Monday, March 12, 2007

Here's hoping...

A.C. Douglas steps, to my mind, briefly out of character in praising Wieland Wagner's 1952 production of Meistersinger:

Whomever might have directed the Met's Meistersinger, I suspect he's no match for Wieland Wagner in that capacity, and much as I admire and am impressed with the Wagner conductor James Levine has lately become, he's no match for Knappertsbusch in that capacity — few conductors are — and Kna makes this score in its musical and dramatic totality come alive in a way that the experiencing of it was for me almost Damascene — so much so that I'm now for the first time contemplating purchasing a full score of Meistersinger, and immersing myself in it completely as I have with the other mature Wagner operas.

At first, I did a double-take, nearing a spit-take, when I saw that. However, a quick check of Vincent Vargas' helpful Wagner Operas site told me that 1956 was the premiere of the abstract, stylized Meistersinger that so enraged the Green Hill faithful. I suppose, then, that the 1952 Festspiele used an older production, but it's hard to imagine not using a modified version of the wartime production, since '51 was the inaugural postwar running.

Let's hope that's the case. It would really make waves were A.C. Douglas to praise Wieland's later work - especially given his public distaste for the progenitor of the "Eurotrash" Regietheater directors of the current age. Also, he might want to check out Wilhelm Furtwängler's 1943 recording at Bayreuth. The sound is passable, but not great at all, and there are some substantial lacunae. However, Furtwängler had a way with Wagner (and most composers) that was and is inimitable.


At 1:33 PM, Blogger A.C. Douglas said...

Rest easy. I wasn't commenting on the production per se in mentioning Wieland as director (how could I?; it's an audio CD), but on Wieland's handling of the actor side of the singer/actors involved.


At 2:12 PM, Blogger Patrick J. Smith said...

Whew. That's a relief, for some odd reason.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Terry said...

There is nothing better than a night of good Wagner, and star-gazing.


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