Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
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Top Customer Reviews
This lovely, traditional performance of Meistersinger is unexpectedly fine in many ways. Georgio Tozzi is outstanding as Hans Sachs, which he called his "proudest professional appearance", and watching him in this Hamburg film, one can see why. His Italianate Sachs is handsome, warm, witty and most importantly - quite beautifully sung. In fact, Tozzi's ebullient Sachs is as winning and well-sung as that of any Bayreuth sacred cow of the golden era of Wagnerian singing. What a surprise, and what a pleasure.
Not all the voices are flawless, but none are bad or painful to listen to, which can often occur in Wagner. In fact, most are quite good. Richard Cassilly does a perfectly fine job as Walther, and although his acting is a bit on the wooden side, we're grateful that he sings his part without strain or crudeness. Frankly, this is the best I've ever heard him sound. He's not my favorite heldentenor (although he's brilliant in the Hamburg Fidelio); he comes through for us here. He's a very large man and he mostly stands and sings with few expressions or gestures. But that's okay because everyone else is so animated in this Nürnberg that we can overlook Walther's (or is it Cassilly's?) self conscious and shy behavior.Read more ›
Some aspects of this Made-for-TV, studio performance are good - the singing is impeccable: Tozzi's Sachs, Cassily's Walter and Blankenheim's Beckmesser are particularly worth of mention. But then, in a studio environment, where an aria can be repeated until it's perfect, where the performers can rest between scenes, where bad performances can be overdubbed, it's hard to see how this could be otherwise.
So why only three stars?
Let's start with the running time. I should have smelled a rat when I saw that the whole opera runs for exactly 240 minutes (the norm is around 270). This running time has been achieved by a combination of a break-neck tempo, and some radical and inexcusable cuts.
Fortunately, the tempo sorts itself out by Act 3, but the pace through the overture and the first two acts is outrageously fast. The effect of all this scurrying about is to gloss over much of the emotional nuances of the score. Add to this the awkward mugging in the closeups, particularly in Act 1, and the effect comes closer to Punch and Judy than Richard Wagner.
As for the cuts, there are at least two:
As another reviewer has remarked, David's instruction scene has been completely removed. This is a very funny scene, and a key plot element, since it amusingly illustrates the Meistersingers' anal-retentive approach to music.
In act 3, the Girls from Furth fail to make an appearance; presumably their boat is still floating down the Pegnitz. Some splendid dance music goes away as a result.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The whole thing is worth it for the warmth, humanity, and sound of Giorgio Tozzi's Sachs
That's not to discount some of the others who turn in excellent performances
This video was filmed in 1970 in excellent sharp focus and rich color, though slightly--but not fundamentally-- limited by monauaral sound. Read morePublished on July 18, 2008 by John P. Mckelvey
My intitial reaction to the series emanating from Hamburg was to dismiss them since they were films. Read morePublished on May 3, 2008 by DDD
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