Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg - Richard Wagner - Royal Opera House - Covent Garden

I celebrated my birthday with Wagner's lengthy opera (6 hours) Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg; sung in German with surtitles in English. Although it was 6 hours' long I really enjoyed it.I went to the wonderful cafe they now have, after the rebuilding of The Opera House,( and had a glass of champagne with all these people around me.I enjoyed listening to their conversation - they were really gossipy!!! As regards the fashions, some are either over-dressed, classical or students in jeans.The beautiful cafe with a glass antrium is on three floors - champagne and drinks on the ground floor; balcony with tables where people have dinner on the first floor.

The second floor also has tables and chairs where you can have drinks. All the beauty of the architecture of the entire cafe can be see through the glass 'windows' of the second floor. They have kept the old Opera House interior with its red plush velvet seats and gold chandeliers. It looks breathtakingly beautiful. Many of the chairs feature a brass plaque giving the names of the patrons who are also listed in the programme.I got the impression that many of the audience go there - not because of their love of opera - purely to be seen: a sort of "look at me - I am rich".But I really enjoyed my birthday because due to the fact that it was not so full I was able to upgrade myself to a £100 seat; then I enjoyed it even more!!!

The Germanic comedy was conducted by Bernard Haitink with excellent orchestra and a glorious chorus. The Opera is set in the 16th Century and concerns a competition held on the Feast of St John the Baptist on Midsummer Day to find the best master-singer. Whoever wins gains the hand of Eva (all the master-singers are in love with her) a goldsmith's daughter. Walther (Robert Dean Smith) was dressed in white with metal armour - I didn't like this. He is the winner but refuses the medal!!! However, the shoemaker ( John Tomlinson) singing the praises of Germanic propaganda, persuades Walther to accept the medal. Eva (Soile Isokoski),who had previously turned down Walther, now accepts him. This is a wonderful opera - the music is so very beautiful. Wagner (, had the patronage of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, visited England and became an icon on a cigarette card!!! The audience gave it a resounding ovation. John Tomlison as Sachs and Thomas Allen as Beckmesser are from the original 1997 cast.(

Verinha Ottoni


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