Author Topic: "Meistersinger" on DvD  (Read 6876 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline marvinbrown

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3072
  • Richard Wagner- The God of Opera!
Re: "Meistersinger" on DvD
« Reply #40 on: March 31, 2008, 01:29:58 AM »
Not that I really want to pursue this, but what else could it possibly mean? The man has been shown up as an incompetent, self-deluding fool in front of all his peers and the entire city. Do you think he's going to hang around waiting for his rival to finish singing the Prize Song, and then come back to make small talk and share a stein of beer with his fellow Meisters?

  OK but is it any crueler than Rigoletto's maltreatment by the crowd who proceed to kidnap his daughter, "ship" her off to the Duke knowing full well she was going to get taken advantage of,  proceed to mock him endlessly and wickedly when he comes searching for her. I know you mentioned this before that every opera needs to be taken on its own merits and comparisons can not be made but I can not help but find Rigoletto's maltreatment by the crowd far more disturbing than this whole Beckmesser maltreatment- and the fact that it is a comedy makes no difference to me .  I have never been bothered by Die Meistersinger one bit and I feel that the criticism towards the "allegedly" racist and antisemitic aspects of that opera are unfounded- just another attempt to vilify and demonize Wagner's artwork without substantial evidence. Yes I am aware of Wagner's notorious "Judaism in Music" article which has cast a large shadow over his reputation- but I submit to you NOT Die Meistersinger!   

 I stick by my original argument that Beckmesser is a caricature of Hanslick and other critics who have proceeded to attack Wagner's artwork.  I stand by Wagner's right to strike back at those critics who drew first blood! As a Wagnerian I am glad that Wagner got the last laugh here  ;D!

  marvin

Offline (poco) Sforzando

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 5550
  • Location: Long Island, NY
Re: "Meistersinger" on DvD
« Reply #41 on: March 31, 2008, 03:49:29 AM »
  OK but is it any crueler than Rigoletto's maltreatment by the crowd who proceed to kidnap his daughter, "ship" her off to the Duke knowing full well she was going to get taken advantage of,  proceed to mock him endlessly and wickedly when he comes searching for her. I know you mentioned this before that every opera needs to be taken on its own merits and comparisons can not be made but I can not help but find Rigoletto's maltreatment by the crowd far more disturbing than this whole Beckmesser maltreatment- and the fact that it is a comedy makes no difference to me .  I have never been bothered by Die Meistersinger one bit and I feel that the criticism towards the "allegedly" racist and antisemitic aspects of that opera are unfounded- just another attempt to vilify and demonize Wagner's artwork without substantial evidence. Yes I am aware of Wagner's notorious "Judaism in Music" article which has cast a large shadow over his reputation- but I submit to you NOT Die Meistersinger!   

 I stick by my original argument that Beckmesser is a caricature of Hanslick and other critics who have proceeded to attack Wagner's artwork.  I stand by Wagner's right to strike back at those critics who drew first blood! As a Wagnerian I am glad that Wagner got the last laugh here  ;D!

  marvin

The point, though, Marvin, is that no one has yet seen fit to alter the plot of Rigoletto. (Not that it could be done. On the other hand, certain racist-sounding lines in The Magic Flute and The Mikado are routinely altered in modern performance, but these are very small and incidental features.) That you are not disturbed by the ending of Die Meistersinger only tells me you're not sensing overtones that are quite apparent to Jezetha, myself, and Wolfgang Wagner (among others who have commented on this opera). And notice I did not say Beckmesser was in any way Jewish; he doesn't have to be for my purposes, and some of the extreme arguments in that direction are specious, being based on assumptions the audience could capture some very subtle and questionable nuances of language.

The point about comedy is important because comedy is trying to set a certain tone. It has been said that where tragedy typically ends in isolation and death, comedy typically ends in integration and marriage. But as Jezetha also senses, there is a kind of cruelty in Wagner's humor that undermines the comic integration that otherwise would prevail in Meistersinger. Whether this stems ultimately from Wagner's blind hatred towards his critics, or towards Jews, or towards the guy who delivered the mail, is unimportant. And since Meistersinger is quite possibly the Wagner opera I love most, my problem with it - and I have felt exactly the same way in each of the half dozen or so times I have experienced the opera complete in live performance - is more a matter of regret than any attempt to vilify or demonize.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline marvinbrown

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3072
  • Richard Wagner- The God of Opera!
Re: "Meistersinger" on DvD
« Reply #42 on: March 31, 2008, 03:53:06 AM »
The point, though, Marvin, is that no one has yet seen fit to alter the plot of Rigoletto. (Not that it could be done. On the other hand, certain racist-sounding lines in The Magic Flute and The Mikado are routinely altered in modern performance, but these are very small and incidental features.) That you are not disturbed by the ending of Die Meistersinger only tells me you're not sensing overtones that are quite apparent to Jezetha, myself, and Wolfgang Wagner (among others who have commented on this opera). And notice I did not say Beckmesser was in any way Jewish; he doesn't have to be for my purposes, and some of the extreme arguments in that direction are specious, being based on assumptions the audience could capture some very subtle and questionable nuances of language.

The point about comedy is important because comedy is trying to set a certain tone. It has been said that where tragedy typically ends in isolation and death, comedy typically ends in integration and marriage. But as Jezetha also senses, there is a kind of cruelty in Wagner's humor that undermines the comic integration that otherwise would prevail in Meistersinger. Whether this stems ultimately from Wagner's blind hatred towards his critics, or towards Jews, or towards the guy who delivered the mail, is unimportant. And since Meistersinger is quite possibly the Wagner opera I love most, my problem with it - and I have felt exactly the same way in each of the half dozen or so times I have experienced the opera complete in live performance - is more a matter of regret than any attempt to vilify or demonize.

  Very well I can respect your point of view  :).

  marvin