Wagner with Traubel & Melchior

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Two of the greatest Wagnerians of the 20th century in America were tenor Lauritz Melchior and soprano Kirsten Flagstad. But when World War II called Flagstad back to her native Norway, an American soprano emerged, almost miraculously, to take her place. George presents the “oceanic voice” of Helen Traubel and that of the arguably greatest Wagnerian tenor in Met history.

Götterdämmerung:
Prologue:  “Willst du mir Minne schenke”
Helen Traubel, soprano; Lauritz Melchior, tenor;
Arturo Toscanini, conductor; NBC Symphony Orchestra

Götterdämmerung:
Act III:  Immolation Scene
Traubel; Toscanini; NBC Symphony Orchestra

Lohengrin:
Act I:  “Einsam in trüben Tage” (Elsa's Dream)
Traubel; Artur Rodzinski, conductor; New York Philharmonic

Tristan und Isolde
Act I:  “Erfuhrest du meine Schmach” (Isolde's Narrative)
Traubel; Rodzinski; New York Philharmonic

Tristan und Isolde
Act II:  “O König”
Melchior; Erich Leinsdorf, conductor; unnamed orchestra

Tristan und Isolde
Act III: “O diese Sonne!”
Melchior; Herbert Janssen, baritone;
Roberto Kinsky, conductor; Buenos Aires Teatro Colón Orchestra

Tristan und Isolde
Act III:  “Mild und leise wie er lächelt" (Liebestod)
Traubel; Rodzinski; New York Philharmonic

Comments [10]

Susanne Servin from Tuckahoe, NY

I too join all those listeners who want to hear the rest of the George Jelinek programs. There must be -- what -- over 300 of them?
Susanne Servin from Westchester County

Oct. 17 2011 01:44 PM
Edgardo from Buenos Aires

Desde Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Considero esta serie de gran calidad artística. No podrían ustedes continuarla con más capítulos?
Gracias

Aug. 13 2010 04:05 PM
Sheila Browne from New York City

I join all those listeners who want to hear the rest of the George Jelinek programs. There must be -- what -- over 300 of them?

What precious listening hours they have afforded this past June and July!

Please, please, please, make them a regular part of WQXR programming. You'll have lots of listeners!

Aug. 05 2010 12:38 PM
mike from Bronx

Hello and thanks again for the Jellinek programs. I wrote several weeks ago, urging continuation of this tribute. I note in the comments above that I am not the only person who would appreciate a continuation, on a permanent basis. Where else do we have such an engaging, knowledgeable musician with a vast collection of excerpts to underscore his discussion of music and artists? Please count up the letters, and evaluate in our favor.

Thank you.

Aug. 04 2010 05:51 PM
David McKellar from SANTA MONICA

thank you george jellinek for reminding us just how truly brilliant america s greatest wagnerian soprano was!

Aug. 01 2010 01:31 AM

There is absolutely no reason that WQXR cannot keep re-airing this program. I mean, look at Charles Schultz comic strip, "Peanuts". we now have "Classic Peanuts". Every day.

Jul. 31 2010 03:50 PM
susanne servin from Westchester County

I absolutely adored your bringing back Georg Jelineck. Can you keep on doing it - it is a true highlight of the day for many of your listeners, myself included.
Or do you have DVD's with some excerpt's for sale?
thank you,
Susanne Servin

Jul. 31 2010 01:02 PM
kenneth Bdennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NI

I knew the Melchiors, Lauritz and his diminutive wife "Kleinchen" since 1943, when I first attended "Met" performances. Kleinchen told me months before it became public, that Toscanini had relented and permitted the release commercially by Victor on "78s"of the "Goetterdaemmerung" Prologue in which Melchior and Traubel were in top form. The Buenos Aires' Teatro Colon recording of Melchior's Act 3 "O diese Sonne" was made in the auditorium without audience, with Teatro Colon's own favorite Wagner Maestro Roberto Kinsky. The complete Act 3 was similarly recorded with Maestro Erich Leinsdorf as "guest" sharing the honors, directorially with Maestro Kinsky. Melchior bragged to me that he would whisper under his breath as the deceased Tristan while the "Liebestod" was sung by Traubel, "Hurry it up I'm thirsty for my whiskey." Melchior played the good-hearted clown all his life!

Jul. 31 2010 12:56 PM
Michael Meltzer

During your week of "Mahler-go-round," an artist (and a recording) that fell through the cracks was Kirsten Flagstad, who recorded the Kindertotenlieder and the Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen, I think with Sir Adrian Boult.
Even in recording, that incredible voice set everything in your room into vibration, including your wrist watch and keys, and gave a new definition to the word "singing." The performance was intensely and profoundly moving, particularly the Kindertotenlieder with its dread subject matter.
It MUST be in the WQXR archive, do look for it.

Jul. 30 2010 05:28 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from www.WagnerOpera.com

Luckily, I was born at the "right" time in the "right place" to hear Melchior, Traubel, Flagstad and Svanholm at the "Met" Opera in their prime.
I started going to the "Met" at age 15 in 1943, "going" Family Circle standing room two to three times weekly at 75 cents. Downstairs on the parterre floor it was $1.25. I was composing at age 12 and, with hopes of singing professionally, eventually Wagner, when i'd "grow up" memorizing all the male leading roles, from age 12. I would go backstage after the performances and talk with the singers and conductors. Melchior had a corset of his own making, enormous, hanging on the wall. He told me, "without that I would not be able to control my breathing as well, and I feel that I am better looking with less of a stomach". Melchior was so larger than life in his lifestyle, a hunter for deer, one of which was adapted for his Siegfried and Siegmund costumes, and an acquvite, whiskey, that could make the wine drinking Falstaff jealous. Helen Traubel studied with Vetta-Karst and at student recitals sang ":Caro nome." Robert Malone, with whom I studied voice studied with Vetta-Karst and supplied Newsweek magazine with a picture of Vetta Karst and himself for a major article on Traubel.
During her career at the "Met" Traubel had trouble with singing above a high B flat. She would turn upstage and sing a high note that she wasn't sure that she could sng well and sing it to the back of the stage. BUT, she had a great, gorgeous voice and her personality, like Melchior's was outgoing as were the humor talents of both those incredible stars.
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Wagnerian heldentenor, cpmposer:"Shakespeare" & "The Politcal Shakespeare"and director, the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. Website: WagnerOpera.com, where 37 complete selections from my 4 main hall Carnegie Hall solo concerts may be downloaded FREE at "Recorded Selections"

Jul. 30 2010 01:53 PM

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