[Met Performance] CID:209130
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {329} Matinee Broadcast ed. Metropolitan Opera House: 01/14/1967., Broadcast

(Broadcast
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 14, 1967 Matinee Broadcast


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {329}

Hans Sachs..............Giorgio Tozzi
Eva.....................Jean Fenn
Walther von Stolzing....Sándor Kónya
Magdalene...............Mildred Miller
David...................Murray Dickie
Beckmesser..............Karl Dönch
Pogner..................Ezio Flagello
Kothner.................William Walker
Vogelgesang.............Charles Anthony
Nachtigall..............Robert Goodloe
Ortel...................Russell Christopher
Zorn....................Andrea Velis
Moser...................Gabor Carelli
Eisslinger..............Robert Nagy
Foltz...................Louis Sgarro
Schwarz.................Norman Scott
Night Watchman..........Clifford Harvuot

Conductor...............Joseph Rosenstock

Review of Ron Eyer in Newsday

Tozzi Dominates Day of Masterful Wagner

A delayed but thereby all the more welcome debut was made Saturday afternoon at the Metropolitan by Giorgio Toni as Hans Sachs in Wagner's vast, four-hour comic opera, "Die Meistersinger." Tozzi was to have made his first appearance in the role on Dec. 23, but he was hospitalized a few days before with a herniated disc.

An American Hans Sachs (42-year-old Tozzi is Chicago-born) is, for some reason not readily apparent, a rara avis. Most notable portrayers of the Nuremberg cobbler, from the original Franz Betz to Friedrich Schorr and Paul Schoeffler, have been Germans, Austrians or other middle Europeans. It is a role that demands great authority and maturity in the singing and also vocal stamina, for Sachs rarely leaves the stage once he has made his entrance in the first act along with the other members of the Meistersingers' Guild.

Sachs, like Boris Goudonov, is one of the few great bass roles in opera in which the performer's spirit and personality must dominate the entire performance. With a weak or negative Sachs, there is no "Meistersinger." He is once a poet, a philosopher and a liberal and humane being in the midst of hard-core reactionaries who champions the young artistic revolutionary, Walther von Stolzing. Wagner saw himself as the latter and used Sachs as a weapon in a satirical onslaught on critics and enemies he himself had in his struggle to validate his own artistic ideals.

Tozzi added more than a cubit to his stature Saturday afternoon. Already well known as one of the best singing actors in the company, he outdid himself with a smooth, carefully thought-out and beautifully sung realization of the part. He dominated the stage, as he should, but with an easy grace and a humility which permitted other central characters to develop their important scenes without intimidation. He played Sachs as a somewhat younger man than we are accustomed to - near his own age, I should say - a jovial, warmhearted individual, but always dignified and with enough steel in his makeup to deal harshly with the scheming and deceitful Beckmesser. His philosophical monologues in the second and third acts were delivered in a mood of quiet contemplation and serenity, yet with the conviction of a no longer young man who nevertheless is vigorous and passionately concerned with the affairs of his time His voice, which no longer is as large in volume as it once was, he used with lyrical sensitivity, and at no time did he permit himself to be lured into forcing, no matter how formidable the Wagnerian orchestra pitted against him.

The rare artistry of Tozzi's performance was complemented by the handsome and prudish heroic Walther of Sandor Konya, the slender and lovely Eva of Jean Fenn, the noble but not too ponderous Pogner of Ezio Flagello, and, of course, the inimitable Beckmesser of Karl Dönch, which is one of the funniest, but at the same time one of the most believable, portraits of the comic villain within memory. Good performances also were given by Mildred Miller as Magdalene and Murray Dickie as David, and the conducting of Joseph Rosenstock gave the performance the big-scale festival atmosphere which the opera requires.

The audience caught its breath in the last moments of the performance when the super holding the emblem of the Meistersingers suddenly pitched forward on his face and had to be carried from the stage. It turned out, however, that the super, Edward Lynn, had only fainted and sustained no injuries.



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