Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Herrmann, Suthaus, Trötschel, Greindl, Krebs, Haefliger; Böhm. Berlin, 1954
Listen to a Sample:
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is an opera that traffics in equal parts spectacle and intimate drama and even though the vocal demands of the music require oversized voices, the whole thing is pointless if the singers just bellow their way through. Fortunately, the cast in this performance captures the conversational quality of Wagner’s writing style brilliantly without shortchanging any of the bombast. Josef Herrmann, as Sachs, delivers some exquisitely delicate singing particularly in his Act II monologue. Instead of showing off the size of his voice (which was not inconsiderable), Ludwig Suthaus as Walther von Stolzing seems more interested in displaying the Mozartian elegance of his pristine tenor voice, making for an exquisitely sung Preislied. Josef Greindl is in fine voice as Veit Pogner and if you listen carefully you will be able to pick out the distinguished tenor of Ernst Haefliger as Kunz Vogelgesang. Karl Böhm brings an unfussy yet deeply felt touch to the score. The sound is variable with long stretches that are clear and others that are marred by static.
Both of the Preludes and a few small sections in Act III are missing. For continuity I have replaced the preludes with another performance conducted by Böhm