Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a music drama 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 Bavarian State Opera, in Munich, on June 21, 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 Master Singers, an association of amateur poets and musicians who were primarily master craftsmen of various trades. The master singers had developed a craftsman like 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, 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, and is also unusual among 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 all 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.
This performance by the CMD German Opera Company of Berlin and conducted by Dominique Beaulieu.