Wagner at The Met is the first authorized release of Richard Wagner's operatic masterpieces, including the complete Ring Cycle, captured live in historic broadcasts from The Metropolitan Opera.
This recording of a live performance of MEISTERSINGER from Bayreuth 1957 definitely merits five stars. For those of you who don't already know this, Gustav Neidlinger (PeaceBeUponHim) was the undisputed master of Wagner's "howling-and-spitting" villain roles, Alberich and Klingsor, from the early 1950s until the mid 1970s. He sang with unmatched sulfur, cannon-ball density, huge volume, dark tone, and powerful dramatic interpretation. He sang more spontaneously and from-the-gut than most singers. He was the first of his generation to sing these roles with musical line and connected legato, rather than as a series of isolated shouts, grunts, and bellowings. He was typecast for these villainous roles as soon as he set foot on the stage, and almost never performed as a good-guy.
Richard Wagner is best known for creating several complex operas, including Tristan and Isolde and Ring Cycle, as well as for his anti-semitic writings. 43 CD set on Membran International Documents: Der Fliegende Hollander (Krauss–1944); Tannhauser (Heger–1951); Lohengrin (Keilberth–1953); Das Rheingold (Neuhold–1993); Die Walküre (Neuhold–1994); Siegfried (Neuhold–1994); Götterdämmerung (Neuhold –1995); Rienzi (Zillig–1950); Parsifal (Knappertsbusch–1951); Die Feen (Ötvös–1998); Meistersinger (Karajan–1951); Das Liebesverbot (Heger–1963); Tristan & Isolde (Furtwängler–1952). Included is a 24 page booklet with cast lists, plot summaries, and background notes.
English-speaking audiences have always found Die Meistersinger to be a life-enhancing celebration of wisdom, art and song. So it proves in David McVicar's production – the first at Glyndebourne – which is updated to the early-19th century of Wagner's childhood. At the centre of a true ensemble cast is Gerald Finley, a 'gleamingly sung', 'eminently believable' Sachs (The Independent on Sunday), supported by the dynamic conducting of Vladimir Jurowski which, like McVicar's production, uses Glyndebourne's special intimacy to bring sharp focus to bear on the subtlety of Wagner's musical and dramatic counterpoint.