Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Ferdinand Leitner
Chor und Orchester der Oper Zürich
2 December 1984
Opernhaus Zürich
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Hans SachsDonald McIntyre
Veit PognerHans Tschammer
Kunz VogelgesangRichard Decker
Konrad NachtigallHoward Nelson
Sixtus BeckmesserRudolf Hartmann
Fritz KothnerJozsef Dene
Balthasar ZornErnst A. Steinhoff
Ulrich EißlingerFritz Peter
Augustin MoserPeter Keller
Hermann OrtelWerner Gröschel
Hans SchwartzGejza Zelenay
Hans FoltzRené Rohr
Walther von StolzingRené Kollo
DavidWilfried Gahmlich
EvaBeatrice Niehoff
MagdaleneAnne Gjevang
Ein NachtwächterHans Franzen
Stage directorClaus Helmut Drese
Set designerJörg Zimmermann
TV directorHartmut Schottler

At the end of July 1982 the STADTTHEATER closed its portals. On 1 December 1984 it reopened with an official celebration. The old auditorium, in the style of a 19th-century court theatre, has been given new splendour; the stage and related areas have been equipped with modern technology. A new extension, the functional style of which was deliberately designed by the architect to contrast with the historicism of the old building, has given rise to some public criticism, but it contains adequate rehearsal rooms, workshops, stores and offices for the artistic, technical and administrative management. A large workshop complex was renovated and rebuilt at the same time.

The first performance at the ‘new’ old house on December 2, Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg, was produced by the Intendant, Claus Helmut Drese, in person. In paying homage to the city he also held up to its citizens a small, concealed but highly effective mirror; for once the background was not the Nuremberg of the late middle ages but Zurich of the Biedermeier era, when Wagner lived and worked there. The audience could recognise their guilds and banners on the Festwiese, and their beloved festival of Sechselauten, at which the guilds parade through the centre of the city. Neither was it difficult to detect certain parallels between events in Zurich during the past four years and the brawl at the end of the second act . . . Ferdinand Leitner, who after many years has now retired as music director, directed a truly festive performance, full of musical colour and effect. Both Beatrice Niehoff and Anne Gjevang (Magdalene) were inspired, in excellent voice and lovely to look at; Donald McIntyre sang and acted a marvellously humane Hans Sachs, full of nuance; Rudolf A. Hartmann’s Beckmesser was well observed, arousing pity rather than ridicule, and the confusion resulting from Peter Hofmann, who was to have sung his first Stolzing, having to cancel because of an accident, was resolved by a number of substitutes, with Rene Kollo singing on the first night and on several other occasions. Jorg Zimmermann’s designs and Jan Skalicky’s costumes took full account of the production’s local flavour. The chorus was excellently prepared by Erich Widl.

March 1985

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