The greatest Wagner Concert Ever!
R. Jessen | great music fan from Grand Island, NE | 08/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In February 1941, NBC broadcast what has turned out to be the greatest all Wagner broadcast ever! The unbeatable combination of Arturo Toscanini, the NBC Symphony in full cry, Helen Traubel, Lauritz Melchior and a rain soaked audience at Carnegie Hall created an evening to be remebered for all time. Helen Traubel, who was a complete unkown at the time, started off the vocal fireworks with a rapturous laden "Dich teure Halle!" Then there were the two gargantuan duets: the third scene from "Die Walkuere" and the duet from the first act "Die Goetterdaeemerung." Lauritz Melschior was at his finest that evening and, even if he missed a few notes in the latter duet, he also was in oustanding form. What blew the top off of Carnegie Hall was Traubel singing the "Immolation Scene" with more depth and beauty than the commerical release recorded a few days later. This concert was a turning point in her career and a superb audition for the Metropolitan Opera where she became the premiere interpreter of Wagnerian heroines. The sound of these performances is far more mellower than the official RCA releases and includes in edited form the announcers voice. An added bonus is a rehearsal of Act 1, scene 3 for a 1947 broadcast performance with Blanche Thebom and Svet Svanholm. No blow-ups from Toscanini who is far more patient with the players than legend would have us believe. All in all, this is a very historical recording, preserving not only Arturo Toscanini's way with Wagner's operas but also history making performances by the ideal Wagnerian tenor Lauritz Melchior and the equally reknowned Helen Traubel. No greater urging is necessary for these fabulous performances and performers!"