Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (In English) - Bailey, Byrne, Curphey, Hammond-Stroud; Goodall. London, 1968
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Aside from being an excellent recording of Meistersinger in its own right, this recording will certainly win over anyone who ever had any doubts about Opera in English or Sir Reginald Goodall. The immediacy of hearing this opera in the vernacular was like no other experience I have ever had with this opera. English speakers will finally get to truly appreciate the wit and pathos that Wagner brings to his only mature comedy. As for Goodall, you are probably thinking that this recording will be slow. I will not lie; I had to use all my wizardry to get this on to four discs. That said, at no point did I ever feel like the drama or the musical line wasn't moving forward organically, and Goodall's broad tempi give the listener a chance to truly appreciate Wagner's lush romanticism along with the complex fugal writing. The cast is first rate. Norman Bailey seems completely at ease for the entire evening and brings an avuncular warmth to the cobbler. Margaret Curphey, as Eva, brings a lush, if somewhat mature sound to the role of Eva along coupled with Girlish charm. Connell Byrne replaces Alberto Remedios as Walther. His voice is youthful and has a quality that brought to mind Windgassen. Occasionally Goodall's broad tempi get the better of him, especially in the scene where Walther and Sachs are composing the Meisterlied, but he manages to regroup and delivers a Preislied worthy of a Mastersinger. The sound is superb.