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Wagner's <I>Meistersinger</I>


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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.

Contributors: 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, Peter Höyng.

Nicholas Vazsonyi is Associate Professor of Germand Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina.


Intellectually speaking, this is a delicious tome . . . an indispensable book. Vazsonyi, Rochester University Press, and the individual essayists are to be roundly congratulated on an outstanding contribution to Wagnerian scholarship. WAGNER NOTES, Wagner Society of NY

This superb volume of essays . . . [is] the best ever published on 'Die Meistersinger' . . . a book that demands to be read by anyone interested in the politics of opera. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE [Barry Millington]

A wonderfully wide-reaching introduction to the extensive field of "Meistersinger" scholarship. CHOICE

Nicholas Vazsonyi has organized a collection of new writings whose eleven authors keep the reader up to date with this abundant literature. More than that, the diverse contributors he has chosen complement one another . . . what results is a book that fulfills its underlying interdisciplinary aim. For readers seriously interested in Wagner it will be both instructive and absorbing. THE OPERA

Nicholas Vazsonyi has assembled a collection of essays that deal with aspects of the opera not necessarily addressed elsewhere, affirming the continuing relevance of the work. This book offers a collection of interdisciplinary studies that should supplement some of the more traditional literature on this seminal work by Wagner. MONATSHEFTE, 2006


First Published: 31 Mar 2003
13 Digit ISBN: 9781580461313
9 black and white illustrations
Pages: 256
Size: 9 x 6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: University of Rochester Press
BIC Class: AV

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  "Climbing Mount Everest": On Conducting Die Meistersinger
  • 2  "We Must Finally Stop Apologizing for Die Meistersinger": A Conversation with Harry Kupfer
  • 3  Richard Wagner's Cobbler Poet
  • 4  The Dangers of Satisfactioin: On Songs, Rehearsals, and Repetition in Die Meistersinger
  • 5  Stereoscopic Vision: Sight and Community in Die Meistersinger
  • 6  "The Most German of All German Operas": Die Meistersinger through the Lens of the Third Reich
  • 7  An Interview with the Composer concerning History, Nation, and Die Meistersinger
  • 8  Die Meistersinger as Comedy: The Performative and Social Signification of Genre
  • 9  Masters and Their Critics: Wagner, Hanslick, Beckmesser, and Die Meistersinger
  • 10  "Du warst mein Feind von je": The Beckmesser Controversy Revisited
  • 11  "I Married Eva": Gender Construction and Die Meistersinger

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