Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Wiener, Kozub, Kirschstein, Frick, Kusche, Töpper; Keilberth. München, 1968


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I was initially attracted to this performance of Meistersinger because it featured the Walther of Ernst Kozub.  Since he was supposed to be the Heldentenor of his generation, I thought that it would be interesting to hear him sing the most lyrical of Wagner tenor parts.  I went right to the Preislied and was truly surprised at how beautifully he sings.  His voice possessed an Italianate quality that sounds as if it would have lent itself equally well to Otello and Cavaradossi.  One can only imagine what his Siegfried would have been like.  He is well supported by the rest of the cast.  Otto Wiener sings Hans Sachs.  His voice may be a little thin and devoid of the warmth for some people's taste, but he makes up for it by his interpretation.  He delivers most of the role with a very conversational quality to his vocal production, which creates an intimacy in his scenes that you don't usually experience in Wagner.  Leonore Kirschstein's voice may be a little rough around the edges to successfully convey the youth and innocence of Evchen.  Gottlob Frick shows that he could sing a loving father with the same ease as half human, half dwarf villains.  Benno Kusche and Friedrich Lenz as Beckmesser and David respectively give a lesson in how to be a great character singer.  This term is often used more as an insult today, but back in the day singers would color their voices to serve the character, even if it meant sacrificing beauty for drama.  The sound is very good.

OD 10442-4

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