[NOTE: This entry has been updated (1) as of 1:49 PM Eastern on 27 Jun. See below.]
We watched the Web streaming of Wagner's Die Meistersinger live from Glyndebourne today (God bless the Internet!) and what a thoroughly delightful if unexceptional Meistersinger it was (we missed Act I due the stupidity of both the Guardian's and Glyndebourne's Web staff, but will catch it on Monday on the replay*), including a fine Sachs (Gerald Finley) even though he looked far too young for the part and should have been helped a bit by some expert makeup judiciously applied, and a superlative Beckmesser (Johannes-Martin Kränzle). This was our first look at Glyndebourne and its stage appears too small by half (at least) to accommodate Wagner's staging requirements for this work (which requirements were adhered to with utmost fidelity whenever and wherever possible; not so much as a hint of Eurotrash perversity anywhere in evidence in this production either in the settings or the "concept" which remained Wagner's own) and as a result the staging of Act II was a compromise that looked just a bit ridiculous and simply didn't work. But the staging of Act III, also a compromise, was a marvel and a paragon of what can be done given a director and set designer of genuine creative imagination both of whom are devoted to remaining faithful to the creator's intentions as made manifest in the score (music, text, and stage directions). We would have loved to have seen and heard how this production looked and sounded in this alluringly intimate opera house; an opera house that seems more suited to the works of Mozart rather than Wagner. One of these days we'll get over there the universe permitting.
* Beginning Monday, a replay of this Webcast of Meistersinger can be seen each day for the next seven days at this Guardian site or this Glyndebourne site. The Guardian gives the starting time as "from around midday"(!). We suppose that means noon BST which translates to 7:00 AM EDT. Glyndebourne is more precise. It gives the starting time of its replay as 14:45 BST which translates to 9:45 AM EDT.
Update (1:49 PM Eastern on 27 Jun): We've just finished watching Act I of the Glyndebourne Meistersinger which act we missed yesterday on Glyndebourne's live Web streaming of the music-drama, and in its setting by designer Vicki Mortimer, and in its staging, singing, and acting, it was as well nigh spot-on an Act I as one could wish for, including a superb David as realized by singer-actor Topi Lehtipuu. Especially impressive was the acting even by the bit players who may not have had so much as a note to sing. Much of the credit for all this must go to the gifted director David McVicar who clearly understands what the work of an honest, truly conscientious opera director entails: making as vivid as possible the concept and vision of the opera's creator (which is to say, the composer) as made manifest in the score (music, text, and stage directions). Die Meistersinger is perhaps Wagner's most well-made and accomplished creation; a paradigm of what genuine opera is all about: not a showcase for songbirds but dramma per musica through and through and from top to bottom. This production of Die Meistersinger puts to ignominious shame the grotesque burlesque now sullying the stage of the Bayreuther Festspiele, the work of Wagner's no-talent great-granddaughter Katharina Wagner, making a mockery of everything Wagner intended the Festspiele to be. Someone in authority should take notice and do something to put a halt to it.