|Index||2 reviews in total|
Having loved the 1984 and 2001 productions beforehand, I was
recommended this production. And it is as good as I had heard it was. I
did notice some criticisms of the sound quality, although it could have
been more vivid I thought in general it was fine. The orchestra play
wonderfully and Charles McKerras give a suitably lively reading as
Production-values-wise the production is great. The costumes and sets give a sunny and traditional feeling to the proceedings, the picture quality is of good clarity and the video directing is interesting. Wagner's music is sparkling and a whole load of fun, in fact Meistersinger is one of Wagner's longer operas it is one of my favourites of his.
The performances range from good to absolutely great. The good ones come from Paul Frey and Helen Doese. Frey sings truly beautifully, his Prize song is a sheer delight. And he is very charming. His acting isn't as impressive, coming across as one-dimensional and lost sometimes. Doese also sings beautifully. I found her scenes with Sachs much stronger than those with Walther, with her and Sachs you have a lot of warmth, with her and Walther you have two handsome singers giving their all vocally but one can't help think their chemistry could've been more convincing.
Donald McIntyre and especially John Pringle are absolutely great. McIntyre mayn't be the best Sachs vocally, but he does have some impressive moments. The joy of his performance is in his acting, you can tell by his facial expressions and body language that he is having a whale of a time. Pringle fares even better. He has a great voice, but like McIntyre his acting is what makes his performance so good. With Pringle as Beckmesser, you are guaranteed prissy manners, pedantic hand gestures and the appropriately uncomfortable facial expressions, Pringle excels brilliantly at every single one of these.
Lastly, of the three productions, this Meistersinger has the best final scene, at least in my view. Overall, a wonderful performance. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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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