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Wagner: Die Meistersinger

Bernd Weikl , Ben Heppner , Cheryl Studer , Kurt Moll , Deon van der Walt , Cornelia Kallisch , Wagner , Wolfgang Sawallisch , Chor des Bayerischen Staatsoper , Bayerisches Staatsorchester Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Price: $31.59 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 54 Songs, 2010 $18.99  
Audio CD, Box set, 2010 $38.01  
Audio CD, 2013 $31.59  

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Wagner: Die Meistersinger + Wagner: Lohengrin
Price for both: $61.88

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Chor des Bayerischen Staatsoper, Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
  • Composer: Wagner
  • Audio CD (March 26, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00AZPXCF0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,746 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

With an unrivaled catalogue of over 450 complete opera recordings produced over the last 60 years and an illustrious succession of artists that today includes such names as Montserrat Caballe, Angela Gheorghiu, Plácido Domingo, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Antonio Pappano and Carlo Maria Giulini EMI Classics, with its sister label Virgin Classics, can rightly claim to be the Home of Opera.

Wagner's Die Meistersinger is truly a unique opera. Not only is this is only comedic opera but also contains no supernatural occurrences (a theme prevalent in other Wagner operas). Die Meistersinger is also among the longest operas still commonly performed today, usually taking around four and a half hours. The story revolves around a guild of Meistersingers where the winner of the upcoming contest will win the hand of the daughter of one of the elder members. Wolfgang Sawallisch leads an all-star cast in this recording including Rene Pape, Bernd Weikl and Ben Heppner.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really? June 18, 2014
Format:Audio CD
I have more recordings by Herbert von Karajan than any other conductor in a large recording library, and
I have defended his great artistry for over 40 years. Sadly it is impossible for me to register anything more than a sad sigh as to what might have been had this recording been better cast and the Maestro had not been in what I refer to gently as, the beginning of his anal years, which DID get worse from time to time as he became something of a recording engineer and stage director into the bargain. Hubris. Perhaps. But Nemesis left him alone because more often than not he demonstrated a wizardly genius on the podium.

This Meistersinger is NOT one of his greatest moments. Fault cannot be found with the Dresden Staatskapelle orchestra or Staatsoper chorus or the Leipzig Radio Chorus. Neither is there any reason to quibble with EMI's engineering team, other than a little too much echo surrounding choral parts here and there which draws attention to the studio bound nature of the project. Neither does Karajan fall below his very high standards in regards to orchestra balance, revelations of inner voices in score and pacing, though from time to time he falls into a bit of a trance, over-egging the 'spirituality' of his approach, which is more appropriate to Tristan und Isolde or Parsifal than to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

But the whole comes off as precious and over-produced. There is no joy, at least no spontaneous joy that arose in THIS listener as it did frequently in Kubelik's magnificent live recording from Munich 3 years earlier.

There is a great deal to enjoy in this EMI recording, including one great performance from Karl Ridderbusch as Veit Pogner, Eva's papa.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Karajan's mastery may plainly be heard December 12, 2013
Format:Audio CD
I do not mean to sound blasé or spoiled when I say that, as a very experienced listener to opera recordings, I was fairly sure that I knew what this recording would sound like before, at the urging of a fellow reviewer-friend, I finally got around to purchasing and listening to this celebrated recording, now 43 years old but still sounding remarkably good. Virtually nothing has confounded my expectations, as I knew what to expect from having read a good view opinions of trusted fellow reviewers.

First of all, the sound holds up remarkably well: spacious, well balanced, rich, clear and full, without distortion - a model of analogue recording at its best, as are the playing of the Staatskapelle and the conducting of Karajan, who brings his customary ear for detail, sonority and sense of sweep to the proceedings; this is peerless, instrumentally.

The singing offers some of the best casting available in 1970, given that it was an inviolable rule that any recording made in East Germany Dresden in that era had to feature favourite son, bass-baritone Theo Adam, bothersome wobble and all. He cannot hope to emulate the authority and beauty of tone of such as Thomas Stewart for Kubelik but does not let the side down, being an otherwise sensitive and intelligent singer who can bring some of the gravitas of an experienced Wotan to his Sachs plus something of a twinkle. His tonal emission is not always, by any means, unsteady and the basic sound is attractive. Any Sachs who can carry the listener with him during the great peroration of the opera to German Art has conquered the part; Adam rises to the shameless nationalistic exaltation and exultation the sentiments demand and he is ably supported by a lusty Staatsoper Chorus, underpinned by terrific timpani.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wagner as Ecclesiastes January 3, 2014
Format:Audio CD
Like 95% of us, I'm a pretender in Wagner and abjectly so. With no melody in sight, I asphyxiate in that first hour of Siegfried: surely we have a right to be bored by such a dynamic? I'm more likely to cross the Simpson Desert in February on foot than traverse Rienzi. I've yet to make it through the Flying Dutchman. Lohengrin, its Prelude aside, bores me to this day.

Hitherto, I have resisted Meistersinger for the better part of three decades, declaring that it was a bridge too far and citing the brevity of life. How asinine I was! This Karajan recording from late 1970 has led to a `novus ordo saeculorum'.

I have contacts in the 5%. Some of them adore this recording; others do so with reservations, highlighting Theo Adam (Sith-Lord of Wobble), Evans' caricature of Beckmesser and the timbre of Kollo; whilst acknowledging its obvious strengths, a few dismiss it per se. I daresay it will arouse controversy until kingdom come.

On my part - amateur though I be - its joie de vivre is sovereign. The triumph is underwritten by the sumptuousness of the Dresden Staatskapelle and Karajan's mastery. It's Wagner at his most loveable. No wonder his buddy Nietzsche was so envious of the "Magician" - there is no greater affirmation of life (and refutation of `Afterworldsmen') than the Quintet from Act 3: Wagner says in a few bars what it takes Fred a few thousand words to grind out. Here is humanity with all its foibles and aspirations. It says: the world is enough; there is a time for everything under the sun. Catharsis ensues long before the final chorus.

I love this. As one of the five percenters (Ralph Moore) said recently, it's more than the sum of its parts. Long may it continue to divide and proselytise!
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