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Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Theo Adam/Gwyneth Jones/Bayreuth Festival Choir and Orchestra/Karl Bohm) Live recording Bayreuth 1968 Box set

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Product details

  • Conductor: Karl Bohm
  • Composer: Richard Wagner
  • Audio CD (29 Sep 2008)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Orfeo
  • ASIN: B001E82GH2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,428 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg (56 tracks on 4 CD's) - Richard Wagner

Product Description


Here is a timely reminder of the Wagner festival s musical glory days... This opening night of the 1968 festival finds Böhm at his most genial, the wonderful chorus and orchestra at their peak, and a cast headed by Theo Adam s noble and tireless Sachs, Waldemar s Kmentt s golden-toned Stolzing and Thomas Hemsley s fusspot of a Beckmesser. The surprise here is Gwyneth Jones s radiant, big-voiced Eva, suggesting dramatic heroines to come. And the support includes two favourite Karajan basses, Karl Ridderbusch (Pogner) and Kurt Moll (Night Watchman) riches indeed. --Hugh Canning, Sunday Times, October 12, 2008

A Bayreuth recording, especially one as strong as this, has numerous advantages over a studio version, the only penalty being the occasional imperfections of live performance (which I regard as a sign of veracity and vivacity). First, you get the unique Bayreuth acoustic - unmistakable as soon as the overture starts, albeit captured a little fiercely at some of the climaxes. Then you have an elite ensemble, properly rehearsed and throwing caution to the wind. They are led by Theo Adam - my favourite Sachs (I heard him in the 1980s in Munich and Berlin), sounding more resonant here than on Karajan's EMI studio recording. Thomas Hemsley is the vivid Beckmesser, while the vibrant young Gwyneth Jones (Eva) is captured in glorious voice. To crown it all, Karl Böhm conducts with vigour, insight and affection. Vintage Wagner, vintage Bayreuth. --Andrew Clark, Financial Times, October 2008

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. E. Potts on 26 Feb 2010
Just a quick note about this recording incase you've been put off by the fact that Orfeo recordings can sometimes be a bit rough! The recording itself is first class, recorded by german radio in 1968 with full stereo and is well balanced. As for the performance, although it doesn't match Karajan on EMI for precision and emotion what you do get is a front row seat at Bayreuth with all the excitement and the Bayreuth sound, as is mentioned above in the amazon write up. Bohm's conducting is more subtle than Karajan and he brings out the subtleties of the score which gives another perspective to this comic masterpeice, making it flow more lightly and in my opinion this approach suits this opera better as it is not Parsifal or Triston and is at times a reminence back to the classical comic opera age of Mozart at times. Gwyneth Jones is also fabulous but she is one of my fave sopranos so I'm a bit biased!

If you are new to this opera I would recommend Karajan on EMI as first choice because of the studio recording, but If like me you love Wagner, buy it immediately! The great Bohm conducting with a classic cast in great stereo sound at Bayreuth - what more could you ask for!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 April 2012
There are several surprises in store for you on this recording. First the sound is terrific: full, very slightly peaky stereo as if you had a stalls seat with a minimum of audience noise and the only distraction being the sound of heavy-footfalls when the apprentices are cavorting or the townsfolk are dancing in the last scene.

Secondly, none of the principal voices is quite what you might expect, either from the point of view of previous knowledge of them as singers or regarding their suitability to their roles. Instead of the usual weedy-voiced David, we have the fairly hefty-voiced Hermin Esser, who was a dreadful Erik in Böhm's studio "Der Fliegende Holländer" but gives us here a more virile and assertive character than normal, despite some unwieldy moments. Conversely, Waldemar Kmentt gives us a lighter Walther than we are accustomed to, somewhat lacking in the requisite cutting-power at the climaxes of his "Morgenlich" stanzas and audibly over-stretched in the final scene but nonetheless very musical and with enough stamina to avoid bawling. Continuing the theme of voice-type reversals, we hear a young dramatic soprano Gwyneth Jones as a much larger-voiced Eva than normal, a little gusty and over-vibrant at times but able to fine down her voice for the celebrated Quintet and very passionate in her portrayal of a spirited young woman, especially credible in "O Sachs! Mein Freund". Magdalene, however, is not the usual fruity matron but another young woman, appealing sung by Janis Martin as a suitable companion to Eva and match for David.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 April 2012
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This great work has had many recordings, including in the modern stereo era, but all have been flawed in some fairly major way resulting in allowances having to be made. The received wisdom is that the best recommendation is the Kubelik recording of 1970, now 24 bit remastered on Arts Archives (Arte Nova). I'm not such an admirer of this performance as most others for reasons I have oft stated in other reviews, and besides my "allergy" to Konya's glottal singing, I am not enamoured of many of Kubelik's interpretative touches. It IS excellent, and I wouldn't quarrel with anyone who gives it top recommendation-but I prefer Karajan's Dresden recording despite Adam's rather staid Sachs and Geraint Evans' gross distortion of a Beckmesser.
I finally broached this recording expecting to find Bohm's usual swift and lithe way with Wagner unsuited to this work, as much as it was suited to Tristan and The Ring.
From the first bars I knew that my expectations were about to confounded, as the tempo and shaping were just perfect, medium to slow paced and totally uncharacteristic of the Bohm we know from his other Bayreuth recordings.
Let me say at this point that despite a whole legion of what might be seen as flaws, this is the most magical recording of the work I have heard and immediately leaps to first place in my affections.
The reasons are difficult to put into words, but I'd better try or this review will be pointless and I will attract even more "unhelpful" votes than normal from my usual trolls.
Let me try and give a real flavour of the experience.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By s.s on 27 May 2014
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I have been searching for a long time for the perfect Meistersinger. Usually, with Wagner’s greatest works, there is inevitably a flaw or two in most recordings. Singers, tempi, sound quality e.t.c. This recording is just superb. The Bohm said that he wanted to lighten up the score to truly portray this as a comic opera. This is of course a lie. All the instruments can be heard clearly, and the sound is very powerful. You are immersed in that golden sound of 60’s analogue with all it’s rich and swirling depth. All the singers take their roles seriously. Theo Adam is a new one on me. I usually prefer a Norman Bailey type voice, but I now think I prefer Adam. The real surprise is Beckmesser. This role is usually portrayed in a highly accentuated manner. This was probably hilarious back in 1876 or whatever. I rather hate it. But, fortunately, in this recording the singer, Thomas Hemsley, takes the role seriously, and ignores this dated silliness. This is a superb recording. The problem I usually have with Meistersinger, is its great length. I often, even as much as I love Wagner, get dragged down a bit in the occasions where the drama just seems to drag a bit. In this recording, no such problems. Bohm keeps the pace going, and the excitement and the enjoyment as well. This is one of those rare occasions where I am so satisfied with this recording, I have little or no desire for any other recording. You can never have enough recordings of the Ring, each one usually has a rogue character or two, or some lazy conducting, but this recording is outstanding. A benchmark. I had to fork out £34 for this, and I am delighted I did. Of course, with a Live recording, you have to be aware of random noises, coughing epidemics, e.t.c. Apart from some rumbling in the first scene, there seems to be none at all.Read more ›
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