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Upcoming performances

There are currently no scheduled performances of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Introduction

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.

Background

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.

News and features

On Wikipedia

Max Staegemann as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, before 1876

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (German: [diː ˈmaɪ̯stɐˌzɪŋɐ fɔn ˈnʏʁnbɛʁk]; "The Master-Singers of Nuremberg" ) is a music drama (or opera) in three acts, written and composed by Richard Wagner. It is among the longest operas commonly performed, usually taking around four and a half hours. It was first performed at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater, today the home of the Bavarian State Opera, in Munich, on 21 June 1868. The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow. The story is set in Nuremberg in the mid-16th century. At the time, Nuremberg was a free imperial city and one of the centers of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. The story revolves around the city's guild of Meistersinger (Master Singers), an association of amateur poets and musicians who were primarily master craftsmen of various trades. The master singers had developed a craftsmanlike approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. The work draws much of its atmosphere from its depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the master-singer guild. One of the main characters, the cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, is based on a historical figure, Hans Sachs (1494–1576), the most famous of the master singers. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg occupies a unique place in Wagner's oeuvre. It is the only comedy among his mature operas (he had come to reject his early Das Liebesverbot), and is also unusual amongst his works in being set in a historically well-defined time and place rather than in a mythical or legendary setting. It is the only mature Wagner opera based on an entirely original story, devised by Wagner himself, and in which no supernatural or magical powers or events are in evidence. It incorporates many of the operatic conventions that Wagner had railed against in his essays on the theory of opera: rhymed verse, arias, choruses, a quintet, and even a ballet.

Abstract taken from the Wikipedia article Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, available under a Creative Commons license.