Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg opera to a libretto by the composer. Directed 2008 by Katharina Wagner at the Bayreuth Festspiele. Stars Franz Hawlata, Artur Korn, Charles Reid, Rainer Zaun, Michael Volle, Markus Eiche, Edward Randall, Hans-Jürgen Lazar, Stefan Heibach, Martin Snell, Andreas Macco, Diogenes Randes, Klaus Florian Vogt, Norbert Ernst, Michaela Kaune, Carola Guber, and Friedemann Röhlig. Sebastian Weigle conducts the Bayreuther Festspiele Orchestra and the Beyreuther Festspiele Chorus (Chorus Master Eberhard Friedrich; Music Spervisor Christoph Ulrich Meier). Stage design by Tilo Steffens; costume design by Michaela Barth and Tilo Steffens; lighting by Andreas Grüter; dramaturgy by Robert Sollich; directed for TV by Andreas Morell. Released 2010, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: B

This is probably the most glorious example of superübereurotrash that we now have in HDVD. I tend to give these titles the faint praise grade of "C" or, when the trash heap is high enough, a "C+." Maybe this one should be "C+++." The prop list for this productions probably has as many pages as the score. There are twists, puzzles, and inside jokes here to satisfy the most astute Wagner trivia expert. By the way, along with the psycho stuff and gratuitous salaciousness, there is also a lot of wonderful music, great acting, and beautiful singing. I'll also admit that I was never bored. The video and sound recordings seemed fine to me. But Peter J. Rabinowitz writing in the International Record Review called this "the least impressive Blu-ray opera I've heard." (Hey! Here's a magazine critic who has a hi-definition TV, That's as rare as a penguin in Panama!)

Later comment: The May 2013 issue of Gramophone has a long article considering all the major recordings in history of Die Meistersinger. Arnold Whittall picks the DVD version of subject title as the best "radical" video available of Meistersinger (page 120). Since this is also the only radical Meistersinger available in Blu-ray, we can safely conclude that this is the best radical Meistersinger by a large margin from a field of 6 candidates (in early 2013). Of subject title Whittall says, "not everything works, but at its best this is a formidably accomplished achievement." Based on this, I increased the grade from "C+" to "B."

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