Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Daniel Barenboim
Chor und Orchester der Staatsoper Berlin
16 March 2008
Staatsoper Berlin
Recording Type
  live   studio
  live compilation   live and studio
Hans Sachs James Morris
Veit Pogner René Pape
Kunz Vogelgesang Paul O’Neill
Konrad Nachtigall Arttu Kataja
Sixtus Beckmesser Roman Trekel
Fritz Kothner Hanno Müller-Brachmann
Balthasar Zorn Peter-Jürgen Schmidt
Ulrich Eißlinger Patrick Vogel
Augustin Moser Peter Menzel
Hermann Ortel Yi Yang
Hans Schwartz Bernd Zettisch
Hans Foltz Andreas Bauer
Walther von Stolzing Burkhard Fritz
David Florian Hoffmann
Eva Dorothea Röschmann
Magdalene Katharina Kammerloher
Ein Nachtwächter Alexander Vinogradov
Opera Today

Barenboim was back on the podium on Palm Sunday to conduct Harry Kupfer’s stunningly colorful production of that most German of all operas, “Die Meistersinger,” and it was on this familiar Wagnerian turf that the he and the Staatsoper were of truly unsurpassable excellence. In his sensitive approach to the Overture Barenboim made voices audible that one had never heard before, and the pathos-ridden Prelude to Act Three, often tossed aside unthinkingly en route to the pageantry of the final scene, was gripping in its bitter sweetness.

In his house debut James Morris, the reigning Wotan of his generation, was touchingly convincing as Hans Sachs, Wagner’s shoemaker torn between his own love for Eva and his support for young Walter in his efforts to break the ossified rules of the master minstrels. Morris played an understated Sachs and was in even smoother and richer voice here than he was for his debut in the role at the San Francisco Opera in 2001 and in the DVD that originated at the Met the following season. Dorothea Röschmann, a Mozartian now moving into lighter Wagner roles, sang Eva with ease and clarity, while Burkhard Fritz was a Walter of often bashful youth. Among the masters Rene’ Pape stood out as an aristocratic Pogner, and Roman Trekel was a handsome — if pedantic — Beckmesser, who avoided clichés of self-parody. And while David and Magdalene are roles often assigned to singers on the eve of retirement, it was refreshing to hear them sung — and sung well — by youthful Florian Hoffmann and Katharina Kammerloher. Yet it was Barenboim who made these two evenings a triumph of perfection. Everything spoke of immense care and concern for the task at hand. And it was a nice touch that Barenboim brought the entire orchestra on stage for a curtain call at the end of “Meistersinger.”

Wes Blomster | 07 Apr 2008

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A production by Harry Kupfer