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  • Your Reaction: What did you think of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg?

Your Reaction: What did you think of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg?

Kasper Holten makes his farewell with a performance of Wagner's comic opera, conducted by Antonio Pappano and starring Bryn Terfel.

By Mel Spencer (Senior Editor (Social Media))

13 March 2017 at 11.38am | 49 Comments

Press reviews:
City AM ★★★★★
Express ★★★★
Music OMH ★★★½
Evening Standard ★★★
Broadway World ★★★
Guardian ★★★
The Stage ★★★
Telegraph ★★★
Times (£) ★★★
Daily Mail ★★★
Bachtrack ★★★
Financial Times ★★★
Arts Desk ★★
WhatsOnStage ★★

What did you think of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg?
Share your thoughts via the comments below.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg runs until 31 March 2017. Tickets are still available, and more tickets at a range of prices are released each Friday at 1pm for performances in the following week as part of Friday Rush.

The production is a co-production with National Centre for Performing Arts, Beijing, and Opera Australia, and is given with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE, Dr Genevieve Davies, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Maggie Copus, Peter and Fiona Espenhahn, Malcolm Herring, The Metherell Family, Die Meistersinger Production Syndicate and the Wagner Circle.

This article has 49 comments

  1. Peter Lewis responded on 13 March 2017 at 12:31pm Reply

    The performance was exceptionally good from all the principles and chorus. Exquisite playing coaxed out by Pappano. I liked the set though the revolving nature was a bit distracting. The overal production and direction supposedly had a modern political message but it didn't occur to me until others started mentioning it later. Sorry, I just didn't get it. I'd give it 4 stars for a brave final effort from KH.

  2. Robert Garbolinski responded on 13 March 2017 at 1:02pm Reply

    The production is a mess (must have cost a fortune) and hopefully will not be seen again. Good musically.

  3. Charles Briggs responded on 13 March 2017 at 4:55pm Reply

    It was a marvellous day (8th March) and the production and music remain with me as a lasting memory.

  4. Mark Gilbert responded on 13 March 2017 at 7:14pm Reply

    I saw the production on Saturday 11th.

    Though I found the prelude a bit underwhelming (though always dangerous to compare the CD blasting out at home vs amphi) Act 1 was very enjoyable. The set was a bit claustrophobic for this Act, but was a lot better than I expected it to be.

    I'm not sure what to say about Act 2 other than the production was a complete mess. It just didn't work for me, and though well choreographed, did not make sense nor fit in with the supposed setting or storyline.

    I thought the production was ok for the main part of Act 3, and the costumes were good.

    The singing was well performed by everyone and the chorus, only picky negative was the applause by the chorus during Act 3 was a bit loud compared with the orchestra.

    Having trumpets up in the amphi was good (not sure if they were elsewhere outside of the pit), and certainly gave a few people a real surprise.

    I was pleased I'd been, but hope that we don't get to see this production again and something more respectful to the setting is done next time.

  5. Kevin Grainger responded on 13 March 2017 at 9:26pm Reply

    Musically excellent but what a dire production! With previous productions, both here and at ENO, I have found the opera a totally life enhancing experience - this was anything but. I left the theatre feeling quite depressed.

  6. Helen Anderson responded on 13 March 2017 at 9:28pm Reply

    I was thrilled to manage to get a ticket and go to Die Meistersinger- as a fairly new opera goer I had no preconceptions. I loved the orchestra, conductor, singers and the production. I sort of understood in my own way what Kasper Holton was getting at in his production and staging. What a wonderful opera and thanks to everyone at ROH who contributed to a great day.

  7. Giulia Breakwell responded on 13 March 2017 at 11:10pm Reply

    I'm so looking forward to my visit on 22nd March, then I can make up my own mind.....!!

  8. Jane Garratt responded on 14 March 2017 at 7:31am Reply

    Generally I thought this production worked well. I particularly liked the staging of the first act and the second half of the third act. I wasn't convinced by the rotating set which was really distracting. I would be engrossed in the singing and look up to find the set had moved and that was uncomfortable, I found I was watching the set not the singers. And I didn't like the riot, whatever was going on on stage (and I wasn't sure what was happening) wasn't a riot. I really missed the energy of the absolutely beautiful riot from the last production.

    However, the performances were stunning particularly Bryn as Hans Sachs and Johannes Martin Kranzle as Beckmesser, I thought he was the best interpreter of the role I've ever seen. The quintet made me cry, it was so beautiful.

    I'd go and see this production again without hesitation. 3.5 stars from me!

  9. Jon responded on 14 March 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

    I think this production demonstrates why Kaspar Holten is a very competent regie but unsuitable to be the director of an opera house. Just this season I've already seen two ROH productions (Cosi and Adriana) set backstage at a revolving theatre. The act 2 finale looked like a return to the Gotz Friedrich 'time tunnel' Ring. Walter looked like an import from the old Jonathan Miller Cosi (or was he supposed to look like Jo Nesbo?). And Act I took us back to the Wagner in evening dress cliche which so blights the recent Tristan and Tannhauser. Shouldn't a Director of Opera as opposed to a mere opera director have a purchase on what the audience in his House has already seen? There was so little originality in this production - we had the usual Holten tics (rewritten ending, centre stage populated and sides ignored, was Pan a revisiting of Krol Roger?) and everything else looked fatally like what we've seen before, time and again over the past 3 years on the ROH stage. For a prestigious new production it would be nice to have something so original it makes us gasp in amazement (the Carsen Rosenkavalier was more like it). Sorry to belabour the point, but if we're ever to escape from the 'international' style towards something closer to a realisation based (however divirgent the aesthetic) in the tinta and dramaturgy of each individual opera, it would help to have a Director of Opera who has immersed him/herself in their House's past productions and familiarised themselves with what's overly familiar to their core audiences. As a previous poster said, this production really lacked the 'tingle' factor and vapourised the Midsummer Magic. Rechauffes are all very well, but operagoers are largely cultural gourmands, and our jaded palettes need rather more than this.

    • nigel Ashton responded on 15 March 2017 at 8:39am

      Perhaps the most pompous comment yet on this site?
      Speak for yourself mate,

  10. Edmond Clement responded on 14 March 2017 at 3:52pm Reply

    Can anyone enlighten me as to the date the production was supposed to represent? References to the Reich suggest pre-WWI; but I-phones etc. would indicate otherwise. Were the mediaeval guilds masonic, or is that another historical mess? The production, which Wagner placed in the late Middle Ages, seems to have an unspecific but wholly anachronistic setting which makes complete nonsense of the text. But this is par for the course for Holten, who is apparently illiterate (nobody who can read a libretto would so consistently make such ghastly mistakes).
    Musically, Pappano did very well, but did not eclipse previous conductors at Covent Garden; and the singers struggled bravely against the appalling mess that the director and set designer made of Wagner's directions. Yet another travesty - when will Covent Garden be obliged to offer refunds for misrepresentation under Trades Descriptions, Advertising Standards, and other legislation? Above all, when will respect for the score be equalled by respect for the composer's stage directions?

  11. amac responded on 15 March 2017 at 1:10pm Reply

    Never seen so many reviews saying more or less the same thing ! Musically pretty good - production pretty poor.

    Four and half hours of people saying one thing but acting differently in contradictory settings.

    Much has been of the "last" production - so I am guessing we have been spared the co-prod "Das Liebesverbot" that was outed in Madrid last year.

  12. Stephen Phillips responded on 15 March 2017 at 3:41pm Reply

    Does the ROH plan to broadcast Die Meistersinger internationally in cinemas? I certainly hope so. I very much enjoyed the Metropolitan Opera's broadcast of this opera in 2015, starring the late Johan Botha as Walther.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 15 March 2017 at 5:31pm

      Hi Stephen,
      No plans at the moment to broadcast Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, but thanks for getting in touch. We always like to hear what the audience want to see in cinemas. More details about our upcoming Cinema Season will be released shortly, so do keep an eye on our social channels.
      Best wishes,
      Rose

  13. James Gordon responded on 16 March 2017 at 12:33am Reply

    What a missed opportunity! Here we have an opera which: 1) takes place on 23-24 June, 2) has a subtext suggesting the people sometimes know better than their leaders, 3) celebrates the transformative potential of art, and 4) has at times been perverted into propaganda for the worst excesses of populist nationalism. To be fair, the new production does not shy away from all this, and no doubt it was well advanced before 23-24 June 2016, but I have rarely seen a production that deals so ineptly with the agenda it purports to address. Probably not since Eugene Onegin.

    As always with Holten, this feels like watching an essay, and a verbose, opaque essay at that. OK, Wagner wrote plenty such stuff, so it's more in keeping than for Onegin, but I'm interested in the Wagner who created Hans Sachs rather than the one who wrote Judentum in Musik or Eine Kapitulation.

    So where to begin? The slate was full long before the end of Act 1...

    Positives first. Performance-wise, Kraenzle stole the show as Beckmesser, which was surely not the intention. Alone among the cast, he established a character and maintained it throughout, probably aided by his being almost the only native German speaker. Willis-Sorensen floated a lead to the quintet as sublime as she did in the Rosenkavalier trio in January. Most of the others, for most of the time, seemed imprisoned by the setting. The apprentices, reduced to mere flunkies, suffered badly. Even more so did Walther, no longer a knight fallen on hard times but a hobo from nowhere with a backpack.

    A lot of care has gone into this production. There is usually something to enjoy in details of the costumes, actions or lighting, even when the whole fails to cohere. I have never before seen singers consume a full meal on stage, complete with four different wines! (Beckmesser was the only teetotaller.) But, for me at least, the overall conception did not work.

    Secularising the first act by taking it out of church destroys the central metaphor of the piece, which is Reformation - of a whole society, not a closed club. Hans Sachs is a John the Baptist figure pointing the way to Wa**er, as the historical Sachs's Wach auf! poem hymned Luther pointing the way to Christ. This entails the replacement of a self-appointed priestly elite by a priesthood of all believers which is open to the Volk.

    In Act 2, the street riot is not a nightmare, it is real. I have seen it played as a nightmare scene before, never effectively, but this version is surpassingly silly and must have wasted a fortune on costumes and machinery. The first part of Act 3 was better, initially because it was possible to ignore the setting and concentrate on the principals, who seemed free-er to act, then later because the backstage setting made sense - this IS where art is created. But rising hopes were soon dashed. There was no festival meadow for the final scene, just another indoor space. Worse, there was no Volk - the onstage audience was even more exclusively ABC1s than that in the auditorium. So of course there was no future, no hope of transformation, let alone Reformation. A momentary coming together for Wach auf! (surely the most wonderful moment in all opera, even here when deracinated by the staging), but then everything unravelled. Holten's novel final twist is not so much uncomfortable as simply bleak, and completely at odds with the music.

    The Wagner who wrote Die Meistersinger (the only Wagner that matters) would try to thank Kasper Holten for his time as Intendant here, and for bringing in so many insightful directors. But I'm afraid the Wagner who wrote those turgid essays and the Kapitulation would, in 1868, have more likely made some crass remark about Schleswig-Holstein.

  14. Peter responded on 16 March 2017 at 12:48pm Reply

    Having seen the 2nd performance having seen the early reviews, I felt that it was better than some of critics had described the production.
    Yes the singing was very good, musically it was also excellent the trumpets in act 3 placed in the amphitheater were impressive.
    However while the set worked well in act 1, it seemed out of place for act 2 and scene 1 of act 3 where attention wandered in trying to work out if the revolve was revolving, and did little to place the action, it only cam back into play in scene 2 which was very effective.
    But why did the ending need to be changed?
    Please can we have some new good productions rather than what seem to be very expensive concept productions which are unlikely to be revived.

  15. Paolo responded on 16 March 2017 at 4:59pm Reply

    A wonderful and mature Terfel and a great interpretation by the orchestra. They did not need the paraphernalia of this pretentious production. ROH seems unable to stick to Wagner's intention and instructions.

  16. anthony Tibber responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:04pm Reply

    Singers & orchestra magical
    Production should be pulverised asap

  17. Ken Worthy responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:04pm Reply

    Kasper Holten doesn't really do humour. Both the audition and the riot at the end of the second act are normally hilarious, but were just a muddle. The set was strange - it seemed nothing whatever to do with the opera. The music as always was wonderful.

  18. Brian Lees responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:29pm Reply

    This production is the worst of 14 performances I have seen. It defies belief that it should be updated to modern times because the whole ethos is of the period Wagner realised. I'm not sure that Eva would be offered as a prize in the 21st Century. The setting of the gentleman's club was crass and the fussy business with waiters and waitresses distracted from the main business. Continuing the setting into act 2 was even more crass. Mr Lobb setting up business in Boodle's? Come off it! I have to say that Walther was miscast and, as a knight, not really properly dressed. I doubt whether Pogner would ever have allowed him anywhere near his daughter. The last act was a mess.
    Given Mr Holten's track record with William Tell, Il trovatore, Der Rosenkavalier I'm surprised that anyone should be sorry to see him go.
    Thank God the orchestra, chorus and soloists compensate for an expensive disastrous staging.

  19. N.J. Forman Hardy responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:30pm Reply

    This was my first experience of Die Miestersinger and I loved the music and the quality of the singing. To have Bryn singing with a great cast and Maestro Pappano conducting a very long and exacting opera was exceptional. The quintet in act 3 was sublime and hit the spot - it was charming and brought tears to the fore, The set and the riot scene was a bit difficult to follow and the fornication scene I thought was a bit over the top but I loved the opera and Pappano's treatment of the music and the Quality of Bryn, Gwyn H-J and Rachel W-S's performances. Thank you

  20. Juliet Chaplin responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:49pm Reply

    Wonderful musically, but all the above criticisms of the production are valid. Yes, let's have respect for the composer's stage directions - he knew what he was doing! To spend so much money and time on a production and still get it appallingly wrong.....I wish Kasper Holten well in the future but I'm glad he's leaving ROH! And he really should stop rewriting the ends of operas.

    But musically - soloists, orchestra and chorus all so good, and I enjoyed seeing the chorus director at work. The trumpets in the amphitheatre were thrilling, and that was a really lovely unexpected touch.

  21. Richard Berry responded on 16 March 2017 at 5:55pm Reply

    THANK YOU ROH !!
    I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the rehearsal and had not been up in the amphitheater since I was a student BUT what a day The production was thought provoking and very relevant to today.
    The singing was slow to warm up but that was probably because it was in the morning!! But when everyone got going what a wonderful day and the quintet in Act three was another Covent Garden "tingle time" Thank you
    I am very sad for those who missed the relevance and messages from this innovative production if all they want is the normal pantomime production then please go elsewhere THankyou ROH for a great production and please keep it on the stocks as I am sure it will be relavent for many years to come PS WHAT can you say for the orchestra but fantastic for your five hours hard work.

  22. Dennis Benton responded on 16 March 2017 at 6:37pm Reply

    What a muddled production of a
    llfe-affirming opera. A disaster except for the cast and orchestra. Why don't the producers pay more attention to what the composer proposed?

  23. Alan Brown responded on 16 March 2017 at 6:54pm Reply

    Musically well done, but those sets! The use of the same set for act 2 was totally inappropriate. How can a cobbler make shoes in that environment? And what happened to the 'lime' tree? In the finale of that act, the stage is so cramped that the chorus almost fall into the orchestra pit. Frankly, the previous production was not that wonderful but at least followed some of Wagner's stage directions and that's a miracle these days. The ROH is always short of money, especially needed for essential repairs, so why on earth do we need yet another 2nd rate production. Less Starbucks coffee and computers would help, too.

  24. Clive Talbot responded on 16 March 2017 at 7:13pm Reply

    At the performance on the 15th Was it just me who thought the orchestra overwhelmed chorus and soloists on too many occasion, but were otherwise musically excellent?
    The production as whole failed to elicit the qualities of comedy to be found in the work, and the sets, costumes and scenography were sombre and irrelevant to the action.
    And when will the text translators start to translate meister as craftsman, or master-craftsman, instead of the more evocative master?
    A rather disappointing production, and it takes a lot to spoil Die Meistersinger.

  25. Allan Lee responded on 16 March 2017 at 7:25pm Reply

    Pleased I delayed buying a ticket for Meistersinger until after the reviews. Thank goodness Mr. Holten is going back home to Denmark or where ever.

  26. Jill Reeves responded on 17 March 2017 at 12:33am Reply

    Brilliant production, Terfel was excellent. But why depart from the proper ending? Bad move.

  27. Bernard Silverman responded on 17 March 2017 at 9:15am Reply

    A most interesting and thought-provoking production. I didn't like the "back stage" scene---too much of a feeling of old junk everywhere. But the rest was great. Taking the whole thing "out of time" is just the way to handle the otherwise somewhat ambiguous issues around the dark side of the piece's nationalism. The person next to me didn't come back after the orgy/riot --- which is their loss---and my own feeling was that the orgy was a really impressive piece of theatre, and worked very well. (I also rather liked the way that the very first scene was done as a choral society rehearsal...).

    This production will make a lasting impression on me. Well done!

  28. Christopher Cole responded on 17 March 2017 at 11:42am Reply

    As Usual the Orchestra was fantastic and Maestro Pappano gave such a sensitive reading of this magnificent score.
    Hopefully the trend to try to modernise every thing and distort the composers instructions will end quite soon and we will get back to exactly what Wagner and other composers intended.
    Why on earth does Holten have to change the ending to send off Eva in distress then the score directs quite the opposite.
    Holten did the same to the ending of Mozart's Don Giovanni and spoilt the whole opera

  29. Kenneth Leadbeater responded on 17 March 2017 at 12:29pm Reply

    On the night, I did not understand the production, which is muddled and confusing - with eclectic costuming. What were those Venetian carnival revellers and crusader knights doing in the riot scene? How much did their costumes cost?

    All became clear when I saw the explanation on Newsnight (BBC2). The ruling elite control the city (? modern-day London) in Act One, but Sachs intervenes and promotes the will of the people.

    In the final scene, the people make a populist decision, characterised by the ugly booing of Beckmesser. This recalls the audience reception at the premiere of William Tell, which clearly made a deep psychological impact on Caspar Holten. I would venture to suggest that it was this moment, which finally convinced Caspar he was incompatible with the London audience and persuaded him to spend more time with his family.

    Eva rejects both factions - the ruling elite and the people - "a plague on both your houses" - and heads out of Nuremberg alone into the brave new world.

    This is completely at odds with Wagner, who characterised Nuremberg as paradise. Sachs sings directly in his Act 2 cobbling song of Eva leaving paradise, when she is about to elope.

    The warm-hearted community of Nuremberg would not have stripped the chain and cloak of office brutally from Beckmesser, leaving him humiliated in public in his vest. The Wahnmonolog makes it clear that paradise is restored, after the evening riot.

    However, Eva's departure does represent Caspar (as identified by the review in What's On Stage) as departing the Royal Opera House and its audience with a two-fingered farewell salute.

    As he suggested on Newsnight, Caspar may deplore the Brexit vote and have chosen to leave the tainted shores of Britain and return to eurofile Denmark. He was earning a substantial six-figure sum and had the option to do so. Other Brexit voters, who exercised their democratic right at the polling stations, do not have the resources and options to follow suit. Their lack of options and consequent frustration explains in part why they voted for Brexit.

    This is where Caspar's vision of an alternative paradise to Brexit fails.

  30. Gareth Robertson responded on 17 March 2017 at 2:35pm Reply

    Musically superb, both from the performance of Pappano and the band, and most of the singing. But I don't want to have to close my eyes through a production at the Opera House to be able to enjoy it. The sets were risible - Wagner must be turning in his grave - and they must have cost a fortune. Finale, with Eva rushing off-stage was one of the most embarrassingly wrong-headed pieces of direction I have ever seen at the opera. On the whole, I am glad that Holten is leaving. His worst decision (up to this point) was hiring Michielotti (who I hope will never return). But his Meistersinger ruined whatever reputation he had for direction.

  31. Clare Cheney responded on 17 March 2017 at 3:03pm Reply

    The singers, orchestra and conductor gave a wonderful performance but the direction and scenery was not in the same league. Too many liberties were taken, particularly with the ending which did not make any sense. The riot scene was not a riot at all and there were far too many people crammed into the space available. I could go on. Suffice it to say that next time the ROH want to perform Meistersinger, bring back the wonderful Graham Vick production.

  32. Ann O'Shaughnessy responded on 17 March 2017 at 8:11pm Reply

    So many comments, so much dissatisfaction. As we have come to expect of ROH the singers, chorus and orchestra excelled. March 15, there was loud booing at curtain call from a sedate group of people in the back rows of the stalls. I am not sure what prompted their reaction - it could have been a dozen things. For myself, I am glad I am familiar with this work because it must have been difficult to follow the action on stage plus the sur-titles in Act 1 with so many people scurrying about. The comic element of the marking was swamped. Act 2 was equally confusing - text at odds with set location and as for the 'riot' - words fail me. Act 3 was interesting and the setting for the song contest was really good along with the trumpeters and drummers among the audience. Overall an enjoyable evening. Finally, I do wish Mr Holten would not change composer's storylines. I wish him well but will not miss his productions.

  33. Jill de Sayrah responded on 18 March 2017 at 8:10am Reply

    I attended the DR and the opening night of this production and I have to say that I agree with most of the posts I have seen. The singing, (all of it - principals and chorus) was truly sublime. The orchestra were brilliant. But those sets - what was going on - who knows?
    Everything on that subject has been mentioned elsewhere - except that I liked the changed ending, It seemed to show an empowered Eva rejecting patriarchal control and instead seemingly being liberated as a result. Seeing new ideas is always good, even if they don't enrich in themselves and even strange productions like this one never spoil superb musical performances such as this for me, so no real damage was done. Best wishes to Kasper H - after all, he has tried!

  34. Stephen Diviani responded on 18 March 2017 at 9:44am Reply

    Interesting reading many of the comments here: UKIP goes to the opera. Personally, I enjoyed Mr Holten's time as Director of Opera, & had many enjoyable evenings in the house watching emotionally rewarding, well-staged and intellectually challenging productions. I loved both 'Andrea Chenier' and 'Guglielmo Tell', so I guess that puts me in a minority of ROH goers, but I do want it made new & I don't want to turn the clock back. I hope the new Director, Oliver Mears, isn't disheartened and does his own thing fearlessly. Anyway, although he has now left the UK, I wish Mr Holten and his family the very best for the future. (One thing that does irritate me is the level of disruptive coughing at the ROH, which I have never experienced elsewhere in Europe. It's time for the management not only to advise audiences about recordings & mobiles being switched off, but to ask them to keep quiet.)

  35. Peter Lewis responded on 19 March 2017 at 1:05pm Reply

    For anyone still thinking of getting a ticket, don't let the grumblers put you off. The singing and playing is superb and, whilst not everyone (including me) will appreciate the finer details of the production, it is to your loss if you don't go imo.

  36. David Glynn responded on 19 March 2017 at 11:59pm Reply

    Of the new productions at the ROH in recent years, Onegin, Don Giovanni, Idomeneo, Tell and Cosi fan Tutte have been disasters. Die Meistersinger was not quite a disaster - but about the production, there is very little positive to say. I found it unconvincing, charmless and cold - crushed by directorial conception and the overbearing set. I survived the five and a half hours by imagining in my head what I should be seeing on stage.

    Our hero seemed unattractive and unattractively dressed. I cannot imagine what Eva saw in him. Or, for that matter, he in her - unfortunately for the very attractive Rachel WS, her costume in Act 1 was simply appalling. The critics seem not to have been kind to her - but given her fine Marschallin just a few weeks ago, I think she has suffered in Die Meistersinger at the hands of the director and the costume designer.

    Her flouncing out at the end is simply ridiculous - it is in contradiction to the musical climax. Although one might say that it is feminist and therefore fashionable, it makes nonsense of her desperation for her beloved to become a Mastersinger in Act 1.

    The scene in Hans Sachs’s room/house at the beginning of Act 3 gives the director an opportunity to flesh out Sachs’s character by showing us his domestic surroundings. This was done very effectively in the recent productions at the ENO and at Glyndebourne. Here the opportunity was simply thrown away.

    A good production of Die Meistersinger presents Nuremburg as a community of real people, and draws the principal characters in considerable depth. Getting to know and understand these people and their relationships is part of the joy of watching Die Meistersinger. In this production I felt that I neither understood, nor indeed cared about, any of these people.

  37. John Rose responded on 20 March 2017 at 9:08am Reply

    Yesterday evening,during Sach's Act 3 "Wahn" monologue,I,too, was also suffering moments of sad reflection. Sad, in that after more than 50 years of opera going I cannot recall a greater feeling of disconnect between the magnificence of the musical performance,led by Pappano and Terfel and the sheer ugliness of the set in both Acts 2 and Act 3 (scene 1) . I understand, (I think) the sense of alienation and claustrophobia that Kasper Holten was aiming to achieve, but to enclose it in such a brutal way denied the production of all sense of place and pyschological luminosity and made the "open meadows" of Act 3 Scene 2 an utter irrelevance,let alone an impossibility..

    Ah well! My only hope is that this production will be quickly abandoned and not revived here; which means that there is just a chance of my seeing one more new prodction of this wonderful opera in my remaining years!

    So farewell to Kasper Holten. I've much enjoyed his youthful puppyish,enthusiasm and for taking the opera to other venues such as "Orfeo" at the Roundhouse. But three "misses" and one "hit" on the mainstage is not a good return. Perhaps Copenhagen and "The Book of "Mormon" will be more his cup of tea. And are we still going to get his "Das Liebesverbot", from Madrid,...to very mixed reviews?

    I just hope the equally youthful Oliver Mears will take his time...get his feet under the table ,,,and ensure we get productions, not necessarily traditional,but at least honest to music and text.

  38. William Falk responded on 20 March 2017 at 11:42am Reply

    I have been coming to the ROH for over 55 years now, principally to see Wagner productions. The comments above have summarised my thoughts in many ways, and I would just say that the wonderful playing and singing by all concerned was not supported by what is really a dire production. So many directors these days seem to take the view that the composer's stage directions are not relevant. In this case it appears that Kaspar Holten's main thrust of upsetting the old standards have pushed everything else that Wagner wished to say completely into the background. Because we had the ridiculous permanent set, the comedy inherent in Act 2 with its original street scene setting was completely lost and also as a previous correspondent has said the setting for the first scene of Act 3 the characterisations that develop in the original setting were completely unrealised. In the case of Die Meistersinger, I do not feel that updating works unless it remains true to the composer/librettist's original intentions. Wagner's Mantra "Kinder Schafft Neues" is just not appropriate here.

    This production should be scrapped and either the previous one brought back or another new one by a thoughtful director such as David McVicar should be commissioned in about 3 or 4 years time.

  39. Stephen Ratcliffe responded on 20 March 2017 at 3:21pm Reply

    It wasn't as bad as the reviews and wasn't Mr Holten's worst production but it was still the least enjoyable Meistersingers I have seen. Singing was on the whole good though mr Terfel did not hit his stride until Act 2 last night. Eva could have done with some acting lessons too. I will not want to see this production again

  40. Kenneth Leadbeater responded on 23 March 2017 at 2:57am Reply

    John Rose and William Falk sum it up for me as well. During the Fliedermonolog and Wahnmonolog, my thoughts were on Norman Bailey and John Tomlinson. Bryn Terfel made a strong impact in Cardiff, but his performance here was muted, overwhelmed by the ugly sets, which destroyed any suggestion of intimacy.

    There is no need for the ROH to wait four years for a new production (or maybe ten years, given the high cost of mounting Die Meistersinger). Why not borrow the Richard Jones production from WNO/ENO? It was a marvellous vehicle for Bryn Terfel and Ian Paterson. The ROH borrowed the ENO production of Werther in the past.

    Let the ROH have the courage to scrap a failed production and restore this glorious work to the ROH stage as soon as possible in a tried and tested production. Richard Jones at WNO/ENO confronted the German Reich issues directly and produced a final scene of overwhelming emotion, bringing the arts old and new into harmonious balance.

    Paul Findlay, Nicholas Payne and Elaine Padmore all developed the opera programme effectively, without straying into the directors' territory. With George Osborne in mind, please may we revert to an arrangement, where one man does one job and does it well.

  41. Brian Lofts responded on 23 March 2017 at 5:13pm Reply

    I thought I was beginning to understand what Kasper was getting at until the so called riot scene and from then on I was mystified and disillusioned with this weird production.
    As a pervious writer said they like to watch the action and not close their eyes during a performance but I found I was repeatedly doing this to enjoy the sublime orchestra and singing and NOT be distracted by the action on stage! Sad really.
    My feeling is that so many opera directors these days are deliberately outlandish so they get talked about more than their production.
    Apart from Bryn, the outstanding singers for me were Rachel Willis-Sorensen and Gwyn Hughes Jones. Finally Johannes Martin Kranzle was the best Beckmesser I have seen in 35 years.

  42. charles draper responded on 23 March 2017 at 8:38pm Reply

    I saw the 22 March performance. Musically wonderful. Production less obstructive than usual for this Director, and quite fun in places. But the variable time setting added nothing but confusion, and the actions at complete variance with what is being sung at the beginning of Act 2, and the end of Act 3, are just irritating.

  43. Brendan Quinn responded on 23 March 2017 at 10:34pm Reply

    Hard luck on the cast (wonderful) and the orchestra (as ever great), Kasper Holten's swansong of a production is quite simply dreadful. Not going to waste anymore time on it. Simply dreadful.

  44. Anthony Ashworth responded on 29 March 2017 at 4:08pm Reply

    This the 7th production I have seen of the Meistersingers and without doubt the worst! I can accept acts 1 & 3 but Act 2 is a disaster and for me bore no relation the storyline! Musically I enjoyed it but yet again Mr Pappano did something with the prelude, why can't he just leave it be!

    The best of my 7 productions Gelsenkirchen!

  45. Michel Devillers responded on 9 April 2017 at 9:05am Reply

    Could you please tell who replaced Bryn Terfel as Sachs during the final scene on 31st March ?

    • Rachel Beaumont (Content Producer (Web Copy)) responded on 10 April 2017 at 5:00pm

      Hi Michel,

      James Rutherford stood in to sing Hans Sachs for the final scene of Die Meistersinger on 31 March.

      All best,
      Rachel

  46. John Willman responded on 16 April 2017 at 12:02pm Reply

    Reading these comments should be compulsory for the ROH management. I would like them to account for this awful production and what it must have cost.

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