On Sunday 20th at 4pm we have that most German of Operas, Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NURNBERG – ACTIII (2h9mins) in a wonderful recording from the most English of opera houses, Glyndebourne!
Act III encompasses the essence of The Mastersingers, and Wagner's instrumental Prelude to this Act is a skeleton key to the entire opera. Within the opera, it is a psychological portrait of the protagonist, Hans Sachs. The standard-bearer for the Protestant Reformation, Sachs must surrender his personal claims on Eva in order to shepherd his flock, the stratified citizenry of Nuremberg, into a state of peaceful equilibrium. At the beginning of act III, however, Sachs has not assumed his destiny. The Prelude presents the protagonist beset by inner strife and pinioned at the crux of the Ideal and the Real.
‘’ Glyndebourne does it yet again and can be justly proud of this excellent production of Wagner's Mastersingers. Orchestration, casting, staging and costumes are all top grade. Gerald Finley is outstanding in the lead role of shoemaker Hans Sachs.
There's just the two female characters: Eva and Magdalene, well played by Anna Gabler and Michaela Selinger respectively. There are times when it's easy to have the impression that women are being drowned out by a blaring posse of self-opinionated men, epitomised in the argumentative gathering of the Mastersingers. Fortunately, this kind of thing is happily cancelled out by the endearing, caring characters of Magdalene's love interest in the shape of Sach's apprentice, David (Topi Lehtipuru) and the impoverished knight Walther von Stolzing (Marco Jentzach) These actors, and indeed the whole cast, could not have been better selected for their roles. It's like as if it's all the real thing, causing the viewer to exclaim: 'I know someone just like that!' This has to be a tribute both to Wagner's genius and to the excellent acting. Eva's problem in having to choose between the two men she loves, Hans and Walther, is tellingly staged, causing the viewer to meditate upon the many faceted meaning of 'love'. Although she realises that the choice is weighted in favour of the younger man, she also realises that her happiness could not have been possible without the caring, unselfish love of the older one. Here Wagner is showing us that there's never anything truly clear cut about how everything turns out in life.
Johannes Martin Kranzle is excellent in the role of town clerk, Sixtus Beckmesser, who hopes to win the master singer contest along with marriage to Eva. In fact, the whole performance gives the impression that all the participants have been carefully chosen for their roles. And, wonder of wonders, it's all been achieved in England at Glyndebourne and it's hard to imagine how it could have been done better. Yes, it really is as good as that!’’ Amazon.co.uk reviewer
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