Opera in three acts (four scenes)
R. Wagner’s libretto
Hans Sachs, shoemaker
Faith Pogner, goldsmith
Kunz Vogelsang, the Skinner
Conrad Nachtigal, tinsmith
Sixt Beckmesser, city clerk
Fritz Kotner, baker
Balthasar Zorn, Tin Works Master
Ulrich Aislinger, a spice dealer
Augustine Moser, tailor
Hermann Ortel, soap maker
Hans Schwartz, stocking
Hans Foltz, Copperman
Walter Stolzing, a young Franconian knight
David, a disciple of Sachs
Eva, the daughter of Pogner
Townspeople, townspeople of all shops, apprentices, students, people.
The action takes place in Nuremberg in the middle of the 16th century.
HISTORY OF CREATION
The first sketch of the Meistersinger text refers to 1845. The idea was prompted by the just-completed opera “Tannhauser”: it should have been a kind of comic parallel to the competition of singers in Wartburg. In the center of both works is a singing tournament in which the hand of a beautiful girl serves as the winner. But if in the “Tannhäuser” the knights-minnesingers challenged the right to love beauties, then in “Meistersinger” – artisans-townspeople, “masters of singing”. Work on the “Meistersinger” began only in December 1861 and lasted for several years; The opera was completed in October 1867. Its premiere took place on June 21, 1868 in Munich.
When composing the libretto of the “Meistersinger”, the composer used various sources. Information about the lifestyle and rules
At the same time in the literary text of the “Meistersinger” reflected and some autobiographical moments. In the mournful philosophical reflections of Sachs, somewhat unexpected in the mouth of a medieval folk poet, Wagner’s own thoughts sound. In the image of Walter Stolzing, an ardent romantic artist whose art defiantly destroys the usual routine, provoking fear and indignation of the scientists of the guardians of antiquity, it is not difficult to see the poetic embodiment of the fate of the composer himself, and in the satirical figure of the stupid and self-satisfied Beckmesser – the recognized judge in the contest of “masters of singing” his enemies, the narrow-minded and conservative critics.
Over the 20 years since the inception, the Meistersinger’s plan has undergone significant changes. The image of Sachs – this, according to Wagner, the last representative of the creative spirit of the German people – has become more complex; In his mouth a tragic monologue is written about the misfortunes and insanities that reign in the world. At the same time, popular household paintings were developed, which took a significant place in the final version (in particular, the scene of the night fights that was magnificent in its realism was written). The comic opera became a magnificent work about the life of the people, about its mighty, all-conquering art.
“Meistersinger” – the only mature opera Wagner, written on the historical and everyday plot. Colorful paintings of a medieval city, its peculiar life and customs, occupy a large place here. Relationships of actors are tied to a broad, colorful national background. Choruses amaze with the power of sound and polyphonic richness. They embody the strength of the people, its optimism and mental health. The music of the Meistersinger is close to German folklore: these are the three songs of Walter, Zachs’s song about the shoe angel, the song of David, the choirs of the workshops.
In a large symphonic introduction, two groups of musical themes are juxtaposed: solemn, majestic melodies are associated with images of folk life, light, impetuous motifs depict the world of the lyrical experiences of Walter and Eve.
The action of the first act develops slowly, slowly. An acute dramatic collision occurs only at the end of the act. Walter is most fully described here; poetic images of his first song “When Dozed Under the Snow Forest” are embodied in a flexible melody of melody, in which the echoes of popular German “spring songs” resound. The second song of Walter “Begin! In the forest silence, the spring cry of spring” is more impulsive and excited; in it appears the image of an evil winter, vainly trying to prevent free tunes. The song grows into a great dramatic scene – ensemble; it contrasts the melodic melody of Walter and the angry remarks of the masters, to which the mocking chorus of the disciples joins.
The second act consists of two sections. The first is devoted to personal experiences of heroes – it is dominated by solo episodes; the second is a large mass scene of a night fight. The image of Sachs is widely, multifaceted; in the noble melody of his monologue “Lilacs in the languor,” the echoes of Walter’s second song, recalled by Sachs, acquire a more restrained and enlightened character. In the song about the shoe angel “Like Eve, the mother of all mothers”, a simple uncomplicated melody is replaced by loud rude cries of “Jerum!” and the knock of a hammer in the orchestra. A masterly written live, dynamic finale is opened by Beckmesser’s serenade; join her mocking remarks Sachs, then David, the amazed cries of the mastersingers; the ensemble grows into a mass scene in which, in addition to the soloists, three choir pupils participate, townspeople and women. After the horn of the night watchman the choir is silent, the sonority of the orchestra is weakening, only deaf echoes of the fight are heard, and the guard’s song.
In the third act there are two pictures. In the first – the simple-hearted song of David “When, converging on the Jordan” is prominently contrasted concentrated philosophical monologue Zaksa “Life is a dream”; mournful, full of restrained pathos, he gradually clears up and sounds at the end lightly and peacefully. In the next scene, then, with a wide wave, the beautiful melodies of the third song of Walter flow, accentuated by the expressive recitations of Sachs. A rare in beauty lyrical quintet precedes a solemn orchestral intermezzo, which serves as a transition to the finale of the opera.
In the final, a monumental picture of the national celebration is reproduced. He opens the procession of the shops; an uncomplicated song of shoesmen is replaced by a noisy orchestral episode, drawing city musicians – trumpeters, drummers, flutists; followed by a comic song of tailors and a harsh, heroic melody of bakers. In the center of the contest scene – Walter’s third song “Pink morning ale the sky”; picked up by masters and people, it turns into a powerful ensemble with a chorus.