Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Thomas, Hoffmann, Evans, Shirley; Solti. London 1969


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When the formula is Georg Solti and Richard Wagner, the results are usually bombast. Not so here, as Solti admirably dials into the comedy of Wagner's most lively work, whipping the forces of the Royal Opera (caught in very good sound for 1969), producing an exciting parade in Act III and a hysterically funny wooing scene in Act II. He is helped by the presence of Sir Geraint Evans, one of the world's greatest Beckmessers, who creates a fussy, spiteful but very three-dimensional demagogue. Comedy is also helped by the gorgeously-sung David of George Shirley, in a real bit of luxury casting. David Ward, Josephine Veasey and George MacPherson turn in finely etched portraits as Pogner, Magdalena and Kothner, and there is a sonorous watchman from Royal Opera regular Eric Garrett. Croatian soprano Božena Ruk-Fočić is a gorgeous Eva, though she is hard-pressed to choose between Jess Thomas' Walther (caught just past his considerable prime and still able to muster an ardent Prize Song) and Hubert Hoffmann's booming, hearty (albeit wooly) Sachs. All in all, an exciting night at the opera and a fine performance of a masterpiece.

This performance replaces a previous version and is in superior sound.

OD 11093-4

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