Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (In English) - Berberian, Meier, Alexander, Billings; Rudel. 1976
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This is not your typical performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg… Not only does it feature a cast of exceptionally talented singers who left few if any studio recordings, it is sung in English. Ara Berberian sings the role of Hans Sachs. Berberian had an impressive career in the American opera circuit but never quite had the kind of high profile gigs that elevate a singer from “provincial” to “international.” It is a shame because he almost makes the daunting part of Hans Sachs (clocking in at nearly two hours of total singing) seem easy. John Alexander is superb as Walther von Stolzing, bringing the perfect balance of lyricism and Wagnerian heft to the role. Johanna Meier is a radiant Eva. The rest of the cast is peppered with noted American singers, all of whom bring an immediacy to their recitation of the dialog, free of Mid-Atlantic affectations, which makes the wit and pathos of Wagner’s libretto come alive. Julius Rudel delivers a sincere reading of the score, free of unnecessary bombast or pomp. The sound is good.