[Met Performance] CID:210650

Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, June 14, 1967

Review 1:

Review of Harriett Johnson in the Post

Gruemmer Makes Debut as Elsa

The late Wieland Wagner's production of his grandfather's "Lohengrin" watches over the 10th century with a modern eye and medieval inspiration. Launched last December, it returned to the Metropolitan Opera last night with a new Elsa - the German soprano, Elisabeth Gruemmer, in her Met debut with the company at home. This spring she had sung the role on tour.

The production's dominating concave, blue-green stained-glass window is background for a fluidity of action that magnetically draws the characters into the legendary and symbolic web. They are in it as irrevocably as the sections of the window's design are bound by the simulated lead; and Miss Gruemmer was throughout very much a part of this closeness.

For years she has been well known in Europe, including Bayreuth, and last spring she made her local debut with the N. Y. City Opera singing the Marschallin in Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier"

Miss Gruemmer is a first-class musician with a solidly grounded style and considerable gifts as an actress. Her tears, both of sorrow and of joy, were real, and her entire interpretation had this quality of conviction. She sang with style and intensity though her voice was not notable for its beauty nor its manner of presentation. At times she had a vibrato so marked it became a tremolo. She also had a tendency to disperse her naturally sweet quality into diffuseness, or coat it with tarnish. Yet, despite this, Miss Gruemmer came across as an artist of intelligence and persuasiveness.

Joseph Rosenstock conducted with authority and a sensitive comprehension of the score's nuances and its power. The supporting cast in leading roles was superb; Sandor Konya as Lohengrin, Irene Delis as Ortrud, Walter Cassel as Telramund, John Macurdy as King Henry.

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