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Alienated Entertainment: Ludwig Berger’s Meistersinger Film Der Meister von Nürnberg (1927)

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JournalJournal of the Royal Musical Association
DateAccepted/In press - 25 Jan 2021
DatePublished (current) - 2021
Issue number1
Volume146
Number of pages29
Pages (from-to)1-29
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Der Meister von Nürnberg is a silent film adaptation of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg remembered chiefly for the protests it generated on its release in 1927. Several authors refer to it briefly in reception histories of Die Meistersinger, but the film has not yet attracted sustained attention either within Wagner scholarship or within literature on opera and film. Der Meister von Nürnberg is, however, an effective lens through which to examine sensitivities in opera’s relationship with film in 1920s Germany, as well as various ambiguities in Weimar-era film making and consumption. The film constitutes fascinating proof of the historically conditioned reverence for Wagner’s Die Meistersinger that existed within conservative opera criticism in 1920s Germany, while its ephemerality serves as a key to understanding several wider features of the Weimar cultural landscape. In this sense, the film exceeds curiosity status and emerges as a multivalent artefact of a complex, contradiction-ridden time.

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