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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) is a three-act opera by Richard Wagner composed between 1862 and 1867, and premiered the following year at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich under the direction of Hans von Bülow. The story of The Mastersingers deviates from the mythical framework of the composer's most well-known works such as Lohengrin or Parsifal. In fact, the subject matter is quite down-to-earth: it revolves around a singing competition that takes place in Nuremberg during the mid-16th century. Moreover, the Meistersinger guild mentioned in the work was a genuine historical association of amateur musicians, and Wagner's decision to place it at the heart of one of his most successful operas was linked to his desire to infuse his art with native inspiration.

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Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg distinguishes itself from most of his works with its historical setting, and the musical technique used by the German composer adapts accordingly to this different approach. In fact, in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96, certain characteristics of traditional opera—previously abandoned by Wagner—resurface, such as the massive use of the choir, ensemble scenes, and monologues. Yet, this technical restoration, in the hands of Wagner—at the pinnacle of his artistic career—does not coincide with a regression of his ideas but with a more intimate adherence to the content of his opera. The use of leitmotifs itself—which, in Tristan and Isolde from the cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen, emerged as bursts of color—is connected with some long melodies in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, WWV 96. Come and discover this magnificent opera by Wagner: on medici.tv, you can find yourself in the front row to watch some of the best interpretations of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg!