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Thread: "Die Meistersinger" at the Salzburg Festival

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    Default "Die Meistersinger" at the Salzburg Festival

    Hello Talk Classical –

    I would like to share with you an amazing video effect I saw at the performance of “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” by Richard Wagner at the Salzburg Festival last August.

    During the overture the lights come up on an interior scene, namely, Hans Sachs home. At the extreme stage right sits Hans Sachs in a white nightcap and nightgown composing some songs. As the overture proceeds, Hans Sachs moves around on stage, arriving at the extreme stage left just as a scrim descends from above, covering the entire view of the interior scene. Of course, we can still see this interior scene through the scrim. However, here the magic begins.

    As the audience is distracted by Hans Sachs at the extreme left the lights go down on the interior scene and a scene change occurs. However, the audience does not detect this change because a still image, the first frame of a video, is projected onto the scrim that tricks us into thinking the original interior scene is still there.

    Then as the overture ends, the video begins and the audiences sees the image on the scrim moving from a view of the original interior scene to a close-up of Hans Sachs desk, specifically, the desktop, where he was, at the beginning of the overture, composing some songs. At the conclusion of the video, we see on the scrim a gigantic image/view of Hans Sachs desktop. Suddenly, the scrim goes up and there, on the stage, is a gigantic construction of the desktop but filled with the singers and soloists as the first act begins. The chorus is singing from the mail slots of this old-fashioned desk and the books are gigantic and the ink well is huge, etc.

    A clever and spectacular beginning of an excellent production of this great opera. Word has it that this production will be coming to the Metropolitan Opera in New York City next season. Don’t miss it!

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    Senior Member Cavaradossi's Avatar
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    Sounds pretty cool. But please, please, please tell me that the singers in the mail slots are not dressed as mice or some other diminutive mammal.

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    At the moment it is still available to be seen on YouTube.

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    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    How often do the women bare their bosoms in this production?
    Doch dieses Wörtlein: und, -wär' es zerstört,
    wie anders als mit Isoldes eignem Leben wär' Tristan der Tod gegeben?

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    Senior Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Is there any point at which the lead characters are drenched in blood-like liquid while dressed like Jesus and burning (or wiping their bottoms) with US currency or Euros?

    If not, it can't be a good opera.

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    Senior Member SiegendesLicht's Avatar
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    Well, at least Hans Sachs' desk has something to do with the actual subject matter of the opera. But first, things may yet get worse as the performance progresses, and second, why, just why cannot we once in a while get a production that is made exactly the way Wagner had it in mind?
    ... yet for us will still remain the holy German art... (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg)
    ***
    God gave all men all earth to love,
    But since our hearts are small,
    Ordained for each one spot should prove
    Beloved over all.
    R. Kipling

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    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    I look forward to seeing it now. I wish more productions would lay off the so-called creative costuming and return to creative stagecraft. It's a pleasure watching good ideas unfold before you.

    The radical costuming for the Ring Cycle these days seems to be a normal viking costume.

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    Senior Member Pip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiegendesLicht View Post
    Well, at least Hans Sachs' desk has something to do with the actual subject matter of the opera. But first, things may yet get worse as the performance progresses, and second, why, just why cannot we once in a while get a production that is made exactly the way Wagner had it in mind?
    Your comment made me think back, and I would love to see a traditional Meistersinger again.
    here are two photos of my first two Meistersinger productions seen in London in 1968 & 1969.
    First -January 1968 Conducted by Goodall - # 001.jpg

    Second January 1969 Conducted by SoltiMeist69 005.jpg

    However to be successful in mounting a traditional production these days, proper singers have to be found and that is getting
    more and more difficult.

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    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Actually, the enlarged top of Sachs' desk in that Salzburg production looks remarkably like the interior of a church, which is exactly where the first scene takes place. As opera productions go these days, I think this one is essentially traditional in that there's no tinkering with the characters and their relationships. At the opera's conclusion, Eva doesn't decide to forget about Walther and marry Sachs (or Beckmesser!) instead; Beckmesser doesn't go psycho and kill Eva, Walther, and all of the other Mastersingers; or any number of other possible Regietheater scenarios.

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    Thanks for all the amusing and insightful comments! MAuer makes an excellent observation which I missed, namely, that the desktop did look remarkably like the interior of a church, which is where the first scene takes place. I can also assure Cavaradossi that the singers in the mail slots were not dressed as mice or some other diminutive mammal – spoiler alert – though there were plenty of animals in the show!

    By the way, the Vienna Philharmonic, the choristers of the Vienna State Opera, and the cast and soloists under the direction of Daniele Gatti pored forth the music with all their hearts with the result that my wife and I left the theatre elated. . .

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    From what I've heard about this Meistersinger I have misgivings about it . There are some operas which can
    take a gimmicky production which sets them in the present day etc, but Die Meistersinger is NOT one of them.
    It takes place at a very specific time and place, 16th century Nuremberg in a world of the guilds and
    apprentices and the Meistersingers and their competition .
    The Bayreuth production of several years ago staged by Trick Dicky's upstart great grand daughter
    Katharina was beyond ludicrous . You can't have Meistersingers in the first act at the committee meeting with
    cell phones etc. And that's the least of the outrages perpetrated on this great work .

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