[Met Performance] CID:141310
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {241} American Academy of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 03/26/1946.

(Review)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 26, 1946


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {241}

Hans Sachs..............Joel Berglund
Eva.....................Eleanor Steber
Walther von Stolzing....Torsten Ralf
Magdalene...............Kerstin Thorborg
David...................John Garris
Beckmesser..............Gerhard Pechner
Pogner..................Emanuel List
Kothner.................Mack Harrell
Vogelgesang.............Anthony Marlowe
Nachtigall..............Hugh Thompson
Ortel...................Osie Hawkins
Zorn....................Richard Manning
Moser...................Lodovico Oliviero
Eisslinger..............Emery Darcy
Foltz...................Lorenzo Alvary
Schwarz.................Wellington Ezekiel
Night Watchman..........Louis D'Angelo

Conductor...............Paul Breisach

Review of Max de Schauensee in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

Performance of "Meistersinger" Closes Met Season Here

Richard Wagner's great operatic comedy, "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg," was presented at the Academy of Music last night by the Metropolitan Opera Association for its tenth and final offering of the season before an enormous audience.

"Die Meistersinger" is such a masterpiece, such a potently contrived blending of wonderful music and some of the most basic and moving of emotions, that even a rather lack-lustre performance as was witnessed last evening cannot extinguish the vitality and grandeur of its effect.

This is not to say that there were not admirable elements at work last night. There were, but also present were some very serious drawbacks.

The orchestra, always so important in a Wagnerian presentation, was in tip-top shape and gave the impression of many and careful rehearsals. Paul Breisach, who conducted, offered a thoroughly idiomatic and straightforward job; in fact, his was an impressive contribution to the evening's enjoyment.

Other assets were the amusing and vitriolic Beckmesser of Gerhard Pechner; the quaint and flavorsome Magdalene of Kerstin Thorborg, the lithe active David of John Garris, and the excellent singing of the chorus and the ensemble of soloists who impersonated the Meistersinger.

Much of the success of this opera, much of its sympathy and emotion must be radiated by its central character - Hans Sachs. Wagner might very well have called his opera "Hans Sachs." Last night Joel Berglund, the company's new Scandinavian baritone, was entrusted with this all-important role, and it was this essayal that prevented the opera from achieving its maximum effect.

Mr. Berglund is blessed with a superbly resonant voice of noble quality, one of the best voices of its type we have heard in many years. All the more was it a pity, therefore, that his portrait of Sachs was so superficially and thinly sketched.

Mr. Berglund was frigidity reserved, tentative in gesture, and oddly enough, so uncertain of the music of the role in which he made his Metropolitan debut two months ago, that the prompter played an unusually prominent part whenever the obviously unsure singer was on the stage.

Hans Sachs is not only a cobbler, he a poet and philosopher as well. Mr. Berglund's singing of the "Flieder Monolog" was sadly lacking in poetic overtones. His beautiful voice sounded best in the sonorous "Wahn! Wahn!" passage.

Torsten Ralf sang the music of Walther von Stolzing with good style and clarion effect. It is apparent he knows his business. The poetry of the "Prize Song" was however, dimly suggested and the impersonation, though conscientiously outlined, was without romantic appeal, a quality which is obviously not one of this artist's attributes.

Eleanor Steber's Eva was pretty, but vocally ineffective. Her voice sounded thin and sometimes edgy, though she rose to the ineffable beauty of her passage in the quintet with some effect.

Emanuel List was a weighty Pogner and Mack Harrell must be commended for his excellent singing of the florid measures allotted to Kothner as he reads the rules of the song contest.

Between sets, manager Edward Johnson thanked the audience for its support and announced an extra performance - a presentation of "Parsifal" on April 16th.



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