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December 28, 2008

Die Meistersinger

Last night Mausi and I sat through an excellent performance of Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg, one of Wagner's large works. With intervals it lasted from 3 pm until 9.15 pm and we finally left the theatre at around 21.30. It was worth it, the performers were excellent and the orchestra, Darmstadt's Stadtsteatre Orchestra was, despite not being one of the "recognised" orchestras, more than up to the job.

Die Meistersinger is, or was, intended as a"comic" opera, and that is how this one was staged. It was very successfully done by a large caste with some really good voices in the various roles and even in the chorus. There are no spoken lines in the entire opera so the strain on the voices is quite large and the two intevals must be a necessity to give them a chance to get their breath rather than for the comfort of the audience.

The Darmstadt Stadtsteatre is a modern (1960's) building, but it has obviously been designed with some care and forethought because the unprepossessing exterior and rather austere interiors give an excellenet view of the stage and the accoustics are great - there is no need for any form of amplification for the singers and every word can be heard clearly everywhere. The stage layout also gave the opportunity for the audience to be drawn into the action - particularly with some scenes actually having the singers in the audience and singing their hearts out. One memorable scene is the self-important candidate trying to win the heart of the "prize" the Guild Master's daughter and disturbing all the neighbours. The nightshirted and pyjamaed "neighbours, complete with lanterns erupt from within the audience, those in the Stalls area moving onto the stage to attack the disturber of the peace and send him packing.

All things considered a really enjoyable production despite its length. And one of the things you soon notice here in Germany, particularly here in Rhein-Hessen is the number of young people and children at these performances and how much they enjoy the music, the orchestra and the staging.

I guess there's hope for the West yet.

Posted by The Gray Monk at December 28, 2008 12:55 PM

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