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Posted by on Jul 2, 2010 in Reviews | 0 comments

WNO’s new Wagner “Gesamtkunstwerk”….

WNO’s new Wagner “Gesamtkunstwerk”….

Larger than life … Bryn Terfel in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Photograph: Elliott Franks

Larger than life … Bryn Terfel in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Photograph: Elliott Franks

Before a note of Welsh National Opera’s new Die Meistersinger has been heard, Richard Jones’s production makes its first statement. The front cloth is a giant, Sgt Pepper-style collage showing mugshots of four centuries of German artists, from Bach and Handel to Beuys and Fassbinder. The “holy German art” that Hans Sachs defends in his final, reproving monologue in Wagner’s epic is something to be celebrated, the image suggests, and here are some of the men and women responsible for those achievements.

The production is built around Bryn Terfel, taking on the role of Sachs for the first time, and providing its point of reference. He portrays the cobbler as a significantly younger man than the norm, giving much sharper piquancy to his relationship with Amanda Roocroft’s credibly girlish Eva; Terfel’s sound was less warm and velvety than we are used to, which suggests he is still coming to terms with the monumental part and that his Sachs has further psychological depths to explore and musical riches to exploit. Get more from The Guardian’s Andrew Clements: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/jun/20/die-meistersinger-von-nurnberg

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