[Met Performance] CID:247250

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, November 3, 1976

Debut : Eva Marton

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (364)
Richard Wagner | Richard Wagner
Hans Sachs
Norman Bailey

Eva Marton [Debut]

Walther von Stolzing
Gerd Brenneis

Shirley Love

Frieder Stricker

Dieter Weller

Peter Meven

Allan Monk

John Carpenter

Robert Goodloe

Arthur Thompson

Robert Schmorr

Nico Castel

Jon Garrison

Edmond Karlsrud

Andrij Dobriansky

Night Watchman
Philip Booth

Sixten Ehrling

Review 1:

Review of Anthony Coggi on "The Operaphile" WFUV-FM

Technically, this season's Meistersinger can't be considered a revival since a few performances were given during the closing weeks of the 1975-76 season, but the casting does represent an almost new venue and, as originally announced, it was to be presented in an absolutely uncut, note-complete edition probably for the first time at the House since the Damrosch seasons in the 1880's, if then. There were but a few such performances this season before the management decided that audience interest didn't justify the overtime costs. Still, what with the prelude starting on the dot of 7, two intermission of sensible length and a final curtain falling just minutes before midnight, you get an awful lot of music for your money, most of it glorious. It's still a bargain.


Hans Sachs was played by Norman Bailey whose fine portrayal is familiar thanks to his appearances in the City Opera's English-version last season. He is even better in the role's original German. Considering its length, it is remarkable that Bailey's Sachs seems to gain strength as it goes along and his final apostrophe to German Art, frequently omitted, was ringingly sung. There have been more plangent Sachses at the Met, but one would have to go back to the days of Schoeffler to recall a more human characterization.

Perhaps the most exciting among the new-comers was Eva Marton, a Hungarian soprano with a big bright voice fully under control. She was the Eva and she could well be the heir of those roles previously the property locally of Birgit Nilsson whose continued difficulties with the IRS seem to preclude her appearances in this country.

Four of the new-comers are German and, as expected, they brought with them the assurance, experience and routine (and I don't mean that derogatorily) acquired in this repertoire in their native land. The most interesting was Dieter Weller whose highly unorthodox Beckmesser (tall, thin, prissy and bookish rather than malicious and nasty) was the most lyrically sung in this reviewer's experience. As David, Frieder Stricker displayed an extremely fresh light tenor and an engaging stage manner. Their two compatriots offered what seem to be more ordinary gifts. Peter Meven's Pogner could be considered little more than serviceable, while Gerd Brenneis' Walther, despite an attractive presence, a little less so due to a rather colorless voice.

On a more positive note one can discuss the humorously portrayed and musical Kothner of yet another newcomer, Allan Monk. The Magdalene of Shirley Love was a trifle small scaled vocally while the complement of other mastersingers was cast, as it usually is at the Met, from strength. Philip Booth was a particularly sonorous night watchman.

The physical production by Robert O'Hearn remains one of the company's glories and Nathaniel Merrill's staging, always good, has been further refined and pointed.

Sixten Ehrling and the orchestra got off to a very unpromising start with a prelude which was ponderous, loud and muddy. Enjoyment in it was not enhanced by a steady stream of chattering late comers. Ehrling settled down, however, to an extremely musical rendition with the third act prelude especially displaying breadth and sensitivity. I did, however, miss the shadings and nuances other conductors bring to this marvelously magical score.

The chorus was in top notch form.

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