Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Ridderbusch, Janowitz, King, Moll, Zednik; von Dohnanyi. Wien, 1975


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This performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is truly a marvel. Every piece of this intricate puzzle seems to rise to the daunting challenge, creating a synergy of creative focus that is rarely achieved in a work requiring hundreds of singers and musicians. Karl Ridderbusch, famous for his villains, delivers a surprisingly human-scale Sachs, alternating seamlessly between the conversational and the lyrical composition styles. Gundula Janowitz’s ethereal soprano fairs better in the shimmering lyricism of Eva’s music than the dramatic outbursts, but she crafts a well-rounded character that goes beyond “central casting ingenue.” James King brings youthful ardor and sterling tone to Walther von Stolzing, faring equally well in the dramatic moments in the Act II duet with Eva as in the lyrical, high-lying Preislied. Kurt Moll lends his elegant bass to the role of Veit Pogner and despite a moment of vocal insecurity in his Act II monolog recovers well for the balance of the opera. Heinz Zednik is a wiry, charming David. Christoph von Dohnanyi knows exactly how to bring out the unique orchestral color of the score highlighting the humor and sentimentally of Wagner’s masterpiece. The sound is superb.

OD 11270-4