WAGNER Meistersinger von Nürnberg DVD-VI 0730949

Heppner's tones are gorgeously lyrical . . . Levine emphasizes lyricism over concision . . . His love for the score is palpable, especially in the lengthy stretches in which the orchestra is allowed to speak for itself . . . An experience that is ultimately more intimate than anything we could have known live in the theatre.

Ben Heppner is the supreme Walther of our day -- musical, expressive, tonally firm -- and despite his heft makes a convincing lovelorn knight . . . Brian Large's direction for the cameras -- plenty of close-ups and reaction shots -- is exemplary and the surround-sound mixes bring real impact.

Wagner's glowing celebration of humanity, youthful love and art receives glorious treatment in this live 2001 performance from the Metropolitan Opera. James Levine conducts a warm, knowing account of the composer's resplendent score, extracting sterling playing from the Met Orchestra and inspiring a cast that could have few rivals today. At the center is James Morris, whose Hans Sachs is a model of wisdom and
empathy. Karita Mattila exudes special radiance as Eva, and Ben Heppner is a ringingly lyrical Walther. The casting of British baritone Thomas Allen as the pathetic Beckmesser can only be termed luxurious. And the production is traditional, in the best sense of the word . . . A+

Heppner moves a bit stiffly, but he sings with ardor, clarity and ringing strength; and he commands both the power and the lyricism demanded by the music . . . The Met orchestra does not disappoint and Levine's conducting is always alert and affectionate . . . A magical performance warmly recommended.

. . . an incredible richness and complexity and evokes a whole host of conflicting emotions . . . superb performance . . . all the intimacy of this remarkable work comes vividly to life. Clearly, this is the finest MD version of the opera currently available . . . With his clear, unbaritonal lyric Heldentenor, Ben Heppner is the most convincingly poetic Walther on DVD . . . This amiable, large-scale performance will remain highly recommendable.

Ein Sängerfest: Das ist es, was der nun auf DVD erschienene Mitschnitt einer Produktion der Met bietet. Große, unforcierte Stimmen sind zu hören -- wie oft kann man das heutzutage von einer Wagner-Vorstellung sagen? . . . Ben Heppner als Stolzing vereint dramatisches Potenzial und Ebenmaß in der Ausformung der Phrasen. Häufig setzt er auf ein zurückhaltendes Singen, wobei er seinen hervorragend zentrierten, leuchtkräftigen Tenor mit enormer Gespanntheit, doch nie angespannt führt . . . Ein Sängerfest -- das ist diese Met-Produktion . . .

Ben Heppner, en particulier, chante Walter comme personne . . . et James Morris très subtil, très émouvant dans le rôle de Hans Sachs . . . La direction de James Levine est à l'image du spectacle: naturelle, animée et sans arrière-pensée.

Brillant, comme d'habtitude, Levine mène ces "Maîtres" avec un lyrisme élégant et généreux.

Levine dirige en splendeur un orchestre somptueux. Bravo . . .