Wednesday 11th January 2012 – 4:30pm
Wagner Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
This concert has a running time of c. 5 hours 45 minutes including two intervals.
Royal Opera Chorus
Renato Balsadonna Chorus Director
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Sergey Levitin Co-concert Master
Sir Antonio Pappano conductor
Wolfgang Koch Hans Sachs
Emma Bell Eva
Simon O’Neill Walther
Toby Spence David
Peter Coleman-Wright Sixtus Beckmesser
Sir John Tomlinson Veit Pogner
Heather Shipp Magdalene
Pablo Bemsch Augustin Moser
Nicholas Folwell Konrad Nachtigall
Martyn Hill Balthazar Zorn
Colin Judson Kunz Vogelgesang
Jihoon Kim Hermann Ortel
Robert Lloyd Nightwatchman
Donald Maxwell Fritz Kothner
Andrew Rees Ulrich Eisslinger
Jeremy White Hans Foltz
Richard Wiegold Hans Schwarz
Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival opens with an unmissable event: The Royal Opera makes its much-anticipated return to Birmingham to launch a sequence of Wagner’s four greatest music dramas. Hear an outstanding cast in Wagner’s epic comedy about the power and glory of song, under the inspired baton of Sir Antonio Pappano.
BBC Music magazine’s Editor, Oliver Condy, recommends tonight’s concert:
Here’s a chance to catch the composer at his more light-hearted, performed by a world-class bunch of musicians. Wagner’s greatest tunes coupled with a touching storyline will ensure the time will fly by.
Bryn Terfel has regrettably had to withdraw from the role of Hans Sachs due to a chest infection. We are pleased to be able to announce that the role will be taken by German bass-baritone Wolfgang Koch, who has been delivering outstanding performances as Sachs in the current staged production at the Royal Opera House. Koch has previously triumphed as Hans Sachs at the Vienna Staatsoper, and his highly praised Wagnerian roles also include Alberich (Das Rheingold, Siegfried) and Amfortas (Parsifal). All other casting remains as before.
If you are a ticket holder for this performance and you have any queries, please contact the Box Office on 0121 345 0600.
Concert performance sung in German with English surtitles. Please note surtitles may not be visible from every seat. Please check when booking.
One of a series of Wagner’s greatest operas, performed in the space of 6 months as part of Symphony Hall’s 21st Anniversary Festival.
Tristan und Isolde – Saturday 3 March
Good Friday: Gergiev conducts Parsifal – Friday 6 April
Wagner’s Ring: Die Walküre – Saturday 30 June
Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
Click here for full review
... “The principals were uniformly magnificent, headed by Wolfgang Koch as Hans Sachs: the indisposed Bryn Terfel was not missed here, Koch displaying all the intricacies of Sachs’ maverick yet wise character, and with a huge range of emotion in evidence.
Simon O’Neill was a sturdy, ringing Walther von Stolzing, rising superbly to Wagner’s cruel Prize Song challenge at the end of a long sing; John Tomlinson brought an endearing sense of bewilderment to Veit Pogner, wondering if he’s done the right thing in offering his daughter’s hand to the Prize Songwinner; that daughter, Eva, was sung and acted by Emma Bell with more personality than we sometimes see in the role, and her companion Magdalena was portrayed again far more roundly than usual by Heather Shipp.
And everyone’s hearts were captured by the David of Toby Spence, open-voiced and despatching his apprentice duties so appealingly.”
Review by Rohan Shotton, Bachtrack:
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… “The soloists were largely superb in both voice and character, none more so than Sir John Tomlinson, whose Pogner exuded a glorious mix of power and grace: he was not the stale, daughter-selling fool he could be, but noble and commanding, and hinting at wistfulness in announcing the gift of his daughter. His presence filled the hall from the moment of his entry to his bow (greeted by the largest cheer of the evening), and he sang faultlessly with a magnificently full tone. His dialogue with Emma Bell as Eva early in Act II was touchingly gentle from both parties. Bell sang beautifully, mustering broad, lengthy lines with barely an effort. She switched from haughtiness with Sachs to radiant glow at the sight of Walther with fine command of both moods, and her vocal control was very impressive.” …
Review by Geoff Read, SeenandHeard:
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… “The star of Scene 2, and indeed the singer who throughout was the perfect fit for his role, was Toby Spence as David. Both his interaction with the other apprentices (twelve on this instance and constituting the front row of the centre choir stalls) and his instruction of Walther in the ways of the Nürnberg singing contest were exemplary. Seeing David later taking up his indentures from Sachs, made me wonder how long it might be before Spence himself plays the noble cobbler. His Der Meister Tone und Weisen was full of beautiful tone and melody, loud notes and soft, short ones and long, a contrasting range of colour, a diversity of flora and animal sounds; David knew the endless list of rules and Spence delivered them all.” …
Comment by SCO Helen at the Guardian:
“Your reviewers have missed a treat – Birmingham Symphony Hall last night was the place to be! The concert performance of the Royal Opera House’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nurnburg was absolutely wonderful. Although Bryn Terfel was ill and could not take the role of Hans Sachs, he was admirably replaced by Wolfgang Koch, who played the role at the ROH. This meant that we were seeing the whole ROH cast, and they were very relaxed and natural with each other, acting far more than in usual in concert performances and thus giving us a very near approximation of the staged production. This was complemented by excellent surtitles, so that the dialogue was easy to follow. It was admirably and clearly sung in every case, with Sir John Tomlinson outstanding as Pogner and Toby Spence radiant as David.
The acoustics of Symphony Hall made the effect of the orchestral highlights and, particularly, of the chorus ‘Wach Auf’ in the final act absolutely overwhelming. And – a delight for a Guardian reader – Hans Sachs was reading yesterday’s copy of The Guardian onstage in Act 3 !
I should also have mentioned the magnificent orchestra under Antonio Pappano, who clearly has many Birmingham fans – he was greeted with cheers as soon as he walked onstage. Die Meistersinger is an incredible marathon for the orchestra and conductor – almost 5 hours of playing, with the final act lasting two hours without a break. They were superb throughout.”