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The following program was produced for national educational radio under a grant from the National Home Library Foundation by W. B U R Boston. Boston University radio presents Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from 1893 to 1966 the. World. War. World. Your posts are miles past indie music critic in the New York World Journal Tribune. And noton cross.
Although the Metropolitan's 1923 season opened with a performance of mess and these tell us the main attraction of the year was German opera. For the first time since World War 1 the Metropolitan repertoire contained a full complement of German works sung in the original language. Some of the impetus for their reinstatement came from the highly successful performances given by the old German company that visited New York during the previous season. Whatever the causes though few people would have denied that this artistic state of war had gone on far too long and the armistice was welcomed with enthusiasm. Fortunately because as I had already engaged a number of very capable artists who specialized to some extent in German opera. Until now they hadn't been able to display their talents very often but there were to be many opportunities in the years ahead. The German repertory for this season included the fry shoots
martyr Lohengrin tunnel as Tristan Parsifal Meister singer and the ring an important newcomer made her debut as frick in the performance of Val Curie on February 6 1924. The singer was the notable Swedish contralto Catherine brands and this was the start of a Grand Metropolitan career of 21 seasons. During this time Madame brands Alex elde in leading roles from the German French and Italian repertory. On some occasions she was required to demonstrate even further versatility by singing soprano role. Let's listen now as Madame brands our reviews or experiences at the Metropolitan. She talks with the producer of these programs Richard Calhoun your career with the Metropolitan really began in Europe. You took your own my own and I went and I sang but I was not in a
good voice. So I went back to Berkeley in fact you know I was very late so I went back to singing. And next year I went to a performance in Delhi the director of the actors came to me and say that Mr putdowns was to conduct that if he was in the office to listen to this performance and he had seen me. So then the next door said to me please calm down. So I went down and said hello. I've never seen him before. And then he said to me I want to hear you sing again I said no I can't sing I can't sing in addition.
I think sure bad I was awful in Vienna bought the turkey talk and then I said OK I will do it. So the next morning at 11:00 I even went to a doctor of course I was nervous and then I went there and I sang for him and I was in the good voice and I sang parked our van nearest you know either so we should you all from like your conduct how to tone down. Then I was saying whoa you're talking all from I'm from Britain the elders while you're talking in the Bible if you are and I don't remember voters saying war. But after a few weeks I got my five years contract to the metropolitan that meant I went to Sweden to see in concert and I didn't tell one saw in Sweden when I
didn't. Never heard tell anything before you have a thing in your hand. Right it can never. So then I got the telegram from Mr. Assad of the malice Chernev or an agent of the all that I was engaged in I got my contract and then I put it in the paper but in the Swedish paper and then you came on to America right in there in German law in 1924 I went to America and it was a horrible cross she had of it and I wasn't seasick funny to say but I thought I would never go here again. So then you met Garry when you got to New York. When I came to barely two were new we all then I went to see dawn to see God because us.
And I was just in and it was a very wonderful feeling to go in that hole and I was so grateful and so happy that I could seem that well all of these great singer had been singing kind of who saw this scene. It said all of them and then I came into Mystica and he asked the cliff Bronson I said it was horrible. Then he said to me he had a big book in this big book he had written down who is seeing this and that and he looked in his book and as he said to me your debut with the 6th of February you sing finished got involved here and said all that is one and then he said eight this will be in the boardroom. And then nearly fell down. That's closure.
And I said No please change that. It's just terrible for me to seem such a good day to all after so short. After my debut. And he said something then that it's not a thing I can do for you including lost his book and the last time I was so scared I would look at Tom I would but of course I sang and I must have been pretty good. I think you were promoted. Yes and then here he was a wonderful person you know enough that their first performance for these two performances he was really my go to them as long as he was in the Metropolitan. And when I was saying one of the greatest story I think the greatest role for a company out there is still a
profet. Yes. When I sang that. He came the next day to me and said Brad our country now knows the first complement. Yeah and when I sang The later on THE NEXT YEAR I sang for three guys in the Brooklyn and Berlin was appalled and Brynhild there was Julia Cloud City and she came in to me in the dressing room and said Caryn I'm hoarse I'm sick. I've said my hour so they have to begin the second arc with the duet between birth town in Philly and Vulcan both full name and I was freaking out and we sang every bit of the scene and then I walked out and I have a speech to chick lit and she said to me pretty nearly so sick she's so hoarse she can't sing so
you have to sing the third I have to finish in the second half to finish in the three and I did it when you had a number of other experiences in Wagner operas in the suite free will. Yes there you hear. He fall down. You fall down two flights through a trap door. Yes. Told her you're not suddenly here this is this dark on the stage and he stepped the M4 down he must have been a wall or something and nobody you know did he broke a finger. That puts all went off. Didn't tell anybody. Only the people who saw it you're doing and saying the hole after we had no idea. All the senior in the open I don't something and I hadn't xperience tool would freak out when I was sick but I was during a lot of elements that lets you
know your name under the table and I can see your today standing in the wings with shorter and took Beaumaris short took tried to to help me yawn or the standing of wing in there. They had so little voice. What happened. Oh my God. Gallbladder began I got a terrible pain and I couldn't stand on my legs so I just could roll over and sat down on that. To Chad or as the one you've called on Lost a view of the rock for a vote they sit you know and seeing Stu Brint here today and saying My golden rule. And after that after I was finished I stood up and I walked over the stage and then are trained to finish the phone would ring. Yes but I managed to peek through everything because I
couldn't give full voice you know. You never know what I have I have that book sell some book further on the performances in the pictures and the ecliptic so that I found out my Click Fix for the focus for conformant. You didn't keep any of that. No you're right I haven't I have thrown away everything. Why do you feel I don't need them anymore. Ya it's silly you know I have to vote but I've told you all that. In that book that are something you know I've got the critic from three and from blue from the truth is in that book. What about the time Schumann I returned. You are saying a lot of our royal lowered team was wonder 26 she came back she was around a foot and she sang
of course she sang by sheer ball and then she sang secretly and it was she was marvelous just wonderful. You saying she came to see you once again. You came in to me in the dressing it almost turned off but I'm fairly sure I suppose to have such a good how enormous she said to me she spoke a little bit saw English in German and sought to Sue and I still have that picture. I have her picture what with the day when she sang her my shipboard time secretly no wrangling. So were you particularly well-known for your high notes. Nor I don't think so. MORE THAN I LOVE think that the best of my voice was the opera medium. You know me after that and then the law.
I do you know my have you heard my Oreck Yes you know I go I go off to be fly and go down to our shop. But a good rain you know where you're from what we've been saying now it sounds as if you did nothing but the Wagnerian roles but of course the 1930 you opened the season in Aida with Martin not only that you are the efforts to merge Chicago. Yes in the Metropolitan. But in Chicago at the plate. But then also I know that we're not in there. And when I did the first year in two weeks I sang America in the ether and I sang. A French ballerina and I had never said so on the roll before never. And as in your first week in the food. No no I was the last to to last weeks it was their
first time. Amir is the first day he does. Then I sang Prange and then attend program Torah and that was the last performance of the first year and then I then I saying well wrought upon Solaire Martinelli and the nice air and the year after I sang larger Khandaan louder with Julie were the result of consoler that was wonderful. She was for me something very very great. I just I used to go down to the Metropolitan and she was singing and just listen to an aria or something. She was mobbed. We sang with her quite a bit to get the dirt in the beginning you know and then what was it more I wanted to tell. Yes I should speak about
trucks. But you think so. That was 1935 I think she came. Yes yes I think it is I think yeah and of course then everything changed. Well that's when you really just to get your answer. We sang we shine only Wagner and the marvelous performers rock star Mary Short shot that was terrific and then I sang the first electron clip them they're strong. Well that's right. I did that. Yes. I was that to what I tell you I sang it twice but never more so when I came back to I got nearly got hoarse but they did something to put me on the Aida. One performance and the next day Electra The next day
after a electron. I mean Cliff the mess and that is so hard and so terrible and I don't know it was too much for me. I remember the Aida because shopping came up to me after my performance and complimented me. And then I went home and kept quiet and was very very careful not to speak to my team went down and sang electromagnet did you put your doctors there know I was Scott Horsley you know it just so much chest voice in the Lord. Did you enjoy singing the court or not going to do know your prophetic You know it was for me it was very hard. I had a heart but I know that I sang it very beautiful. And even the critics said that that beautiful song but not could they. I
wasn't enough to obey I suppose. Was there any of your parts that you like particular noise say that I couldn't say you wonder or I know most of all the people they love my brand gained their pluck stand even say in her book. I mean in the last book. That was the best but I don't care. That's quite a compliment. She said I know many and I mean of course but I think another thing I think. Go to Demerol vials. I love to do it. I love Carmen. Just one before and I sang it very good. I know that. Did you do it often. I did as I say very often. Just think about you know your right know how can they then never heard me and I was really like a big I mean I was a
big girl in song you know. I had great success in Europe. But you know what you never did it here. I never did it I had it in the contract but that was so many people in common so I went to Mr. Garfield said Do I have to learn it. It's a terrible book. You know on my rollers I sang in Sweden first in Swedish. Oh and then we had to have oh no no everything in German column and was the worst thing in the world. Good German so hot. And then I have to say when I came to the metropolitan I have to sing it in in the original you know even Italian and in French and sort of another story I have. We would like to hear that. One colleague is famous one by her but I can't. She says she sang here the year before to me. And she came back to believe and she told me Caryn.
Dong call to Amirica 50 have lawn you are all so human knowing everything you know you know you know it. That time we all thought we had to come to America we have to have all kinds of fine dresses and hats and so on every part I did too you know. But she gave me a quote of advice she said to me was Holeman learn your rules start much more important to call her but when you do Nessus and so on. Did you ever expect to get to the Metropolitan. No when you were younger did you ever think Oh no I don't think in the beginning I know what metropolitan even was. Had no idea you know that you were here when you came out and saw it all when I came to Berkeley. I came to Berlin one thousand two hundred eighteen and made my debut with there. I sang Creole I sang and there is such a cheer now and
I began with the first guy and then after that there was. So from there I called came to the Metropolitan more or less you mention to the incident when your first husband. Yes I was supposed to think could vary and I had all the rehearsal finished and that for the thirst that you would stay I should sing the first three in Philadelphia and I went home and then I had I got to tell you that my husband was dead and I just wanted to go home. I didn't want to stay in there long I was so upset and I went down to see Mr. Guy and he just took me in his arms and i cry cry. And then he said to me you can't find them anymore. At that
time you couldn't fly. You know you had to take the ball and when he come home he is Birdie. So I will give you two and a half weeks free. He did and then he put on my performance I had seven more performance to sing in my contract and he left and I sang them all. When you got when I got back you must have been a wonderful person to work with them for all he was wonderful and I don't know he wasn't wonderful. It's so wonderful to me really. I never had anything with him. So that question nicest time in my career in the metropolitan Mista got because to start your career with the Metropolitan lasted really for 24 to 40 Yes 40 for 24 to 44.
Why do you need that time. I wasn't happy. I wanted to see I want to have the permission to see the error because very important to everybody because the concert business and so on. Nothing happened. But then in 1950 you came back you know back. What did you do. And then I went to US an 8 concert taught singing and then after that I stopped. Then came 60 year birthday and stuff and so on but you know I sing and songs sometimes sing very good still.
Yes we can get a good idea of how Karen Brown sang at the very height of her career from this fine recording. I have great aria from the prophet. Oh mine's on. Early.
In the morning. You are an owner. It was. It. Was it. Was. God.
Then. You won.
Why. In the 1925 season Karen Brown Zell was joined at the Metropolitan
by a colleague who wants to form the nucleus of the strong Wagnerian wing that dominated opera at Broadway in 31st until 1949. He was of course they great held and then a lot of Mr. Mel here has long metropolitan career was filled with countless amusing incidents and even some explosive encounters with the Metropolitan's management. We'll be hearing all about this from Mr. Melville himself on next week's program and I hope you'll be able to join us then. For now this is Milton Cross. On behalf of Myles cast in the thanking you for listening. Long. Long. Long. Long. Long. Boston University Radio has
presented Hall of song the story of the Metropolitan Opera from eighteen eighty three to nine hundred sixty six. The series is created and produced by Richard Calhoun a grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of these programs for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
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Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966
1923 Through 1924
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
1923 -1924. Karin Branzell, contralto, recalls her 20 year career at the Met.
Series Description
Documentary series on history of the Metropolitan Opera Company ("The Met") in its original home at Broadway and 39th Street in New York. "The Met" closed its old location on April 16, 1966. Series includes interviews and rare recordings of noted performers.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Media type
Host: Cross, Milton, 1897-1975
Host: Kastendieck, Miles
Interviewee: Branzell, Karin, 1891-1974
Producer: Calhoun, Richard
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 66-41-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1923 Through 1924,” 1966-12-22, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1923 Through 1924.” 1966-12-22. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Hall of song: The 'Met,' 1883-1966; 1923 Through 1924. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from