Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

Information on the piece

(The Master Singers of Nuremberg)
Opera in three acts
First performed on 21st June, 1868 at Munich
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 12 June 2022

5 hrs 45 mins / 2 intervals

In German language with German and English surtitles

Introduction (in German language): 45 minutes before beginning; Rang-Foyer

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Kindly supported by the Förderkreis der Deutschen Oper Berlin e. V. Presented by rbb Kultur and taz. The performances on 29 June and 2 July 2022 will be recorded. A DVD / Blu ray of this production will be produced as a collaboration between Deutsche Oper Berlin and Naxos. In addition, rbb Kultur will broadcast the performance on 2 July live from the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

About the performance

The Deutsche Oper Berlin held its last premiere of Richard Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER 30 years ago. Now this monumental opera is returning to the Wagner-Haus on Bismarckstraße as a new production by Jossi Wieler, Anna Viebrock and Sergio Morabito. At short notice, Markus Stenz takes over the musical direction from the ill Sir Donald Runnicles.

It was in the 1840s when Richard Wagner began drafting the first ideas for a lighter opera, the content of which was to be a continuation of the artist drama of TANNHÄUSER UND DER SÄNGERKRIEG AUF WARTBURG from 1845: the artistic contest is the starting point for an ideological drama about the antagonism between old and new, stagnation and progress, inertia and innovation. But it took 20 years for this work, the counterpart to TANNHÄUSER, to be complete, and the score for MEISTERSINGER became one of the most multi-faceted compositions of opera literature. Throughout its incredible length of four and a half hours, Wagner draws on polyphonic techniques in the style of the old masters, combining songs and choruses with complex motifs, thereby creating an entirely new sound. This manifests as a glowing C major in the prelude, and ends most magnificently in the final fairgrounds. What remains at the end is the reproduction of the tried and true, the "whole" and pure world, the world of art and "art connoisseurs". The world of MEISTERSINGER is a closed system not only in the master singers' pedantic and by-the-book guild ironised by Wagner, but also in Nuremberg's urban society as a whole: the new – embodied by outsider Walther von Stolzing – cannot bring about revolutionary change, but rather is incorporated into the system. For their new production, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito investigate the mechanisms of such a hermetic artistic society. Can art claim artistic liberty in a conservative and dogmatic environment? And what potential does it hold to overthrow the system?

Jossi Wieler und Sergio Morabito have been producing musical theatre together since 1994, and their work has won a number of awards: their production of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at the Salzburger Festspiele 2001 was deemed the Performance of the Year. In 2002 and 2012 the duo was voted "Direction Team of the Year". They also won the German theatre award DER FAUST in the category "Best Opera Direction" for DOKTOR FAUST in 2006 and again for DIE GLÜCKLICHE HAND / SCHICKSAL in 2012. Their production BERENIKE, KÖNIGIN VON ARMENIEN by Nicolo Jommelli was voted "Rediscovery of the Year" in 2014. The duo's productions are created in the often surprising, subversive, and surreal-realistic spaces made by set designer Anna Viebrock, who has been Jossi Wieler's and Sergio Morabito's artistic partner since 1994. Their successful production of Bellini's LA SONNAMBULA in Stuttgart was premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2019 as a new production.

The role of Hans Sachs is played by Danish baritone Johan Reuter, one of the most profiled singers on all major stages worldwide. He has performed other roles within his vocal fach at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in the past, including Verdi's NABUCCO, Barak in Strauss' DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, and the title role in Berg's WOZZECK. He temporarily played the role of Wotan in the reproduction DIE WALKÜRE in autumn 2020. Klaus Florian Vogt is returning to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Walther von Stolzing. He has become one of the most outstanding and in-demand Wagner tenors of our time around the world since his triumphant debut in MEISTERSINGER in 2007. American soprano Heidi Stober began her international career here at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, where she has appeared as Susanna, Pamina or Elvira, as Adina, Nannetta, Oscar, Gretel and Micaëla and most recently in Turnage's GREEK, is making her role debut as Eva. Also debuting in a new role will be the young baritone Philipp Jekal, Ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2018, as Beckmesser.

As General Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles unfortunately has to follow medical advice and take strict rest due to an acute shoulder illness, he cannot take over the musical direction of the MEISTERSINGER as planned at short notice. We are delighted that with Markus Stenz, an esteemed conductor who is well acquainted with the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin can step in. The long-time General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Kapellmeister of the Gürzenich Orchestra (2004 to 2014) was also Chief Conductor of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (the Netherlands Radio Orchestra) from 2012 to 2019. He has made guest appearances at the most important international opera houses such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the English National Opera, the Lyric Opera Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the LA Opera, the Bavarian State Opera and the Hamburg State Opera. He has also appeared at the Glyndebourne Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. Most recently, he conducted revivals of Benjamin Britten's DEATH IN VENICE at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in the 2021/22 season.

Our articles on the subject

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Synopsis


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