k r i t i k e n   . .   m u s i k t h e a t e r




Wagner: Meistersinger, Glyndebourne Festival 2011
(I: McVickar, D: V. Jurowski)

New York Times:
Johannes Martin Kränzle’s Beckmesser, warmly sung with a richly resonant baritone, deserves a prize here.

The Standard:
Beckmesser (excellently played and sung by Johannes Martin Kränzle) remains onstage, sobbing, after his humiliation at the song contest, thereby attracting some sympathy, while a mood of non-triumphal bonhomie is suggested by the Masters linking arms in a kind of Bavarian Auld Lang Syne.

The Times:
The insecure mean-spirited and cackhanded Beckmesser is brilliantly depicted by Johannes Martin Kränzle.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
Den musikalischen Höhepunkt bietet Johannes Martin Kränzles wunderbar agiler, pingelig-süffisanter Beckmesser, ganz in Schwarz aufgemacht wie ein Kinderfänger.

The Arts Desk:
But that was because the two singers who really stole the show for me, Johannes Martin Kränzle and Michaela Selinger, were so much more comfortable in their stage skins - and hence in their voices - than anyone else....And I had to deliberately focus on Kränzle's Beckmesser to notice he was wiping a tear or two away after his self-inflicted humiliation. But this is in any case a riveting interpretation, pure Malvolio in the trajectory of humourless self-importance brought low, and McVicar certainly helps out his vivid mime scene when Beckmesser stumbles across the manuscript of Walter's song-text in Sachs's study. The Act Two serenade is perhaps the most straightforwardly beautiful singing of the evening; the garbled competition-entry in Act Three comes with an unexpectedly hilarious parody of bass-baritonal solemnity. That was the revelation of the evening for me, but it's impossible not to be seduced by the perfection of Glyndebourne on a dazzling afternoon.

The Telegraph:
He (Sachs) was up against an equally distinguished Beckmesser, sensitively uncaricatured by Johannes Martin Kränzle. His final, Malvolio-like humiliation was oddly moving.

The Independent:
...the perfect counterpart to Johannes Martin Kränzle's brilliant and believable Beckmesser.

Theatre Reviews:
Johannes Martin Kränzle was perfect in both voice and dramatic interpretation. He took full advantage of David McVicar’s clever production ideas. When he creeps into Sachs’s study in Act III the music allows time for plenty of side play and it was very funny: his tumbling over the bench, the paper sticking on his hand, and then his shoe, the boxes falling out of the shelves. It was all done with perfect comic timing. Kränzle and Finley as Beckmessser and Sachs were the stars of this performance.

Terra Colombia:
Johannes Martin Kränzle interpreta con inteligencia, buenas dosis de humor y excelente voz a Sixto Beckmesser.

Classical Music:
Thereafter he's more Buster Keaton than Shylock - and the episode in which he invades Sachs' house and steals the Prize Song is hilariously akin to Simon's Cat (the "Sticky Tape" film...). Bravo to Johannes Martin Kränzle, brilliant voice and fine actor.

The Guardian:
Beckmesser (Johannes Martin Kränzle) looks like Giacomo Meyerbeer, the German-Jewish, Paris-based composer, whom Wagner detested. The end is clever and disturbing. Walther, all charm, shiny boots and braid, delivers the prize song while Beckmesser sits sobbing uncontrollably in a corner. Kränzle - prissy, funny, and heartbreaking at the end – is
 very much Finley's equal in subtlety.

Entartete Musik:
Only Beckmesser (a superlative Johannes Martin Kränzle) sees the competition as an opportunity for personal gain, blind to Eva's lack of attention and his own shortcomings.
 Kränzle never verges into caricature and, even when his physical comedy is at its most idiotic, it is wedded to a credible personality. His inability to look beyond selfish reason places him at the opposite end of the spectrum to Sachs.

Classical Iconoclast:
Johannes Martin Kränzle is an effective Sixtus Beckmesser. He's the most elegant man in town, who's always got up in finery, unlike the locals who save it for festive occasions. Kränzle spinned out the curling lines sinuously and moved like a viper. At the end, when he played his lute like an air guitar, it was hilarious.

The Theatre Critic:
Johannes Martin Kränzle who did very fine work in creating a nuanced Beckmesser, much more than a one-dimensional fool whilst still finding plenty of comedy (in an evening largely short on laughs).

Finley’s vocal triumph is matched by Johannes Martin Kranzle as his comical nemesis Beckmesser.

The Scotsman:
Johannes Martin Kranzle's Beckmesser is a brilliant portrait of a town-hall pen-pusher.

Die Welt:
Johannes Martin Kränzle ist ein Beckmesser, der Sachs als Reaktionär in der Kunst gegenüber steht, ein bloßer Verseschmied, dessen Vorbild für Wagner kein jüdischer Mendelssohn sondern jener Musikkritiker Hanslick war, der seiner Kunst Steine in den Weg gelegt hatte. Er ist also, wie heute gern gezeigt, kein neutönender Dichter und Musiker. McVicar lässt den präzise singenden und als satirische Komödienfigur angelegten Intellektuellen, der aus dem Dickicht seiner Buchweisheit nicht herausfindet, am Ende unter Leitung von Sachs seinen Platz im Kreis der Meister finden: eingebunden als Garant von Tradition in der Kunst.

The Wall Street Journal:
… but Mr. McVicar has made the question irrelevant by getting a supremely comic performance from his vocally strong Beckmesser, German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle, who can also perform a perfect pratfall.

Musical Criticism:
For thrills and excitement we needed a convincing Beckmesser, and Johannes Martin Kränzle rose to the challenge in spades. This was an inspired performance – pompous, smug, but also alert and quick-witted, and wonderfully well sung. Kränzle understood above all how to deliver the role, bringing Sixtus Beckmesser to life (and succeeding in making him not unsympathetic), eoiling his way among his fellow mastersingers, a sneer in one direction, a respectful nod in another, always tidying his ridiculously glossy mop of black hair and listening, watching, waiting. McVicar avoided completely the Jewish caricature figure that Beckmesser is sometimes made to become. This Beckmesser was a solid, respected Nürnberg citizen, and Kränzle made the role his own. His baritone sound is clear, well-focused and his diction superb. Hugely enjoyable.ly enjoyable.

The Independent, 2.Kritik:
Styled after Meyerbeer, Johannes Martin Kränzle's Beckmesser is a social climber – finickety, vulnerable, wracked with shame after his calamitous performance in the contest for Eva's hand.

The Daily Telegraph:
Johannes Martin Kränzle’s Beckmesser is a wonderful comic creation, vocally strong and all the more touching for keeping on the right side of caricature.

Daily Mail:
A splendid performance from Johannes Martin Kranzle, endowing the pedantic town clerk, Beckmesser, with all the comedy and pathos of a pompous Malvolio.

Recitative Wordpress:
I was equally enthralled by the Sixtus Beckmesser of Johannes Martin Kränzle. Amidst a cast of Mastersingers who all had their detailed characters vividly conveyed, he was tireless in his attention to the character’s little ticks, nudges and asides whilst other action was unfolding. He projected the arch, fussy, prim, cutting, desperate and, ultimately, crushed Town Clerk to perfection. I never thought I’d see a Beckmesser to rival Thomas Allen at Covent Garden, but I was wrong.

The spectator:
Her other suitor Beckmesser is a vituoso portrayal by Johannes Martin Kränzle, a man so ill at ease with himself that he has to spend most of his energy finding what makes other people miserable.

Kieler Nachrichten:
Johannes Martin Kränzle macht aus Beckmesser keine oberflächliche Karikatur, sondern eine fein ausgelotete Charakterstudie. Nachdem er vom Volk ausgelacht und verhöhnt worden ist, darf er trotz all seiner boshaften Entgleisungen im Kreis der Meister bleiben.

Capriccio, Deutschland:
Ein weiteres Highlight der Live-Übertragung aus Glyndebourne ins Internet und ins Kino und ganz großes Musiktheater ist das Zusammenspiel zwischen ihm und dem grandiosen Johannes Martin Kränzle. Sein Bariton ist sogar noch versierter als Finleys. Was Kränzle an Farben, Triller, Mimik, Stimmbeherrschung und Persönlichkeit aufbietet, katapultiert ihn gleich in die erste Reihe der Interpreten.

Leidmotief, Niederlande:
Johannes-Martin Kränzle, stilaan niet meer weg te denken uit het Wagnervak, leverde een superbe Beckmesser af. Je vraagt je af hoe we getalenteerde acteurs maar halfslachtige zangers als Dale Duesing zo lang hebben kunnen verdragen in deze rol. Kränzle zingt de partij steeds met volle stem en beschikt daarbij ook over het nodige komische talent. De pantomime in het derde bedrijf, wanneer hij het lied van Sachs meent te stelen, is hilarisch en geïnspireerd door slapstick uit de stomme film. Kan ik het helpen dat ik er Meyerbeer in herken?

Johannes Martin Kranzle is a consummate Beckmesser. The town clerk’s comeuppance after he steals Walther’s song in an attempt to win the contest is a riveting sight. Suddenly the humourless, self-important pedant is, like Shakespeare’s Malvolio, deflated and shamed.

Music OMH:
The other Mastersingers are roundly characterized, most obviously Johannes Martin Kränzle’s foppish Malvolio of a Beckmesser – a notable Glyndebourne debut for this great lyric baritone.

Capriccio, England:
Beckmesser, the comedy figure in this drama, was equally fantastically portrayed by Johannes Martin Kranzle, so many lovely little details of characterisation and a vocal performance that was genuinely pleasant to hear.

Aus der Sängerriege ragt neben Finley vor allem Johannes Martin Kränzle heraus, der die stets vom Karikaturhaften bedrohte Figur des Beckmesser berührend menschlich vorführt, ihr etwas von Shakespeares Malvolio gibt.

Daily Metro, Golden News:
Attention, Hollywood: you need Johannes-Martin Kränzle's comic services. No, you don't know him. That's because he's an opera singer. While you, Hollywood, have been cranking out bad comedies, opera has been cranking out new productions that will wow even the unmusical. Kränzle does exactly that in the new production of Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (the Mastersingers of Nuremberg) at Glyndebourne, the summer opera festival in bucolic Sussex. Yes, Wagner can be hilarious -- if you have the right singers. Kränzle, the owner of a warm baritone voice, inhabits the role of Beckmesser to such effect that the audience laughed out loud. Beckmesser, a pedantic city clerk in medieval Nuremberg, is modeled on Eduard Hanslick, a conservative music critic who attacked Wagner's progressive tonalities. Wagner paid him back with Beckmesser, who writes and performs terribly unimaginative and rule-bound songs. Kränzle injects a pathetic humor into the antics of the vain and insecure Beckmesser -- all the while singing with a beautiful tone and admirable enunciation. Try that, Vince Vaughn.

Radio 3:
Johannes Martin Kränzle's Beckmesser: that was one of the standout performances, beautifully sung (without caricature), and some wonderful physical acting.

opusklassiek (Niederlande):
Naast deze Sachs kan Johannes Martin Kränzle zich uitleven als een eveneens iets jongere Beckmesser, meer precieus dan pedant, eerder een opgeblazen en overgeëmotioneerde puber die nooit volwassen is geworden, en daardoor als huwelijkskandidaat geloofwaardiger. Deze muzikaal tot trefzeker uitgewerktevertolking, die ondanks de extraverte uitwerking nergens tot karikatuur verwordt, plaatst Kränzle in één klap in de eredivisie! Bovendien is hier wel degelijk sprake van geloofwaardige rivaliteit tussen Bechmesser en de fraai gezongen Stolzing van Marco Jentsch, een wat nonchalant ogende plattelandsjonker met stoppelbaard, intellectueel waarschijnlijk niet op hetzelfde niveau als de stadsschrijver, maar wel iemand met 'savoir vivre'.

Also notable in the cast was Johannes Martin Kränzle as the “Mr Collins”-esque Sixtus Beckmesser (apologies for lapsing into Jane Austen territory!). His portrayal of Beckmesser as a bumbling, confuddled old man was at times laugh-out-loud funny and yet somehow at the same time, very moving.

Cultura, Spanien:
També m’ha agradat moltíssim el Sixtus Beckmesser de Johannes Martin Kränzle, amb una notable veu de baríton i una actuació tragicòmica digne de les més altes condecoracions teatrals (genial gag al tercer acte amb una rebel·lió de la prestatgeria de casa Sachs), però amb uns moments finals veritablement colpidors.

Opera, England:
Finley had a worthy antagonist in the Beckmesser of Johannes Martin Kränzle. He is a remarkable actor, and it was hard to believe he was the same who sings Valens in the Salzburg Theodora. Here, he was a youngish, rather handsome man, a credible suitor. He sung every note as beautifully as possible, and proved a resourceful comedian -he and McVicar devised some new gags for his third-act mime. Most important, he never for a minute lost his dignity, and his downfall was very affecting.



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