The Mastersingers of Nuremberg/Reginald Goodall [Chandos Opera in English]

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Wagner
The Mastersingers of Nuremberg – Opera in three acts to a libretto by the composer [sung in an English translation by Frederick Jameson, revised by Norman Feasey and Gordon Kember]

Hans Sachs – Norman Bailey
Veit Pogner – Noel Mangin
Kunz Vogelgesang – David Kane
Konrad Nachtigall – Julian Moyle
Sixtus Beckmesser – Derek Hammond-Stroud
Fritz Kothner – David Bowman
Balthasar Zorn – John Brecknock
Ulrich Eisslinger – David Morton-Gray
Augustin Moser – Dino Pardi
Herman Ortel – James Singelton
Hans Schwarz – Gerwyn Morgan
Hans Foltz – Eric Stannard
Walter von Stolzing – Alberto Remedios
David – Gregory Dempsey
Eva – Margaret Curphey
Magdalene – Ann Robson
Nightwatchman – Stafford Dean

Sadler’s Wells Opera Chorus

Sadler’s Wells Opera Orchestra
Reginald Goodall

Recording made on 10 February 1968 at a performance at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London


Reviewed by: Alexander Campbell

Reviewed: July 2008
CD No: CHANDOS
CHAN 3148 (4 CDs)
Duration: 4 hours 53 minutes

 

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too slow, but one quickly settles into the pulse and then one hardly notices. The second adjective used to describe Goodall’s interpretation is probably ‘weighty’. Despite “Mastersingers” being a comedy this is an interpretation that is very much on the grandiose side – and it that sense it builds up to Act Three rather steadily and some of the wit of Act Two seems somewhat suppressed perhaps with that very aim in mind.

Margaret Curphey is a silvery voiced and womanly rather than girlish Eva, who makes the most of all her big moments and gives the young lover her due as an appealing heroine. Derek Hammond-Stroud’s Beckmesser was a famous interpretation and it is well sung and pointed verbally, particularly in his asides, but it is perhaps a tad obvious. Other singers such as Hermann Prey and Thomas Allen have since shown that you can make this character more subtle and humorous by underplaying the inherent bitterness and pettiness. However, he gets the majority of the many laughs from the audience in the theatre. One also notices the presence of the young Stafford Dean as the Nightwatchman. The other part that registers strongly is that of Pogner, sung by Noel Mangin. He was a singer with a truly rich, firm and resonant bass, who managed to catch the dilemma of the older father trying to do the best by everyone probably better than most.

The chorus sounds slightly under-populated but the sense that this was a Company ensemble on the up is palpable. There is a sense of excitement and theatricality that just blazes from the speakers. Thus, as a historic document this recording is of enormous value and importance and, provided you can live with the translation, it will bear enjoyable repeat listening.

Now, were any of Goodall’s English-language performances of “Tristan and Isolde” taped at broadcast? Might there be one with Remedios?

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