Music: Classic and Choice for Christmas

Wagner, Die Meistersinger: Baritone Norman Bailey, Tenor Rene Kollo, Soprano Hannelore Bode; Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Sir Georg Solti conducting (5 LPs, London). Baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Tenor Placido Domingo, Soprano Catarina Ligendza; Chorus and Orchestra of the German Opera, Berlin, Eugen Jochum conducting (5 LPs, Deutsche Grammophon). Here are two performances—one extraordinary, one merely excellent—of an operatic marvel that over the years has proved difficult to commit to disc. The Solti is the more spacious and relaxed of the two; because of London's typically distant engineering, it also has a...

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