Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Jaap van Zweden
Groot Omroepkoor
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest
17 February 2009
Concertgebouw Amsterdam
Recording Type
  live   studio
  live compilation   live and studio
Hans Sachs Robert Holl
Veit Pogner Ain Anger
Kunz Vogelgesang Marcel Reijans
Konrad Nachtigall Krešimir Stražanac
Sixtus Beckmesser Eike Wilm Schulte
Fritz Kothner Werner van Mechelen
Balthasar Zorn Roger Padullés
Ulrich Eißlinger Jean-Léon Klostermann
Augustin Moser Amand Hekkers
Hermann Ortel Martin Busen
Hans Schwartz Dennis Wilgenhof
Hans Foltz Mark Beesley
Walther von Stolzing Burkhard Fritz
David Rainer Trost
Eva Barbara Haveman
Magdalene Elizabeth Bishop
Ein Nachtwächter Klaus Kuttler

If one is going to spend six solid hours listening to Wagner in any concert hall, then please God let it be the CONCERTGEBOUW. In this magnificent, cathedral-like acoustic, the unflaggingly sumptuous playing of the NETHERLANDS RADIO PHILHARMONIC made this Netherlands Radio 4 matinee of The Meistersinger (February 7) speed by.

Checking the clock between acts made one realize that Jaap van Zweden’s tempos weren’t unusually fast—it was just that the propulsiveness behind his beat, the sense of each phrase leading into the next, made the music seem swift-flowing. The string sound, replete with vibrato and warmly coloured, was something to revel in, as was the singing of the Groot Omroepkoor. The closing chorus was truly stirring.

Robert Ho11, one of the most experienced of Hans Sachses, was on home turf, and his performance glued the whole work together. The FLieder monologue was thoughtful rather than bluff, shaped with a Lieder singer’s care for the text; but although he offered a more introspective Sachs than many, there was anger in his interpretation too, and the heft he summoned for the climax of `Wahn!’ was tremendous. Burkhard Fritz took a little time to warm into Walther’s music, but once he did, his ringing tone and fluent delivery confirmed a major Wagnerian voice; the Prize Song sounded convincingly like something this Walther might have written for himself to sing.

His Eva, Barbara Havemann, was by contrast a reserved, even mousy figure on the platform—that is, until she opened her mouth. Her creamy, bell-like soprano projected over the orchestra with ease. And when Sachs cited the story of Tristan to her and the orchestra chipped in with the musical quote, it sounded less a composer’s in-joke than a serious repertoire suggestion. Elizabeth Bishop was the fruity Magdalene, Eike Wilm Schulte the deliciously acid Beckmesser. Ath Anger, a resonant bass destined for bigger roles, was the very young Pogner. The tenor Marcel Reijans and bass-baritone Kregimir StraZnnac stood out among the Meistersingers, and what Rainer Trost’s David lacked in youthful sweetness he made up for in lively communication. Only the Nightwatchman was a let-down, his tuning all over the place: a few seconds of less-than-ideal music in the course of half a day.

ERICA JEAL | May 2009

User Rating
Media Type/Label
Quattro Live, Premiere, HO
Technical Specifications
320 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 669 MByte (MP3)
Broadcast (Radio 4)
Concert performance