It was a triumph for the usual Bayreuth teamwork and no individual performance stood out, except perhaps for the cohesive effect achieved by the still young conductor, Herbert von Karajan, who at this stage of his career had not yet developed the emphasis on legato which was to sap the inner life of so many of his later performances. Edelmann's Sachs is genial rather than profound, a portrayal in the line of Frantz, Schöffler or Stewart rather than Radford, Schorr or Hotter, to name three outstanding recorded exponents. Kunz, Malaniuk and Unger live up to their reputations as being among the finest post-war singers. The young lovers are more problematical: Hopf is a sturdy craftsman rather than a poet, and Schwarzkopf, of whom it could never be said that her art is the kind that disguises art, is hardly an ingenue; at times one longs for a less tremulous tone and the straightforward radiance of a Grümmer.
Hans Hopf/Elizabeth Schwarzkopf/Ira Malaniuk/Gerhard Unger/Otto Edelmann
Herbert von Karajan/Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus