Met Music Director James Levine leads Wagner’s grand comedy Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (“The Master-Singer of Nuremberg”) in its first Great Performances at the Met broadcast, Sunday, April 12 at 11 am on PBS (check local listings; in New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 pm).
Soprano Renée Fleming hosts the broadcast. See a synopsis of the opera.
German baritone Michael Volle stars as cobbler-poet Hans Sachs, with South African tenor Johan Botha as Walther, German soprano Annette Dasch as Eva, German baritone Johannes Martin Kränzle in his Met debut as Beckmesser, German bass Hans-Peter König as Pogner, American tenor Paul Appleby as David, and Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill as Magdalene. The performance was part of the final revival of Otto Schenk’s acclaimed 1993 Met production.
The lengthy opera was first performed in Munich in 1868. The story takes place in Nuremberg during the middle of the 16th century, and revolves around the actual Meistersinger (master singers) guild, an association of amateur poets and musicians. The work accurately depicts both Nuremberg and the Meistersinger guild’s traditions. Hans Sachs, too, is based on an actual historical figure (1494–1576).
It is Wagner’s only comedy among his mature operas and also has the distinction of being set in a historical time and place rather than a mythical setting, and the only one based on an original story.
The story relates how Eva, a goldsmith’s daughter, and Walther von Stolzing, a knight, fall in love, but Walther must quickly learn the art of the Meistersinger, studying under Sachs, as Eva’s father has promised her to the winner of a song contest.
In reviewing this season’s revival, The New York Times noted, “Otto Schenk’s lovingly traditional 1993 production of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg … offered an excellent cast and the magnificent Met Orchestra and Chorus. The powerful tenor Johan Botha has excelled in the demanding role of Walther … The soprano Annette Dasch’s bright, focused voice suits Eva beautifully. She was beguiling in the role.”
And The Huffington Post observed, “The world of grand opera is generally not known for its comedies, and few are quite as grand, funny or poignant as the Metropolitan Opera’s magnificent production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg…”
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was originally seen live in movie theaters on December 13, 2014, as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 17 million viewers since its inception in 2006.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Matthew Diamond directs the telecast. Jay David Saks is Music Producer, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
About WNET and the Met
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.
About the Met
Under the leadership of General Manager Peter Gelb and Music Director James Levine, the Met has a series of bold initiatives underway that are designed to broaden its audience and revitalize the company’s repertory. The Met’s 2014-15 season features five new productions shown Live in HD, including Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, conducted by James Levine and directed by Richard Eyre; Lehár’s The Merry Widow, conducted by Andrew Davis and directed by Tony Award-winner Susan Stroman; Rossini’s La Donna del Lago, conducted by Michele Mariotti and directed by Paul Curran; Tchaikovsky’s one-act opera Iolanta presented in a double bill with a new staging of Bartók’s one-act Bluebeard’s Castle, conducted by Valery Gergiev and directed by Mariusz Treliński; and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, led by Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi and directed by David McVicar.
Building on its 84-year-old radio broadcast history—heard over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network—the Met uses advanced media distribution platforms and state-of-the-art technology to reach audiences around the world. The Met: Live in HD, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series of live performance transmissions to movie theaters around the world, returns for its ninth season in 2014-15 with ten live transmissions. Met Opera on Demand, a subscription service, makes selections from the company’s extensive video and audio catalog of full-length performances available to the public online in exceptional, state-of-the-art quality. Metropolitan Opera Radio on Sirius XM broadcasts live performances from the Met stage three times a week during the opera season and the Met offers free live audio streaming of performances on its website once a week during the opera season.