Eva and Walther have fallen in love, but Walther’s father has promised her hand in marriage to the winner of the Guild of Mastersingers’ singing contest. Walther determines to enter the competition and marry Eva.
Die Meistersinger is one of Wagner’s most lyrical and uplifting works. The opera follows the impetuous Walther as he tries to negotiate the archaic rules of the Guild of Mastersingers. He gets caught up in a town riot in the process, but finally triumphs in both love and song, thanks to the help of the benevolent cobbler and Mastersinger Hans Sachs. The vibrant life of medieval Nuremberg is at the heart of Graham Vick’s colourful production.
Twenty-three years (during which time Wagner composed the first two parts of the Ring cycle and Tristan und Isolde) lay between Richard Wagner’s conception of Die Meistersinger and the opera’s triumphant premiere in Munich in 1868. Die Meistersinger is Wagner’s only mature comedy, filled with warm humanity and a celebration of art, honesty and love. The score includes the magisterial Act I Prelude, two great monologues for the noble Hans Sachs, Walther’s passionate Prize Song, and the Quintet of Act III – one of the most exquisite ensembles that Wagner ever wrote.