Richard Wagner - 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' (highlights)
This list discusses the opera 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' by German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) and showcases one of the many historical recordings in the OML catalog.
First conceived by Wagner some 20 years prior, the opera was premiered in Munich in 1868. The work is rather a unique one in the composer’s oeuvre: excluding his early (and disastrous) opera 'Das Liebesverbot', it is his only comic opera; it is his first opera to exceed four hours; it is the only opera not to contain any fantastical or mythical elements, but instead real people set in a real time and place.
The opera’s name comes from a group of people called the Meistersingers (Master Singers), who were a group of German lyric- and song-composing "craftsmen" in the 14th-16th centuries. Formed into a guild like other types of artisans, they had rules, meetings, and even competitions where prizes could be won for excellence or fines imposed on the second-rate. It is at one of these competitions where most of 'Die Meistersinger' is set.
Considered an immediate hit at the premiere, it is problematic to a modern audience due to its nationalistic and anti-immigrant sentiment.