[Met Performance] CID:322630
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg {387} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/4/1995.

(Debut: Peter McClintock
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 4, 1995


DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG {387}
Wagner-Wagner

Hans Sachs..............Bernd Weikl
Eva.....................Karita Mattila
Walther von Stolzing....Ben Heppner
Magdalene...............Birgitta Svendén
David...................Lars Magnusson
Beckmesser..............Hermann Prey
Pogner..................Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Kothner.................John Del Carlo
Vogelgesang.............Jon Garrison
Nachtigall..............Christopher Schaldenbrand
Ortel...................Philip Cokorinos
Zorn....................Anthony Laciura
Moser...................John Horton Murray
Eisslinger..............Charles Anthony
Foltz...................Richard Vernon
Schwarz.................LeRoy Lehr
Night Watchman..........René Pape

Conductor...............James Levine

Production..............Otto Schenk
Stage Director..........Peter McClintock [Debut]
Set designer............Günther Schneider-Siemssen
Costume designer........Rolf Langenfass
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Carmen De Lavallade

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg received five performances this season.

Review of Shirley Fleming in the New York Post

'Meistersinger' a masterpiece

The Metropolitan Opera seems to have rounded up rounded up every lyrical male singer in the business for its revival of "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg" on Monday.

And that was good news for Wagner's gentlest and most tuneful opera, with its cast ratio of 15 men to two women. It was by any standards a sterling array of low voices: There was not a gruff phrase, not a bark or a growl to be heard all night.

The principal newcomer to this wonderful production, which premiered two seasons ago, was baritone Bernd Weikl, singing the pivotal role of Hans Sachs for the first time here; he was in the formidable company of Ben Heppner as Walther, Jan-Hendrik Rootering as Pogner and Hermann Prey as Beckmesser.

A lesser artist than Weikl might have been swamped, but not he: his kindly, philosophical cobbler was warmly and resonantly sung, and the personality that emerged was all that it should be - humane, wryly humorous, a bit resigned.

Heppner's Walther had all the equipment he needed to face the skeptical mastersingers, and he delivered the Prize Song with ringing tenderness (though he tired, forgivably, at the evening's end).

Rootering's resounding bass rolled out effortlessly and with a notable touch of sweetness; the scene with Eva as twilight falls in Act II included a particularly beautiful sustained high climax, soft and glowing. Prey's bumbling and petulant Beckmesser was a comic delight. Among the Meistersingers, John Del Carlo's Kothner made an especially strong impression.

In this masculine landscape Karita Mattila's Eva shone like a star; her house-filling soprano never loses focus, and the passion of her outpouring love for Walther generated real heat. Birgitta Svenden was her slightly hooty attendant.

James Levine's pacing of the opera was full of vitality, and the Gunther Schneider-Siemssen sets put you right in the middle of medieval Nurnberg. A terrific place to be.



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