"Intellectually speaking, this is a delicious tome." - "Wagner Notes". Richard Wagner's "Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg" has been one of the most performed operas ever since its premiere in 1868. It was adopted as Germany's national opera ('Nationaloper'), not least because of its historical coincidence with the unification of Germany under Bismarck in 1871. The first section of this volume, 'Performing Meistersinger', contains three commissioned articles from internationally respected artists - a conductor (Peter Schneider), a stage director (Harry Kupfer) and a singer (Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau), all experienced in the performance of this unusually demanding 5-hour work. The second section, 'Meistersinger and History', examines both the representation of German history in the opera and the way the opera has functioned in history through political appropriation and staging practice. The third section, 'Representations', is the most eclectic, exploring in the first place the problematic question of genre from the perspective of a theatrical historian. The chronic issue of Wagner's chief opponent, Eduard Hanslick, and his musical and dramatic representation in the opera as Beckmesser, is then addressed, as are gender issues, and Wagner's own utterances concerning the opera. The contributors are: Nicholas Vazsonyi, Peter Schneider, Harry Kupfer, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Hans Rudolf Vaget, Lutz Koepnick, David B. Dennis, Klaus Van Den Berg, Thomas S. Grey, Lydia Goehr, Eva Rieger, and Peter Hoyng. Nicholas Vazsonyi is Associate Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina.
Part 1 Performing 'Meistersinger': climbing Mount Everest - on conducting 'Die Meistersinger', Peter Schneider; we must finally stop apologizing for 'Die Meistersinger' - a conversation with Harry Kupfer, Harry Kupfer; on performance, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Part 2 'Meistersinger' and history: the dangers of satisfaction - on songs, rehearsals, and repetition in 'Die Meistersinger', Lydia Goehr; stereoscopic vision - sight and community in 'Die Meistersinger', Lutz Koepnick; the most German of all German operas - 'Die Meistersinger' through the lens of the Third Reich, David B. Dennis; an interview with the composer concerning history, nation and 'Die Meistersinger', Peter Hoyng. Part 3 Representations: 'Die Meistersinger' as comedy - the performative and social signification of genre, Klaus van den Berg; masters and their critics - Wagner, Hanslick, Beckmesser and 'Die Meistersinger', Thomas S. Grey; du warst mein Feind von je - the Beckmesser controversy revisited, Hans Rudolf Vaget; I married Eva - gender construction and 'Die Meistersinger', Eva Rieger.