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Wagner: Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg [Import]
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EMI Classic. Import.
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Top Customer Reviews
The production is from the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1995, before the end of Götz Friedrich's reign as the principal director there. He was known world-wide as one of the best opera directors around, and this production certainly is consistent with that reputation. The acting is detailed, very human, and on repeated watching one picks up little true-to-life bits that one didn't notice first time around, often the mark of a great director. The sets and costumes (by Peter Sykora and Kirsten Dephoff) are appropriate if not precisely historically accurate. The television direction by Brian Large is creative and inobtrusive; my only complaints on that score are the tilted still views of a mock-up village made to represent medieval Nuremberg; these were seen during the preludes for Acts I and III. The views made me a little dizzy. The chorus is splendid. The action during the gathering of forces leading up to the Song Contest in Act III is striking and full of life. The mêlée in Act II is both funny and life-like.Read more ›
Contrary to "A Viewer from USA", Karita Mattila is not magnificent on this DVD. She isn't in it at all. They may be thinking of the soon-to-be-released MET DVD on DG.
But Brendel's Sachs is wonderful - ruminative, wise, handsome in a hard-working middle-aged way, thoroughly convincing. He certainly is not meant to be a 'craggy old man' - how then could we make sense of Eva's Act 3 outburst that if she had the choice she would marry him? No, Brendel gets it right, his voice full and firm to the end, and he galvanises an impressive cast.
Winbergh's lyrical and expressive Walther could be put in the shade by odious comparisons to the role's greatest exponents on disc - Konya & Heppner (the latter is on the forthcoming MET DVD) - but he is certainly thoroughly enjoyable, even if he lets emotion override singing the notes towards the end of the prize song.
The Quintet eventually takes flight though Eva Johannson doesn't launch it with much inspiration. Her outburst at "O Sachs, Mein Freund", though, is spine-tingling, and she looks the part, attractive if not quite as beautiful as Ute Walther, her Magdalena. David & Beckmesser are both well-routined, thoroughly sung and wonderfully acted.
Gotz Friedrich's direction is pure gold. The orchestra is on terrific form. This is first-class singing, acting and music making all round. No regrets here.
Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger stand as probably the two greatest operas of the 19th century but they couldn't be more different from each other. It is one of the greatest mysteries of Wagner's genius,how he could change his style from the ecstatic chromaticism of Tristan to the optimistic, straightforward C-major tonality and counterpoint of the Meistersinger. But of course Wagner had his own agenda. Die Meistersinger was a way of showing his frustration of getting his "music of the future" (Zukunftsmusik) accepted by the musical establishment (led by Brahms) and also to get back at his critics, mainly Edouard Hanslick, his nemesis. This he did with a vengeance by the character of Beckmesser, the jealous and wicked little town-clerk who can only criticize, but incapable of understanding new ideas and create anything worthwhile. So much for introduction.
First of all I find it hard to forgive ARTHAUS for not releasing this DVD sooner in North America.. It has been available in PAL version in Europe since 2001 and was nominated for Gramophone Magazine Awards that year. It came in third, but only because of the extremely stiff competition (The Damnation of Faust won, also by ARTHAUS).
But I truly love this DVD. A sumptuous live performance from the prestigious Deutsche Oper ,beautifully directed and staged by Gotz Friedrich, gives us a somewhat new look at this magnificent work.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I was so happy to see this released in the US market. It's been available for several years in Europe. I agree with all the positives that have been said about this recording. Read morePublished on May 21 2004 by Stefan
Karita Mattila is magnificent!!
Her Salome at the Met recently is another absolutely fantastic performance. Read more
Sachs is a young widower who has had his eye on Eva, and viceversa. He is a male Marschalin. This cast is quite good, if not definitive, if such a thing is possible. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by Dr. Fernando Cordova
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