Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Michael Volle (center) as Hans Sachs in Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.' Michael Volle (center) as Hans Sachs in Wagner's 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Today at 12 pm, the new season of live broadcasts from the Met Opera continues with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

James Levine returns to Wagner in this epic comedy, which is back at the Met for the first time in eight years. Michael Volle is in the central role of Hans Sachs, the modest shoemaker. Johan Botha reprises the demanding role of Walther, the restless knight who has come to Nuremberg, where he quickly falls for Eva, the lovely daughter of Pogner, the wealthy goldsmith (played here by Annette Dasch).

One of the longest operas in the repertory, it features a stream of glorious melody that clocks in at six hours including intermissions.  The Met is reviving the 1993 Otto Schenk production one last time for this run.


Conductor: James Levine
Eva: Annette Dasch
Magdalene: Karen Cargill
Walther von Stolzing: Johan Botha
David: Paul Appleby
Hans Sachs: Michael Volle
Beckmesser: Johannes Martin Kränzle
Kothner: Martin Gantner
Pogner: Hans-Peter König
Nightwatchman: Matthew Rose

Comments [11]

Going to see this opera tonight. Very excited.

Dec. 17 2014 12:01 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I'd also like to compliment the harpist whose instrument takes the part of Beckmesser's lute. Although the score specifically calls for a lute, I'm sure a lutenist is probably never engaged because it would be difficult if not impossible to hear it, especially in an opera house the size of the Metropolitan. So much for absolute literalism. I don't know of any scholarship that's been done about this; all I know is that it's always been a harp in the live and recorded performances I've heard.

Dec. 14 2014 09:30 AM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

I should mention that besides my Juilliard training I studied voice with the legendary Friedrich Schorr, the greatest of Hans Sachs, Wotans and Dutchman exponents, with Alexander Kipnis, the Met Opera's reigning bass in his era in the Wagner and Mozart rep reigning supreme as Pogner, Gurnemanz, Marke, Margarete Matzenauer, heroic soprano AND contralto singing leads in many operas opposite Caruso and leading Wagnerians, Frieda Hempel starring opposite Caruso and a superior Eva and John Brownlee, Mack Harrell and Martial Singher, the latter three singing the role of Kothner at the MET. I mention this background to clarify and authenticate the cachet attached to my comments .www.WagnerOpera.com

Dec. 13 2014 06:50 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Muusic Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Now that the broadcast concluded at about 5:55 PM, it is apprpriate t6o highly praise the unico Maestro James Levine for his masterful moving forward this mammoth masterpiece. The unquestionable star was of course the Hans Sachs of Michael Volle with the BEST voice and dramaturgically the most involved, scoring high on his interaction with the other participants. Botha's upper middle voice is beautiful and unstrained, unforced, but the voice below that range is NOT beautiful nor exceptional. Also, when I attended his performances at the MET although the voice carried, projected well in the auditorium, it sounded not large but well supported. In my estimation, it is NOT a heldentenor, but a spinto lyric tenor. Again, the orchestra and the chorus of the MET are superior to others worldwide with which I am acquainted and better than their predecessors of many years ago when I first started my professional singing career and also attending performances worldwide. www.WagnerOpera.com

Dec. 13 2014 06:19 PM

CBC During one intermission, the other panelists identified the piece and said it ended on a B flat. She immediately corrected them that it was a B natural.
Then there was the hilarious oom-pa intermission with Goldovsky, Behr & Masiello. Great memories.

Dec. 13 2014 03:15 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

CBC: Hope you are well. Sorry I missed the interview with Ms.Masiello. I used to prompt with her mother's opera workshop, LaPuma Workshop and met her a few times. Great lady. she and her mother. Too bad you did not get my comments about the Sicilian Vespers and the password being chickpeas in dialect. True story
Too busy today to listen. But the good memories remain.

Dec. 13 2014 02:17 PM

What a flood of good memories when Fr. Owen Lee was interviewed & then his back & forths with the great Alberta Masiello. CBC I thought of you then.

Dec. 13 2014 02:11 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ

As would be expected, maestro Levine knows the score and the orchestra and chorus respond with utmost teamwork sonorously respecting him as no other conductor on the roster. Johan Botha, the Walther. has a fuller throated larger singing voice than was in his earlier seasons' performances. I have attended performances at the Met when Botha's singing as Otello carried well in the house. All the singers are vocally and interpretively in accord and the performance has a unified aura. Johannes Maretin-Kranzle has a better voice than most Beckmessors. Hans Peter-Konig has a noble voiced Pogner. Michael Volle as Hans Sachs easily commands the scenario with his sturdy voice and his personality. the I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, an opera composer; "Shakespeare' and "The Political Shakespeare," and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where spoken and singing vocal production are taught as well as all the Shakespeare and Wagner roles are coached. My 6 websites carry my 37 out of the over 100 selections of my singing four three-hour-long solo concerts in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of Carnegie Hall. They may be downloaded FREE at Recorded Selections. www.WagnerOpera.com

Dec. 13 2014 01:30 PM

I heard both Volle & Morris. I'm glad to have Volle today. As much as I respect Morris' almost 40 yrs at the Met & 900 performances, Sachs is too much for him now. Although Volle was beginning to get tired at he end, he still sounded better than Morris.

Dec. 13 2014 11:57 AM
David from Flushing

The new Met was provided with a pipe organ, though I cannot say if it is currently in use.

Dec. 13 2014 11:51 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Having heard the opening night performance via the internet, I can confirm that this is a completely uncut performance. James Morris was Hans Sachs in this performance and he imparted the world-wisdom of the character especially in "Wahn, wahn, u"berall wahn", (much as he did in The Wanderer in "Siegfried" in years gone by, though the two characters have nothing else in common as far as I can see. Mr. Volle and his Hans Sachs will be new to me. Johan Botha boasts of a true heldentenor timbre with no baritonal coloration to my ears. Mr. Ko"nig's Pogner is one for the ages; and messrs. Appleby and Kra"nzle certainly left nothing wanting to this listener. The female roles ---admittedly my shortcoming for thinking so --- aren't on the same level as those of the males, but I was completely satistified with mesdames Dasch and Cargill. The Orchestra under James Levine is an awesome wonder. I marvelled at the sonority and legato of the horns and bassoons in the Act III Prelude and wondered how they can sustain the legato at the required slow tempo without losing breath. I heard just one split note during the "Fliedermonolog" in an otherwise flawless evening's performance. The Chorus is likewise an awesome wonder, from the opening chorale of Act I., to the chaos halted by the Nightwatchman that ends Act II, to the "Wach auf" chorus of Act III, whose words are those of the real Hans Sachs. Those fortunate enough to see this performance will be delighted with the authentic sets and costumes provided by Otto Schenck's production, sadly to be abandoned after this run in favor of some desecrator's "concept". The "Prize Song" ("Morgenlich leuchtend...") had the fervor and beauty essential to it as rendered by Johan Botha. I, for one, favor the authenticity of a pipe organ (as in the Old Met) rather than an electronic one that accompanies the opening chorale in Act I; and I personally haven't heard any Walter sing the high C that climaxes his relating of the disaster of his initial singing of the Prize Song in Act I to Hans Sachs in Act II. By all means, do listen to this performance and/or attend during the rest of the run. In short, I loved it. I'll go out on a limb and opine that Mr. Lane will love it, too.

Dec. 13 2014 09:38 AM

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