06 August 2013

Herheim's Romantic Meistersinger is Met Material

Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs)
's wär' wohl gar ein biblisches Lied? Superlative performances by Markus Werba (Beckmesser) and Michael Volle (Hans Sachs). © Salzburger Festspiele / Forster

Stefan Herheim's long awaited production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Salzburg Festival premiered Friday last week. It was well received by the audiences, generally also by the critics.

You can watch the production online on 3sat.de

According to Washington Post, Peter Gelb, General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera, was in the audience on the premiere of Herheim's “Meistersinger” and afterwards made preliminary arrangements to bring it to the Met in a future season.

The production is probably Herheim's least disturbing and most conventional so far. The action takes place in a dream Hans Sachs is desperately trying to remember and write down. The scene of the first act is Hans Sachs' giant writing-desk.

Beckmesser is neither caricatured nor demonized in this production. In fact, he is seen as another side of Hans Sachs. 

Superlative performances by Michael Volle (Sachs), Markus Werba (Beckmesser),
Georg Zeppenfeld (Veit Pogner) almost overshadowed the poor playing by the Vienna Philharmonic (booed at the end), led by Daniele Gatti (also booed), mostly lagging just enough to lose all tension and speeding up rather irrationally here and there. Gatti had no feeling for the wonderful lightness in the score, and certainly not the humour and irony that a conductor of this opera must bring out.