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Cat. No. CHAN 3148(4) Price: £27 No. of discs: 4
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CHAN 3148 - Wagner: The Mastersingers of Nuremberg
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Available From: 01 July 2008
‘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.’ Nicholas Payne writes of Goodall’s Mastersingers “the rise and fall of Goodall’s orchestra is drenched in tears which encompass both supreme joy and unrequited sorrow. Goodall sensed that the generosity of spirit which inhabited Sadler’s Wells and its company in the final years at that theatre would never be recaptured.”

Sir Peter Moores comments on this release: “The resounding success of Reginald Goodall's Mastersingers led to his conducting an 'English' Ring at the London Coliseum in the 1970s. That Ring started me recording opera in English so I am thrilled that we have been able to add The Mastersingers to our Opera in English catalogue – alongside Goodall's Ring.”

An ensemble singing an ensemble opera: that is perhaps the performance’s greatest strength, but there are many moments when it rises far above that… Whether you were around or not, do listen to this supremely humane account of a supremely humane opera, and learn
Opera (Disc of the Month)

What made Goodall’s conducting so special was his sense of the long line infused with highly detailed phrasing and articulation. His tempos were famously slow, which means the performance recorded here has a few theatrical cuts, but alongside the majesty and nobility he captures so well in Wagner’s writing is n unerring feeling of momentum.
The Telegraph

The seeds of the conductor’s later Wagner style – grand, weighty, delighting in rich string sonorities and ‘singing’ melodic lines in the orchestra, with an uncommon attention to instrumental detail – and ENOs mostly home-grown Wagner ensemble were sown here… Goodall’s towering achievement shines through…
Sunday Times

The excellent ensemble cast includes transportive performances from Alberto Remedios as Walther, Margaret Curphey as the auctioned-off Eva and Norman Bailey, moving as the hero Hans Sachs.
The Times

Happily it is an astonishing bargain, and comes at a wholly manageable cost, even at a time of recession. For vastly less than it costs to fill up a car, any car, a person can own one of the richest, rarest Wagner recordings of all time. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for any Wagnerian that you really love. I am doing both
Wagner News

May a thousand blessings fall on the head of Peter Moores for persuading the BBC to release this archive 1968 live broadcast of one of the greatest-ever triumphs of Sadler’s Wells Opera (later to be ENO) The singing and playing show a large, ambitious company bursting with enthusiasm and talent… You can’t help but be swept long by his inexorable drive through the score. And aside from all this, you feel you’re listening to a moment of history: the production marked a turning point in the company’s life, and it was because of the success of this staging that Sadler’s Wells felt it had the resources to go on to produce the English Ring cycle which was to be it most monumental triumph. A joyous revelation.
Classic FM Magazine

…it’s Goodall – his stately but never sagging tempi, his organic view of the music – who defines the performance.
Financial Times

Reginald Goodall’s English-language performance in 1968 marked the start of 15-year-long Wagnerian golden age, as far as Sadler’s Wells (later ENO) was concerned.
The Guardian

John Warrack Gramophone Critic’s Choice 2008

Given such standards, the fact that the text is sung in English is neither here nor there… more memorable is the evident confidence of both singers that those long periods of preliminary work with the conductor were helping to ensure that they could deliver complete performances on the highest level, even in the most demanding later stages of Act III. After a thrillingly enforced Prize Song from Remedios we can marvel at the imposing yet supremely eloquent authority of Bailey, sustained into a peerless account of the final monologue. Such confidence, demonstrating unusually high levels of understanding on the part of the singer, is to be found throughout the ensemble. …all technical issues aside – there is an extra dimension to the Sadler’s Wells recording. Haitink at Covent Garden had heart in abundance; but with Goodall there is something else – soul?
The Wagner Journal

This is not only something very special, but (for Anglophiles) strikingly accessible. Pure gold!
BBC Music Magazine 'Choice'

For years Wagner enthusiasts had been hoping for the release of CD of the legendary Mastersingers led by Sir Reginald Goodal in 1968 at Sadler’s Wells Opera. It’s finally appeared as part of Chandos’ invaluable opera in English series, and yes, it justifies its exalted reputation…The recorded sound is hugely better than expected.
International Record Review

Here is one legend which hits the light of a 2008 day as brightly as it shone 40 years ago. Goodall’s understanding of what every beat of this score means, and his successful cast is a thing of wonder… this Chandos release genuinely becomes on of the miracles of the current Wagner discography.

Arnold Whittall Gramophone Critic’s Choice 2008

As I wrote when I reviewed the earlier release, Allen is the most polished vocalist in the Chandos Great operatic Arias series. His diction is crystal clear, and the timbre is handsome and velvety, so enticing in itself it makes you listen more attentively to the words and music… I’d be up for a third volume if Chandos would oblige
American Record Guide

The word ‘legendary’ gets trotted out in many situations where it doesn’t really apply, but it can fairly be attached to the Wagner performances of Reginald Goodall.
Opera News

This is a remarkable document, finally available to the public in general circulation and good sound (it had circulated in the underground, in tapes of varying quality, for years). It is not just for Wagnerian specialists. Unless the idea of Wagner in English is repulsive to you, this is an important and supremely satisfying recording of Die Meistersinger


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