[Met Performance] CID:141460
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {242} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 04/9/1946.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
April 9, 1946


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {242}

Hans Sachs..............Herbert Janssen
Eva.....................Eleanor Steber
Walther von Stolzing....Torsten Ralf
Magdalene...............Kerstin Thorborg
David...................John Garris
Beckmesser..............Gerhard Pechner
Pogner..................Emanuel List
Kothner.................Kenneth Schon
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...............George Szell

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

METROPOLITAN OPERA

Herbert Janssen as Hans Sachs in "Meistersinger"

The Metropolitan Opera Association's performance of "Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg" at the Boston Opera House last evening was truly admirable. It was also mellow and unforced and made its effect without straining after effect. This was due first of all to the sensitive and yet demanding work of George Szell as conductor. As with "Der Rosenkavalier" of last week, "Die Meistersinger" showed extraordinary command of both orchestra and stage, and his vigilant care for pace, accent and nuances.

It is especially interesting to hear his treatment of this massive comic opera by Wagner, since he had never done it here before. Last year he was scheduled to conduct it but illness intervened. Perhaps the key to his excellent reading is Mr. Szell's remarkable mingling of unobtrusive efficiency and imagination. His performances go so smoothly that you do not think of his labors unless you put your mind to it. If there is such a thing as concealed virtuosity Mr. Szell has it.

At long last the city also has had the pleasure of hearing as Hans Sachs the gifted Herbert Janssen. He, too, was prevented by illness from appearing in "Meistersinger" last season. Advance reports did not exaggerate Mr. Janssen's merits. It is and yet it is not a conventional Sachs. That is to say, he does not expand his characterization beyond the limits of what Wagner wished, but on the other hand his Sachs is distinctly younger and more spirited than some I have heard.

Mr. Janssen's portrayal underscores the fact that Sachs, as Wagner conceived him, was sufficiently vigorous to think of himself as a possible husband to Eva Pogner. Mr. Janssen's singing is beautifully sonorous of tone and consistently right in style. Last night he did the "Wahn, wahn" of the third act memorably.

Eleanor Steber has developed greatly with a year. Now her voice is bigger and more lustrous. Most of its former shrillness on high notes is gone. Her acting of Eva has gained in sweetness and repose and it has lost that somewhat nervous quality it had before. Once again the Magdelene of Miss Thorborg impressed by its musical superiority. The David of John Garris, a painstaking artist, is superbly sung and it has taken on distinction as amply detailed acting.

Torsten Ralf, singing Walther here for the first time, was competent vocally, but he had little spirit. It was hard to realize from Mr. Ralf's stolid deportment that Walther was a highbred young knight who got mighty sore at the hide-bound mastersingers.

The comic Beckmesser of Gerhard Pechner was again a joy. In stage action this "Meistersinger" was very thorough, including the night brawl in respectable Nuremberg.



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