This archive edition was Editor's Choice in the classical music magazine Gramophone.
For the first time ever, the legendary centenary production of Wagner's 'The Mastersingers', conducted by Reginald Goodall, is released as a 4-CD set on Chandos Opera in English. Broadcast live on the BBC from Sadler's Wells Theatre on 10 February 1968, Goodall conducted a cast of such luminaries as Alberto Remedios, Norman Bailey, Derek Hammond-Stroud, Gregory Dempsey, Margaret Curphey and Ann Robson. Following the live broadcast, the recording sadly disappeared into the archives and has since become one of the most talked about lost performances. Music-lovers have regularly contacted Chandos requesting its release on Opera in English, and it is one that Sir Peter Moores was determined to make happen. It even led to an appeal for individuals recordings of the broadcast! This 4-CD set has subsequently been re-mastered from a BBC Radio live broadcast. The sound quality reflects the fact it is a 1968 live recording and some deterioration is evident, although this does not detract from the fantastic performance value. A popular comic opera The Mastersingers is an ensemble opera in a sense which Wagner s other operas are not. Yet, despite its comic opera standing, it is in fact a deeply spiritual work. Wagner wrote, "it is impossible that you should not have sensed, under the opera's quaint superficies of popular humour, the profound melancholy, the lament, the cry of distress of poetry in chains, and its reincarnation, its new birth, its irresistible magic power achieving mastery over the common and the base".
This music drama in three acts with music composed by German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) has libretto by the composer, English translation by Frederick Jameson, revised by Norman Feasey and Gordon Kember.
The cast is as follows: bass-baritone Norman Bailey (Hans Sachs, cobbler), bass Noel Mangin (Veit Pogner, goldsmith), tenor David Kane (Kunz Vogelgesang, furrier), bass Julian Moyle (Konrad Nachtigal, tinsmith), baritone Derek Hammond-Stroud (Sixtus Beckmesser, town clerk), bass David Bowman (Fritz Kothner, baker), tenor John Brecknock (Balthasar Zorn, pewterer), tenor David Morton-Gray (Ulrich Eisslinger, grocer), tenor Dino Pardi (Augustin Moser, tailor), bass James Singleton (Hermann Ortel, soapmaker), bass Gerwyn Morgan (Hans Schwarz, stocking weaver), bass Eric Stannard (Hans Foltz, coppersmith), tenor Alberto Remedios (Walther von Stolzing, a young knight from Franconia), tenor Gregory Dempsey (David, Sachs' apprentice), soprano Margaret Curphey (Eva, Pogner's daughter), mezzo-soprano Ann Robson (Magdalene, Eva's nurse) and bass Stafford Dean (Nightwatchman)with the Sadler's Wells Opera Chorus and Sadler's Wells Opera Orchestra conducted by Reginald Goodall. The assistant conductor was Leonard Hancock.
It was the resounding success of Reggie Goodall's 'Mastersingers' that led to his conducting an 'English' 'Ring' at the London Coliseum in the 1970s. That 'Ring' moved me so intensely that I decided the performance must not be allowed to fade into the pas, and sent me knocking on doors to preserve it on record. So I am thrilled that we have been able to add 'The Mastersingers' to our Opera in English catalogue - alongside Reggie's superb 'Ring'.
Sir Peter Moores, CBE, DL.
4 CDs, case, booklet and cardboard slipcase: All excellent.