Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg / Bernd Weikl Siegfried Jerusalem MariAnne Haggander Hermann Prey Graham Clark Matthias Holle Horst Stein Bayreuth Opera|
Actors: Richard Wagner, Marga Schiml, Manfred Schenk, Wolfgang Wagner, Stein
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
This performance of Wagner's only comic opera, directed by his grandson, tells the story of the cobbler, Hans Sachs.
Best Meistersinger Available!
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 12/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best recorded performance of Wagner's Die Meistersinger.
Who is more likely to know Richard Wagner's conception for the opera, than his grandson, Wolfgang Wagner, who is the artistic director of this performance?
Next, imagine assembling some of the very best Wagnerian singers of the past quarter-century: Bernd Weikl as Sachs, Hermann Prey as Beckmesser, and Siegfried Jerusalem as Walter. They all sing and act inspiringly!
The staging, scenery, and costumes are perfect: it's like you're transported back to the Germany of centuries ago.
Richard Wagner was commenting on the rigidity and closedmindedness of the music critics of his day, and the character embodying those critics was Beckmesser, whose role is thus pivotal. Fortunately, this production's Beckmesser (Hermann Prey) is pedantic, sycophantic, officious and tedious--in a word: he's perfect!
The opera makes the point that minds must be kept open to new ideas, while still retaining an understanding of what makes "classical" classic.
The Johannestag festival music is some of the brightest and happiest, so much so that those who think Wagner is always heavy and ponderous, will scarcely believe their ears.
Finally, as icing on the cake, when the song contest is over, and the winner crowned, centerstage in the background, you will see Wolfgang Wagner himself, sort of "patching things up" between Beckmesser and Sachs--it's a wonderful touch by the artistic director, and I can't help but think that Richard Wagner would approve of his grandson's gesture.
Well-staged production, interesting protrayals.
Abel | Hong Kong | 02/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am lucky that I did not watch this DVD after the MET version.
Many say that Jerusalem is less good as Heppner. If you believe in the logic that a more massive figure produces better sound in terms of singing, that explains the difference between Heppner's Walther and Jerusalem's. However, there is a trade-off here - a massive Stolzing is less convincing visually than a tall and elegant figure.
Jersualem did not have the Prize Song done to 100%, that is true. However, it is very near to 100. So the trade-off between the two knights tilts in favour of the Bayreuth version.
The other trade-off is Haggander's committed but less vocally sound Eva with Mattila's uncommitted but vocally marginally stronger Eva. The two should score a tie here, especially taking into account the Act immediately preceding the Quintet, where Haggander is a more convincing Eva both vocally and visually.
Bernd Wiekl and Hermann Prey are the two stars of this performance. Both are very human, and vocally very adequate, with Prey slightly better than Wiekl, but the two pair up exceedingly well with balanced performance that set off spark after spark in their several encounters.
Then the visual aspect - the costumes and stage-setting are superb. The religious sense in the libretto is brought out exceedingly well in this production.
It is simply beautiful.
Another strong but not quite satisfactory performance
harmless drudge | Philadelphia, PA | 01/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I am going to restrict my comments to a comparison of this performance with the MET version with Morris, Heppner, etc. because that's a logical and readily available alternative. I reviewed the MET dvd and also gave it 4 stars (liked the sets and staging except Act 1; Morris somewhat below par; Heppner and Mattila strong but did not "look" their parts). The Bayreuth production in many respects (frustratingly so) complements the MET performance -- strengths of one are shortcomings of the other. As for sound, the MET orchestra beats the Bayreuth players, Heppner tops Jerusalem, and Mattila tops Haggander. But Weikl tops Morris. The Beckmessers on both recordings are top notch--certainly the best combinations of voice and acting in their respective recordings.
As for staging, the MET's sets and crowd movements are superior in Acts 2 and 3. The MET has a nice construction of a Nuremberg street for Act 2 (Bayreuth has a more enclosed set); also the MET's Act 3 final scene is handled better (the Bayreuth final scene is positively claustrophobic -- it's as if the director were trying to stuff a telephone booth with college freshmen). On the other hand, the set for Act 1 at the MET is a disaster (an aisle outside the church nave) whereas Act 1 at Bayreuth takes place in the church nave so the whole congregation is visible during the great chorus after the overture. The Bayreuth performance has a touching closing in which the director Wolfgang Wagner joins the hands of Sachs and Beckmesser in reconciliation. But the MET has richer costumes and warmer lighting.
For a dvd performance I'm of the opinion that, when tradeoffs are necessary, the visual impact gets the nod over vocals (within reason of course). On that basis, I give the Master's wreath to the MET production (but I would substitute Act 1 from Bayreuth)."