[Met Performance] CID:146120
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {246} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/21/1947.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 21, 1947


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {246}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Herbert Janssen
Eva.....................Astrid Varnay
Walther von Stolzing....Torsten Ralf
Magdalene...............Margaret Harshaw
David...................John Garris
Beckmesser..............Gerhard Pechner
Pogner..................Dezsö Ernster
Kothner.................Mack Harrell
Vogelgesang.............Thomas Hayward
Nachtigall..............Hugh Thompson
Ortel...................Osie Hawkins
Zorn....................Leslie Chabay
Moser...................Lodovico Oliviero
Eisslinger..............Emery Darcy
Foltz...................Lorenzo Alvary
Schwarz.................Jerome Hines
Night Watchman..........Philip Kinsman

Conductor...............Wolfgang Martin

Director................Herbert Graf
Set designer............Hans Kautsky

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received seven performances this season.

Review of Jerome D. Bohm in the Herald Tribune

"Die Meistersinger"

Wagner's Opera is Heard at Metropolitan

There was much that was worth while in the first seasonal unfolding of Wagner's "Meistersinger" at the Metropolitan Opera House last night. For this reviewer its most satisfactory aspect was the moving assumption of the role of Hans Sachs by Herbert Janssen, It has taken this distinguished barytone several years to achieve the complete insight into this many-faceted character attained at this performance. Now he has succeeded in blending the cobbler poet's manly tenderness, his mordant humor and philosophical resignation into a well-rounded, expressively voiced portrayal.

The remaining members of the familiar cast were on the whole well disposed. Mr. Ralf's Walther Stolzing was poised in bearing and effectively voiced, if one disregarded a pinched top tone here and there. The Pogner of Mr. Ernster remains his best role, dignified in action and vocally admirable. Mr. Pechner made of Beckmesser an irascible, malicious pedant, yet sang with due regard for a vocal line as Wagner intended, instead of presenting a caricature of the music as so many Beckmessers have been known to do. As David, Mr. Garris again enacted the role of the cobbler's apprentice convincingly and delivered his difficult music with unfailing assurance. A well-sung impersonation, too, was Mr. Harrell's of Kothner.

Miss Varnay's Eva, despite her often faulty vocalism above the staff, contributed an ingratiating conception in which there were many musical nuances to illuminate the text. Miss Harshaw still seems more at home to me as Magdalene from both the vocal and dramatic angles than in any role she has attempted here.

Mr. Martin's disclosure of the orchestral score was only occasionally telling. His pacing was for the most part just; but the adjustment of instrumental values was not always accomplished with sufficient care, so that the effectiveness of the wonderful close of the second act was vitiated by his failure to make the melodic line clear. The introduction to the third act, which contains some of Wagner's most affecting music, was dragged and its poetic contents could not be realized in this pedestrian traversal. Indeed, whenever intensity of utterance was required, Mr. Martin did not rise to the occasion.



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