28 July 2008
Meistersinger Live Transmission 27 July
Yesterday the Bayreuth Festival transmitted live Katharina Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. For the price of 49 Euros you could watch it at home on your computer. The price should have been approximately 20 Euros.
The picture quality was fine here in Norway, but a bit blurry when watched in full screen. This is to be expected, though.
For a live transmission, the quality of the camera work was acceptable. People expecting top quality missed a Brian Large and some intelligent editing. Usually you see a much better television craftsmanship in live transmissions of football matches.
The cameras on the floor, filming from a frog's perspective produced some really awful shots. These were painful to watch, distorted and with no or little visual information value. I got a feeling that things got a little better in Act 3 – or was it just that I got used to the poor quality?
This is not DVD quality. If Bayreuth starts releasing DVD with such poor camera work, the Festival brand will be severely punished. When Herheim's Parsifal will be filmed for DVD release, which it no doubt will, we demand the highest level.
I will return to Katharina's Meistersinger after having seen it in the Festival House in a couple of weeks. I want to add, though, that Michael Volle's Beckmesser was a tour de force, a performance that will be remembered as a Bayreuth classic.
I found Michaela Kaune's debut as Eva very good, intelligent, ironic – and wonderfully sung. But Katharina Wagner should refine the Eva character the next years, in my humble opinion. I was surprised that the public didn't give Kaune a greater ovation.
Katharina Wagner has changed Beckmesser's prize song from the premiere year. The sex doll and explicit, almost brutal sex, is replaced with a performance not very exciting, and it doesn't help to have a nude man and a woman. The ending from the premiere year can be seen in the documentary about Katharina Wagner's Bayreuth debut.
Although it is easy to find lots to criticize in Katharina Wagner's interpretation, I found it intelligent and very brave. She has created something quite new. I find it too premature to release it on DVD (it has already been filmed), because two more years of developing and refining would make it even more enjoyable to watch the next 15 years. More on the interpretation later.
The transmission starts in a YouTube size window. I would recommend that information on how to change to full screen is included under the tiny window. (Right click, choose full screen.)
What has happened to Sachs (Franz Hawlata)? Beckmesser (Michael Volle) finds it hard to believe Sach's downfall. Sach's appeal "Verachted mir die Meistern nicht" was a disturbing scene and summed up how many non-Germans have felt about this passage, especially after the second world war.