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The Deutsche Oper Berlin held its last premiere of Richard Wagner’s DIE MEISTERSINGER 30 years ago. Now this monumental opera is returning to the Wagner-Haus on Bismarckstraße as a new production by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, with musical direction by general music director Sir Donald Runnicles.

Jossi Wieler und Sergio Morabito
Jossi Wieler und Sergio Morabito © Ruth Tromboukis

It was in the 1840s when Richard Wagner began drafting the first ideas for a lighter opera, the content of which was to be a continuation of the artist drama of TANNHÄUSER UND DER SÄNGERKRIEG AUF WARTBURG from 1845: the artistic contest is the starting point for an ideological drama about the antagonism between old and new, stagnation and progress, inertia and innovation. But it took 20 years for this work, the counterpart to TANNHÄUSER, to be complete, and the score for MEISTERSINGER became one of the most multi-faceted compositions of opera literature.

Throughout its incredible length of four and a half hours, Wagner draws on polyphonic techniques in the style of the old masters, combining songs and choruses with complex motifs, thereby creating an entirely new sound. This manifests as a glowing C major in the prelude, and ends most magnificently in the final fairgrounds. What remains at the end is the reproduction of the tried and true, the "whole" and pure world, the world of art and "art connoisseurs".

The world of MEISTERSINGER is a closed system not only in the master singers' pedantic and by-the-book guild ironised by Wagner, but also in Nuremberg's urban society as a whole: the new – embodied by outsider Walther von Stolzing – cannot bring about revolutionary change, but rather is incorporated into the system. For their new production, Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito investigate the mechanisms of such a hermetic artistic society. Can art claim artistic liberty in a conservative and dogmatic environment? And what potential does it hold the upend the system?

Jossi Wieler und Sergio Morabito have been producing musical theatre together since 1994, and their work has won a number of awards: their production of ARIADNE AUF NAXOS at the Salzburger Festspiele 2001 was deemed the Performance of the Year. In 2002 and 2012 the duo was voted "Direction Team of the Year". They also won the German theatre award DER FAUST in the category "Best Opera Direction" for DOKTOR FAUST in 2006 and again for DIE GLÜCKLICHE HAND / SCHICKSAL in 2012. Their production BERENIKE, KÖNIGIN VON ARMENIEN by Nicolo Jommelli was voted "Rediscovery of the Year" in 2014. The duo's productions are created in the often surprising, subversive, and surreal-realistic spaces made by set designer Anna Viebrock, who has been Jossi Wieler's and Sergio Morabito's artistic partner since 1994. Their successful production of Bellini's LA SONNAMBULA in Stuttgart was premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2019 as a new production.

The role of Hans Sachs is played by Danish baritone Johan Reuter, one of the most profiled singers on all major stages worldwide. He has performed other roles within his vocal fach at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in the past, including Verdi's NABUCCO, Barak in Strauss' DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, and the title role in Berg's WOZZECK. He temporarily played the role of Wotan in the reproduction DIE WALKÜRE in autumn 2020. Klaus Florian Vogt is returning to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Walther von Stolzing. He has become one of the most outstanding and in-demand Wagner tenors of our time around the world since his triumphant debut in MEISTERSINGER in 2007. Swiss soprano Rachel Harnisch, whose last role at the Deutsche Oper Berlin was her acclaimed performance in Aribert Reimann’s L‘INVISIBLE, will be playing Eva for the first time. Also debuting in a new role will be the young baritone Philipp Jekal, Ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2018, as Beckmesser.

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Additional information
In German language with surtitles

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Opera in three acts
First performed on 21st June, 1868 at Munich
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 12 June 2022

Introduction (in German language): 45 minutes before beginning; Rang-Foyer
Participating artists
Sir Donald Runnicles (Musikalische Leitung)
Jossi Wieler (Inszenierung)
Anna Viebrock (Inszenierung)
Sergio Morabito (Inszenierung)
Torsten Köpf (Ko-Bühnenbildner)
Charlotte Pistorius (Ko-Kostümbildnerin)
Olaf Freese (Licht)
Jeremy Bines (Chöre)
Sebastian Hanusa (Dramaturgie)
Johan Reuter (Hans Sachs)
Albert Pesendorfer (Veit Pogner)
Gideon Poppe (Kunz Vogelgesang)
Simon Pauly (Konrad Nachtigall)
Philipp Jekal (Sixtus Beckmesser)
Thomas Lehman (Fritz Kothner)
Jörg Schörner (Balthasar Zorn)
Clemens Bieber (Ulrich Eißlinger)
Burkhard Ulrich (Augustin Moser)
Stephen Bronk (Hermann Ortel)
Tobias Kehrer (Hans Schwarz)
Byung Gil Kim (Hans Foltz)
Klaus Florian Vogt (Walther von Stolzing)
Ya-Chung Huang (David)
Heidi Stober (Eva, Pogners Tochter)
Annika Schlicht (Magdalena)
N. N. (Ein Nachtwächter)
Agata Kornaga (Lehrbuben)
Constanze Jader (Lehrbuben)
Yehui Jeong (Lehrbuben)
Freya Müller (Lehrbuben)
Natalie Jurk (Lehrbuben)
Michael Kim (Lehrbuben)
Chunho You (Lehrbuben)
Adrian Domarecki (Lehrbuben)
Pablo Helmbold (Lehrbuben)
Kyoungloul Kim (Lehrbuben)
Sotiris Charalampous (Lehrbuben)
Simon Grindberg (Lehrbuben)
Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Chöre)
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin (Orchester)
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Deutsche Oper Berlin