Katharina Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Katharina Wagner

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Katharina Wagner/Bayreuth Festival

(Opus Arte)

Katharina Wagner, great granddaughter of the composer and now co-director of the Bayreuth festival, caused an international stir in 2007 when she made her debut there directing Meistersinger. Not only was she being given advancement purely because of her name, she also seemed intent on provocation, without any compensating insights.

Now at last, in this DVD of the 2008 revival, the wider world can see what the fuss was about. It is not an edifying spectacle. Those curious enough to last the course will witness a paint-spraying Stolzing (Klaus Florian Vogt) who ends up respectably bourgeois, an insufferably petty Beckmesser (Michael Volle) who turns into a free-thinking intellectual, and an Act 3 parade of guilds in which marionettes representing Holy German Art (Dürer, Schiller, Wagner etc) rub phalluses while strippers ritually humiliate Sachs.

The stagecraft, self-indulgent and sloppy, would barely pass muster in a student production. The casting is poor. Katharina is saved by the technical prowess of the stage crew.

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