Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Rudolf Kempe
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
28 January 1956
Metropolitan Opera House New York
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Hans SachsPaul Schöffler
Veit PognerGiorgio Tozzi
Kunz VogelgesangThomas Hayward
Konrad NachtigallCalvin Marsh
Sixtus BeckmesserGerhard Pechner
Fritz KothnerJohn Brownlee
Balthasar ZornAlessio De Paolis
Ulrich EißlingerJames McCracken
Augustin MoserGabor Carelli
Hermann OrtelOsie Hawkins
Hans SchwartzLawrence Davidson
Hans FoltzLorenzo Alvary
Walther von StolzingAlbert da Costa
DavidPaul Franke
EvaLisa della Casa
MagdaleneHerta Glaz
Ein NachtwächterClifford Harvuot
Herald Tribune

‘Meistersinger’ is Repeated at Met; Schoeffler is Sachs Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” was repeated at the Metropolitan Opera House yesterday afternoon, when Paul Schoeffler made his first appearance of the season as Hans Sachs, and Albert Da Costa sang Walther for the second time. Although the performance was competing with itself via the radio, it was sold out, and this suggests that the work’s public appeal continues to match its artistic status.

Musically and visually, Mr. Schoeffler gave a complete characterization of one of the most sympathetic figures in the Wagnerian cosmos. His admirably produced voice revealed the full range of Sachs’ emotions in an interpretation marked by unfailing musicianship; there was vividness, dignity and warmth of personality which corresponded to that of his voice.

Mr. Da Costa, who had made a notable impression in his first Walther on Jan. 11, repeated it in his second appearance. The twenty-nine year old American tenor gave an expressively discerning and musicianly performance, dramatically convincing and unaffected. He sang with command of phrase and line, continuity and clarity of tone. His bright highest notes sometimes suggested a certain caution, but he showed wisdom and forethought in not forcing his voice and handicapping the prospect of a fuller tone in this register later on. His dynamic shading indicated judgment and understanding with ample carrying power, and the Prize Song gave no hint of fatigue.

The vocal standard was also high in the other leading rules, and particularly in the clearness and ingratiating timbre of Lisa Della Casa’s persuasive Eva. Giorgio Tozzi and Gerhard Pechner both avoided the dryness of tone which sometimes besets Pogner and Beckmesser. Herta Glaz reappeared as Magdalene and Paul Franke, as David. The musical interpretation under Rudolf Kempe’s conductorship was laudable for its lucidity, pace and balance, and Dino Yannopoulos’ stage direction, avoiding pose and stiffness, gave dramatic conviction.

Francis D. Perkins


Die Meistersinger, in the moderately satisfactory ‘revised’—which is to say ‘budget-limited’—settings of Ellen Meyer, had some new elements, including a brand-new Walther, the young American tenor Albert da Costa, and Rudolf Kempe in the pit. Those who heard the opening performance spoke highly of Mr Kempe’s conducting; the night of the third repeat must have been an off one, for he was less than perfection, although the performance got better as it went along, and was finally brought into focus by his sheer instinct for conducting opera. Otto Edelmann had been the first Sachs, with Giorgio Tozzi as Pogner; then they were replaced by Paul Schbffler and Dezsii Ernster, the first not rich of voice but as grand as ever in the ruefully wise human warmth and humour of his characterization, the second thoroughly competent but vocally on the muffled, unsteady side. Mr Da Costa cut an outlandish figure, and his singing was not remarkable enough to cancel this distraction. It is a voice—one capable of producing and delivering any reasonable note on demand. Whether it is an attractive voice is another matter. It is not a Heldentenor, save insofar as sounding always tight and pressed and narrow fills the German usage. It could be called a biggish lyric voice, save for the discouraging fact that it has precious little charm of any sort and practically no spin to the tone. Lisa della Casa, in lovely voice, was an inconsistent Eva, sometimes warm and touching, but of negative personality. The rest of the individual performances were familiar.

May 1956

User Rating
Media Type/Label
Get this Recording
Donate $5 to download MP3
Technical Specifications
320 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 521 MiB (MP3)
Matinee broadcast
A production by Wilhelm von Wymetal (1923)