This performance was recorded live at the Sydney Opera House, October 14th, 1988. Sir Charles Mackerras is the splendid conductor and the occasional bobbles, most noticeably in the trumpets, should only remind us of the hazards of live performance.
In the taxing leading role of Hans Sachs (an historical German composer and, yes, cobbler.), Donald Mcintyre does not always get away without his own occasional vocal failures but he mostly acquits himself admirably, especially as an actor. Bernd Weikl, on another performance is younger and perhaps better on the whole but this other staging cannot compare with the liveliness of the Australian one. And Hermann Prey's Beckmesser simply doesn't have the spitefulness of John Pringle who owns the part as far as I'm concerned, even vocally.
Eva and Walther are quite adequately sung and more than adequately acted by Helena Doese and Paul Frey but I think, if I remember correctly, that Siegfried Jerusalem was probably somewhat better vocally. The Eva on that video recording was probably MariAnne Häggander who was famous for the part but whose acting was rather risible, particularly in the first scene.
The final scene in the meadow though, blows the other production away. The marches, processions and dancing are way ahead of the other version which is stodgy by comparison.
Despite some drawbacks, on balance, this is possibly the best video production of Die Meistersinger.
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