)
Media Type/Label
EJS
Naxos, Walhall, Archipel, OOA, (Sony)
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Technical Specifications
404 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 656 MByte (flac)
Remarks
Matinee broadcast
A production by Franz Hörth (1914)