Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_table_infobox_0

Die Meistersinger von NürnbergDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_header_cell_0_0_0
TranslationDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_header_cell_0_1_0 The Mastersingers of NurembergDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_cell_0_1_1
LibrettistDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_header_cell_0_2_0 Richard WagnerDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_cell_0_2_1
LanguageDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_header_cell_0_3_0 GermanDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_cell_0_3_1
PremiereDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_header_cell_0_4_0 21 June 1868 (1868-06-21)

National Theatre Munich in MunichDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_cell_0_4_1

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (German: [diː ˈmaɪstɐˌzɪŋɐ fɔn ˈnʏʁnbɛʁk; "The Master-Singers of Nuremberg"), WWV 96, is a music drama (or opera) in three acts, written and composed by Richard Wagner. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_0

It is among the longest operas commonly performed, usually taking around four and a half hours. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_1

It was first performed at the National Theatre Munich, today the home of the Bavarian State Opera, in Munich, on 21 June 1868. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_2

The conductor at the premiere was Hans von Bülow. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_3

The story is set in Nuremberg in the mid-16th century. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_4

At the time, Nuremberg was a free imperial city and one of the centers of the Renaissance in Northern Europe. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_5

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. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_6

The master singers had developed a craftsmanlike approach to music-making, with an intricate system of rules for composing and performing songs. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_7

The work draws much of its atmosphere from its depiction of the Nuremberg of the era and the traditions of the master-singer guild. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_8

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_sentence_9

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg occupies a unique place in Wagner's oeuvre. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_10

It is the only comedy among his mature operas (he had come to reject his early Das Liebesverbot) 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. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_11

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. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_12

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. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_13

Composition history Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_0

Wagner's autobiography Mein Leben (My Life) described the genesis of Die Meistersinger. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_14

Taking the waters at Marienbad in 1845 he began reading Georg Gottfried Gervinus' Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung (History of German Poetry). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_15

This work included chapters on mastersong and on Hans Sachs. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_16

Gervinus' book also mentions a poem by the real-life Hans Sachs on the subject of Protestant reformer Martin Luther, called Die Wittenbergisch Nachtigall (The Wittenberg Nightingale). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_17

The opening lines for this poem, addressing the Reformation, were later used by Wagner in act 3 scene 5 when the crowd acclaims Sachs: Wacht auf, es nahet gen den Tag; ich hör' singen im grünen Hag ein wonnigliche Nachtigall. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_18

(Awake, the dawn is drawing near; I hear, singing in the green grove, a blissful nightingale) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_19

In addition to this, Wagner added a scene drawn from his own life, in which a case of mistaken identity led to a near-riot: this was to be the basis for the finale of act 2. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_20

This first draft of the story was dated "Marienbad 16 July 1845". Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_21

Wagner later said, in Eine Mitteilung an meine Freunde (1851) (A Communication to my Friends) that Meistersinger was to be a comic opera to follow a tragic opera, i.e. Tannhäuser. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_22

Just as the Athenians had followed a tragedy with a comic satyr play, so Wagner would follow Tannhäuser with Meistersinger: the link being that both operas included song-contests. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_23

Influence of Schopenhauer Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_1

In 1854, Wagner first read Schopenhauer, and was struck by the philosopher's theories on aesthetics. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_24

In this philosophy, art is a means for escaping from the sufferings of the world, and music is the highest of the arts since it is the only one not involved in representation of the world (i.e. it is abstract). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_25

It is for this reason that music can communicate emotion without the need for words. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_26

In his earlier essay Oper und Drama (Opera and Drama) (1850–1) Wagner had derided staples of operatic construction: arias, choruses, duets, trios, recitatives, etc. As a result of reading Schopenhauer's ideas about the role of music, Wagner re-evaluated his prescription for opera, and included many of these elements in Die Meistersinger. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_27

Although Die Meistersinger is a comedy, it also elucidates Wagner's ideas on the place of music in society, on renunciation of Wille (Will), and on the solace that music can bring in a world full of Wahn (delusion, folly, self-deception). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_28

It is Wahn which causes the riot in act 2 – a sequence of events arising from a case of mistaken identity, which can be seen as a form of self-delusion. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_29

Commentators have observed that in his famous act 3 monologue Wahn, Wahn, überall Wahn (Madness! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_30

Madness!, Everywhere madness! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_31

), Sachs paraphrases Schopenhauer's description of the way that Wahn drives a person to behave in ways that are self-destructive: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_32

Following the completion of Tristan und Isolde, Wagner resumed work on Die Meistersinger in 1861 with a quite different philosophical outlook from that which he held when he developed his first draft. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_33

The character of Hans Sachs became one of the most Schopenhauerian of Wagner's creations. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_34

Wagner scholar Lucy Beckett has noted the remarkable similarity between Wagner's Sachs and Schopenhauer's description of the noble man: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_35

The other distinctive manifestation of Sachs's character – his calm renunciation of the prospect of becoming a suitor for Eva's love – is also deeply Schopenhauerian. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_36

Sachs here denies the Will in its supposedly most insistent form, that of sexual love. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_37

Wagner marks this moment with a direct musical and textual reference to Tristan und Isolde: Mein Kind, von Tristan und Isolde kenn' ich ein traurig Stück. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_38

Hans Sachs war klug und wollte nichts von Herrn Markes Glück. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_39

("My child, I know a sad tale of Tristan and Isolde. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_40

Hans Sachs was clever and did not want anything of King Marke's lot.") Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_41

Completion and premiere Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_2

Having completed the scenario, Wagner began writing the libretto while living in Paris in 1862, and followed this by composing the overture. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_42

The overture was publicly performed in Leipzig on 2 November 1862, conducted by the composer. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_43

Composition of act 1 was begun in spring of 1863 in the Viennese suburb of Penzing, but the opera in its entirety was not finished until October 1867, when Wagner was living at Tribschen near Lucerne. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_44

These years were some of Wagner's most difficult: the 1861 Paris production of Tannhäuser was a fiasco, Wagner gave up hope of completing Der Ring des Nibelungen, the 1864 Vienna production of Tristan und Isolde was abandoned after 77 rehearsals, and finally in 1866 Wagner's first wife, Minna, died. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_45

Cosima Wagner was later to write: "When future generations seek refreshment in this unique work, may they spare a thought for the tears from which the smiles arose." Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_46

The premiere was given at the Königliches Hof- und National-Theater, Munich, on 21 June 1868. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_47

The production was sponsored by Ludwig II of Bavaria and the conductor was Hans von Bülow. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_48

Franz Strauss, the father of the composer Richard Strauss, played the French horn at the premiere, despite his often-expressed dislike of Wagner, who was present at many of the rehearsals. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_49

Wagner's frequent interruptions and digressions made rehearsals a very long-winded affair. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_50

After one 5 hour rehearsal, Franz Strauss led a strike by the orchestra, saying that he could not play any more. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_51

Despite these problems, the premiere was a triumph, and the opera was hailed as one of Wagner's most successful works. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_52

At the end of the first performance, the audience called for Wagner, who appeared at the front of the Royal box, which he had been sharing with King Ludwig. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_53

Wagner bowed to the crowd, breaking court protocol, which dictated that only the monarch could address an audience from the box. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_54

Roles Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_3

Instrumentation Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_4

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is scored for the following instruments: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_55

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_unordered_list_0

on-stage Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_56

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_unordered_list_1

Synopsis Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_5

Nuremberg, towards the middle of the sixteenth century. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_57

Act 1 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_6

Prelude (Vorspiel), one of Wagner's most familiar pieces of music. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_58

Scene 1: Interior of Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine's Church) in Nuremberg, St John's Eve or Midsummer's Eve, June 23 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_59

After the prelude, a church service is just ending with a singing of Da zu dir der Heiland kam (When the Saviour came to thee), an impressive pastiche of a Lutheran chorale, as Walther von Stolzing, a young knight from Franconia, addresses Eva Pogner, whom he had met earlier, and asks her if she is engaged to anyone. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_60

Eva and Walther have fallen in love at first sight, but she informs him that her father, the goldsmith and mastersinger Veit Pogner, has arranged to give her hand in marriage to the winner of the guild's song contest on St. John's Day (Midsummer's Day), tomorrow. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_61

Eva's maid, Magdalena, gets David, Hans Sachs's apprentice, to tell Walther about the mastersingers' art. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_62

The hope is for Walther to qualify as a mastersinger during the guild meeting, traditionally held in the church after Mass, and thus earn a place in the song contest despite his utter ignorance of the master-guild's rules and conventions. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_63

Scene 2 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_64

As the other apprentices set up the church for the meeting, David warns Walther that it is not easy to become a mastersinger; it takes many years of learning and practice. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_65

David gives a confusing lecture on the mastersingers' rules for composing and singing. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_66

(Many of the tunes he describes were real master-tunes from the period.) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_67

Walther is confused by the complicated rules, but is determined to try for a place in the guild anyway. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_68

Scene 3 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_69

The first mastersingers file into the church, including Eva's wealthy father Veit Pogner and the town clerk Beckmesser. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_70

Beckmesser, a clever technical singer who was expecting to win the contest without opposition, is distressed to see that Walther is Pogner's guest and intends to enter the contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_71

Meanwhile, Pogner introduces Walther to the other mastersingers as they arrive. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_72

Fritz Kothner the baker, serving as chairman of this meeting, calls the roll. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_73

Pogner, addressing the assembly, announces his offer of his daughter's hand for the winner of the song contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_74

When Hans Sachs argues that Eva ought to have a say in the matter, Pogner agrees that Eva may refuse the winner of the contest, but she must still marry a mastersinger. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_75

Another suggestion by Sachs, that the townspeople, rather than the masters, should be called upon to judge the winner of the contest, is rejected by the other masters. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_76

Pogner formally introduces Walther as a candidate for admission into the masterguild. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_77

Questioned by Kothner about his background, Walther states that his teacher in poetry was Walther von der Vogelweide whose works he studied in his own private library in Franconia, and his teachers in music were the birds and nature itself. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_78

Reluctantly the masters agree to admit him, provided he can perform a master-song of his own composition. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_79

Walther chooses love as the topic for his song and therefore is to be judged by Beckmesser alone, the "Marker" of the guild for worldly matters. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_80

At the signal to begin (Fanget an! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_81

), Walther launches into a novel free-form tune (So rief der Lenz in den Wald), breaking all the mastersingers' rules, and his song is constantly interrupted by the scratch of Beckmesser's chalk on his chalkboard, maliciously noting one violation after another. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_82

When Beckmesser has completely covered the slate with symbols of Walther's errors, he interrupts the song and argues that there is no point in finishing it. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_83

Sachs tries to convince the masters to let Walther continue, but Beckmesser sarcastically tells Sachs to stop trying to set policy and instead, to finish making his (Beckmesser's) new shoes, which are overdue. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_84

Raising his voice over the masters' argument, Walther finishes his song, but the masters reject him and he rushes out of the church. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_85

Act 2 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_7

Evening. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_86

On the street corner by Pogner's and Sachs's houses. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_87

A linden tree (tilia or lime-tree or basswood) stands outside Pogner's house, a Flieder-tree (syringa or lilac-tree) before Sachs's. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_88

[Wagner will treat both musically: the Flieder for its scent, with horn below tremolo violins in Scene 3; the Linde for its shade, given its own motif and used as cover in the aborted elopement in Scene 5.] Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_89

Apprentices are closing the shutters. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_90

Scene 1 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_91

David informs Magdalena of Walther's failure. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_92

In her disappointment, Magdalena leaves without giving David the food she had brought for him. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_93

This arouses the derision of the other apprentices, and David is about to turn on them when Sachs arrives and hustles his apprentice into the workshop. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_94

Scene 2 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_95

Pogner arrives with Eva, engaging in a roundabout conversation: Eva is hesitant to ask about the outcome of Walther's application, and Pogner has private doubts about whether it was wise to offer his daughter's hand in marriage for the song contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_96

As they enter their house, Magdalena appears and tells Eva about the rumours of Walther's failure. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_97

Eva decides to ask Sachs about the matter. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_98

Scene 3 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_99

As twilight falls, Hans Sachs takes a seat in front of his house to work on new shoes for Beckmesser. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_100

He muses about Walther's song, which has made a deep impression on him (Was duftet doch der Flieder, known as the Flieder Monologue). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_101

Scene 4 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_102

Eva approaches Sachs, and they discuss tomorrow's song contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_103

Eva is unenthusiastic about Beckmesser, who appears to be the only eligible contestant. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_104

She hints that she would not mind if Sachs, a widower, were to win the contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_105

Though touched, Sachs protests that he would be too old a husband for her. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_106

Upon further prompting, Sachs describes Walther's failure at the guild meeting. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_107

This causes Eva to storm off angrily, confirming Sachs's suspicion that she has fallen in love with Walther. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_108

Eva is intercepted by Magdalena, who informs her that Beckmesser is coming to serenade her. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_109

Eva, determined to search for Walther, tells Magdalena to pose as her (Eva) at the bedroom window. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_110

Scene 5 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_111

Just as Eva is about to leave, Walther appears. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_112

He tells her that he has been rejected by the mastersingers, and the two prepare to elope. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_113

However, Sachs has overheard their plans. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_114

As they are passing by, he illuminates the street with his lantern, forcing them to hide in the shadow of Pogner's house. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_115

Walther makes up his mind to confront Sachs, but is interrupted by the arrival of Beckmesser. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_116

Scene 6 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_117

As Eva and Walther retreat further into the shadows, Beckmesser begins his serenade. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_118

Sachs interrupts him by launching into a full-bellied cobbling song, and hammering the soles of the half-made shoes. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_119

Annoyed, Beckmesser tells Sachs to stop, but the cobbler replies that he has to finish tempering the soles of the shoes, whose lateness Beckmesser had publicly complained about (in act 1). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_120

Sachs offers a compromise: he will be quiet and let Beckmesser sing, but he (Sachs) will be Beckmesser's "marker", and mark each of Beckmesser's musical/poetical errors by striking one of the soles with his hammer. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_121

Beckmesser, who has spotted someone at Eva's window (Magdalena in disguise), has no time to argue. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_122

He tries to sing his serenade, but he makes so many mistakes (his tune repeatedly places accents on the wrong syllables of the words) that from the repeated knocks Sachs finishes the shoes. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_123

David wakes up and sees Beckmesser apparently serenading Magdalena. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_124

He attacks Beckmesser in a fit of jealous rage. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_125

The entire neighborhood is awakened by the noise. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_126

The other apprentices rush into the fray, and the situation degenerates into a full-blown riot. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_127

In the confusion, Walther tries to escape with Eva, but Sachs pushes Eva into her home and drags Walther into his own workshop. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_128

Quiet is restored as abruptly as it was broken. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_129

A lone figure walks through the street – the nightwatchman, calling out the hour. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_130

Act 3, Scenes 1–4 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_8

Prelude (Vorspiel), a meditative orchestral introduction using music from two key episodes to be heard in act 3: Sachs's scene 1 monologue "Wahn! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_131

Wahn!" Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_132

and the "Wittenburg Nightingale" quasi-chorale sung by the townspeople to greet Sachs in scene 5. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_133

Scene 1: Sachs's workshop Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_134

As morning dawns, Sachs is reading a large book. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_135

Lost in thought, he does not respond as David returns from delivering Beckmesser's shoes. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_136

David finally manages to attract his master's attention, and they discuss the upcoming festivities – it is St. John's day, Hans Sachs's name day. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_137

David recites his verses for Sachs, and leaves to prepare for the festival. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_138

Alone, Sachs ponders last night's riot. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_139

"Madness! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_140

Madness! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_141

Everywhere madness!" Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_142

(Wahn! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_143

Wahn! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_144

Überall Wahn!) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_145

His attempt to prevent an elopement had ended in shocking violence. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_146

Nevertheless, he is resolved to make madness work for him today. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_147

Scene 2 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_148

Sachs gives Walther an interactive lesson on the history and philosophy of music and mastersinging, and teaches him to moderate his singing according to the spirit (if not the strict letter) of the masters' rules. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_149

Walther demonstrates his understanding by composing two sections of a new Prize Song in a more acceptable style than his previous effort from act 1. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_150

Sachs writes down the new verses as Walther sings them. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_151

A final section remains to be composed, but Walther postpones the task. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_152

The two men leave the room to dress for the festival. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_153

Scene 3 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_154

Beckmesser, still sore from his drubbing the night before, enters the workshop. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_155

He spots the verses of the Prize Song, written in Sachs's handwriting, and infers (erroneously) that Sachs is secretly planning to enter the contest for Eva's hand. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_156

The cobbler re-enters the room and Beckmesser confronts him with the verses and asks if he wrote them. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_157

Sachs confirms that the handwriting is his, but does not clarify that he was not the author but merely served as scribe. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_158

However, he goes on to say that he has no intention of wooing Eva or entering the contest, and he presents the manuscript to Beckmesser as a gift. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_159

He promises never to claim the song for his own, and warns Beckmesser that it is a very difficult song to interpret and sing. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_160

Beckmesser, his confidence restored by the prospect of using verses written by the famous Hans Sachs, ignores the warning and rushes off to prepare for the song contest. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_161

Sachs smiles at Beckmesser's foolishness but expresses hope that Beckmesser will learn to be better in the future. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_162

Scene 4 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_163

Eva arrives at the workshop. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_164

She is looking for Walther, but pretends to have complaints about a shoe that Sachs made for her. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_165

Sachs realizes that the shoe is a perfect fit, but pretends to set about altering the stitching. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_166

As he works, he tells Eva that he has just heard a beautiful song, lacking only an ending. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_167

Eva cries out as Walther enters the room, splendidly attired for the festival, and sings the third and final section of the Prize Song. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_168

The couple are overwhelmed with gratitude for Sachs, and Eva asks Sachs to forgive her for having manipulated his feelings. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_169

The cobbler brushes them off with bantering complaints about his lot as a shoemaker, poet, and widower. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_170

At last, however, he admits to Eva that, despite his feelings for her, he is resolved to avoid the fate of King Marke (a reference to the subject of another Wagner opera, Tristan und Isolde, in which an old man tries to marry a much-younger woman), thus conferring his blessing upon the lovers. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_171

David and Magdalena appear. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_172

Sachs announces to the group that a new master-song has been born, which, following the rules of the mastersingers, is to be baptized. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_173

As an apprentice cannot serve as a witness for the baptism, he promotes David to the rank of journeyman with the traditional cuff on the ear (and by this also "promoting" him as a groom and Magdalena as a bride). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_174

He then christens the Prize Song the Morning Dream Song (Selige Morgentraumdeut-Weise). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_175

After celebrating their good fortune with an extended quintet (Selig, wie die Sonne meines Glückes lacht) – musically capping the first four scenes of act 3 – the group departs for the festival. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_176

Act 3, Scene 5 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_9

Almost an act in itself, this scene occupies about 45 minutes of the two hours of Act 3 and is separated from the preceding four scenes by Verwandlungsmusik, a transforming interlude. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_177

Meadow by the Pegnitz River. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_178

It is the Feast of St. John. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_179

Various guilds enter boasting of their contributions to Nürnberg's success; Wagner depicts three of them: the Cobblers, whose chorus Sankt Krispin, lobet ihn! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_180

uses the signature cry streck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_181

streck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_182

streck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_183

the Tailors, who sing the chorus Als Nürnberg belagert war with the goat cry meck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_184

meck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_185

meck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_186

and the Bakers, who cut the tailors off with Hungersnot! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_187

Hungersnot!, or Famine, famine!, and its beck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_188

beck! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_189

beck!, or bake, bake, bake! Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_190

This leads into the Tanz der Lehrbuben, or Dance of the Apprentices. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_191

The mastersingers themselves then grandly arrive: the Procession of the Masters. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_192

The crowd sings the praises of Hans Sachs, the most beloved and famous of the mastersingers; here Wagner provides a rousing chorus, Wach’ auf, es nahet gen den Tag, using words written by the historical Sachs himself, and musically relates it to the “Wittenberg Nightingale.” Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_193

The prize contest begins. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_194

Beckmesser attempts to sing the verses that he had obtained from Sachs. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_195

However, he garbles the words (Morgen ich leuchte) and fails to fit them to an appropriate melody, and ends up singing so clumsily that the crowd laughs him off. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_196

Before storming off in anger, he yells that the song was not even his: Hans Sachs tricked him into singing it. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_197

The crowd is confused. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_198

How could the great Hans Sachs have written such a bad song? Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_199

Sachs tells them that the song is not his own, and also that it is in fact a beautiful song which the masters will love when they hear it sung correctly. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_200

To prove this, he calls a witness: Walther. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_201

The people are so curious about the song (correctly worded as Morgenlich leuchtend im rosigen Schein) that they allow Walther to sing it, and everyone is won over in spite of its novelty. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_202

They declare Walther the winner, and the mastersingers want to make him a member of their guild on the spot. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_203

At first Walther is tempted to reject their offer, but Sachs intervenes once more and explains that art, even ground-breaking, contrary art like Walther's, can only exist within a cultural tradition, which tradition the art sustains and improves. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_204

Walther is convinced; he agrees to join. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_205

Pogner places the symbolic master-hood medal around his neck, Eva takes his hand, and the people sing once more the praises of Hans Sachs, the beloved mastersinger of Nuremberg. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_206

Interpretation of the character and role of Beckmesser Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_10

Much critical attention has been focused on the alleged antisemitism of Wagner's characterisation of Beckmesser since the idea was put forward by the Marxist critic Theodor Adorno. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_207

Wagner scholar Barry Millington advanced the idea that Beckmesser represents a Jewish stereotype, whose humiliation by the Aryan Walther is an onstage representation of Wagner's antisemitism. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_208

Millington argued in his 1991 "Nuremberg Trial: Is There Anti-Semitism in Die Meistersinger?" Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_209

that common antisemitic stereotypes prevalent in 19th-century Germany were a part of the "ideological fabric" of Die Meistersinger and that Beckmesser embodied these unmistakable antisemitic characteristics. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_210

Millington's article spurred significant debate among Wagner scholars including Charles Rosen, Hans Rudolph Vaget, Paul Lawrence Rose, and Karl A. Zaenker. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_211

In a 2009 interview Katharina Wagner, the composer's great-granddaughter and co-director of the Bayreuth Festival, was asked whether she believed Wagner relied on Jewish stereotypes in his operas. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_212

Her response was, "With Beckmesser he probably did." Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_213

Nike Wagner, another of the composer's great-daughters, contends that Beckmesser is principally the victim of sadism, "which is inseparable from the syndrome that also produces violent fascism". Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_214

Scholars Dieter Borchmeyer, Udo Bermbach and Hermann Danuser support the thesis that with the character of Beckmesser, Wagner did not intend to allude to Jewish stereotypes, but rather to criticize (academic) pedantism in general. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_215

They point out similarities to the figure of Malvolio in Shakespeare's comedy Twelfth Night. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_216

Although the score calls for Beckmesser to rush off in a huff after his self-defeating attempt to sing Walther's song, in some productions he remains and listens to Walther's correct rendition of his song, and shakes hands with Sachs after the final monologue. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_217

A related view holds that Beckmesser was designed to parody the renowned critic Eduard Hanslick, who valorized the music of Brahms and held Wagner's music in low regard. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_218

We know that the original name of the Beckmesser character was "Veit Hanslich," and we know that Wagner invited Hanslick to his initial reading of the libretto, though whether then the character still had the "Hanslich" name when Hanslick heard it is unclear. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_219

This second interpretation of Beckmesser may dovetail with the antisemitism interpretation above, as Wagner attacked Hanslick as 'of gracefully concealed Jewish origin' in his revised edition of his essay Jewishness in Music. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_220

Reception Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_11

Die Meistersinger was enthusiastically received at its premiere in 1868, and was judged to be Wagner's most immediately appealing work. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_221

Eduard Hanslick wrote in Die Neue Freie Presse after the premiere: "Dazzling scenes of colour and splendour, ensembles full of life and character unfold before the spectator's eyes, hardly allowing him the leisure to weigh how much and how little of these effects is of musical origin." Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_222

Within a year of the premiere the opera was performed across Germany at Dresden, Dessau, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Weimar, Hanover and Vienna with Berlin following in 1870. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_223

It was one of the most popular and prominent German operas during the Unification of Germany in 1871, and in spite of the opera's overall warning against cultural self-centeredness, Die Meistersinger became a potent symbol of patriotic German art. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_224

Hans Sachs's final warning at the end of act 3 on the need to preserve German art from foreign threats was a rallying point for German nationalism, particularly during the Franco-Prussian War. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_225

Die Meistersinger was soon performed outside Germany as well, spreading throughout Europe and around the world: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_226

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_unordered_list_2

  • Bohemia: 26 April 1871, PragueDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_6
  • Livonia: 4 January 1872, RigaDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_7
  • Denmark: 23 March 1872, Copenhagen (in Danish)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_8
  • Netherlands: 12 March 1879, RotterdamDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_9
  • United Kingdom: 30 May 1882, London, Drury Lane Theatre under Hans Richter.Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_10
  • Hungary: 8 September 1883, Budapest (in Hungarian)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_11
  • Switzerland: 20 February 1885, BaselDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_12
  • Belgium: 7 March 1885, Brussels (in French)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_13
  • United States: 4 January 1886, New York, Metropolitan Opera House under Anton Seidl.Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_14
  • Sweden: 2 April 1887, Stockholm (in Swedish)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_15
  • Italy: 26 December 1889, Milan (in Italian)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_16
  • Spain: 6 March 1894, Madrid, under Juan Goula [] (in Italian)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_17
  • Poland: 3 March 1896, PoznanDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_18
  • France: 30 December 1896, Lyon (in French), Opéra National de LyonDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_19
  • Russia: 15 March 1898, St. Petersburg (in German)Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_20
  • Argentina: 6 August 1898, Buenos Aires, Teatro de la OperaDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_21
  • Portugal: January 1902, LisbonDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_22
  • Brazil: 3 August 1905, Rio de JaneiroDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_23
  • South Africa: 1913, JohannesburgDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_24
  • Finland: 17 November 1921, HelsinkiDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_25
  • Monaco: February 1928, Monte CarloDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_26
  • Yugoslavia: 15 June 1929, ZagrebDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_27
  • Australia: March 1933, MelbourneDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_28
  • Romania: December 1934, BucharestDie Meistersinger von Nürnberg_item_2_29

At the reopening of the Bayreuth Festival in 1924 following its closure during World War I Die Meistersinger was performed. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_227

The audience rose to its feet during Hans Sachs's final oration, and sang "Deutschland über Alles" after the opera had finished. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_228

Die Meistersinger was frequently used as part of Nazi propaganda. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_229

On 21 March 1933, the founding of the Third Reich was celebrated with a performance of the opera in the presence of Adolf Hitler. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_230

The prelude to act 3 is played over shots of old Nuremberg at the beginning of Triumph of the Will, the 1935 film by Leni Riefenstahl depicting the Nazi party congress of 1934. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_231

During World War II, Die Meistersinger was the only opera presented at the Bayreuth festivals of 1943–1944. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_232

The association of Die Meistersinger with Nazism led to one of the most controversial stage productions of the work. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_233

The first Bayreuth production of Die Meistersinger following World War II occurred in 1956, when Wieland Wagner, the composer's grandson, attempted to distance the work from German nationalism by presenting it in almost abstract terms, by removing any reference to Nuremberg from the scenery. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_234

The production was dubbed Die Meistersinger ohne Nürnberg (The Mastersingers without Nuremberg). Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_235

Recordings Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_section_12

Main article: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg discography Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg_sentence_236


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.