Notes and Editorial Reviews
This disc received the 1998 Grammy Award for "Best Opera Recording" and was also nominated for "Best Engineered Album, Classical" and "Best Classical Album."
George Solti's final recording of Wagner is a testament to this great musician's powers of renewal. Returning to 'Die Meistersinger' after more than twenty years, Solti was determined to emphasize the conversational nature of the opera and as a result his reading has both a lightness and fluidity unique on recording. To this end he cast singers in the principal roles who were also great Mozart singers, albeit ones with the power to do justice to Wagner's music. Although quick by the clock, nothing sounds either rushed or skimped, and the humanity of Wagner's conception is everywhere in evidence.
The casting is from strength throughout. José Van Dam adds to his gallery of Wagner roles with a wonderfully human, beautifully sung Hans Sachs. René Pape and Karita Mattila bring great beauty to the Pogners and Ben Heppner's ardent Walter possesses both beauty of tone and idiomatic German. Alan Opie's Beckmesser is convincing both as a comic villain and a meistersinger of good standing. There are several great recordings of this opera, to which the present one must be considered a formidable addition.