Displacement, repetition and repression: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg on stage in the Weimar Republic

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Relatively little scholarly attention has been paid to the performance and reception history of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg during the Weimar Republic (1919-33), but as this article will demonstrate, the opera played an indispensable role in the repertories of Weimar opera houses. Despite an evident desire on the part of some Weimar directors and designers of Die Meistersinger to draw on staging innovations of the time, productions of the work from this period are characterised by scenic conservatism and repetition of familiar naturalistic imagery. This was not coincidental, I will argue, since Die Meistersinger served as a comforting rite for many opera-going members of the Weimar middle classes, at least some of whom felt economically or socially beleaguered in the aftermath of World War I. But no matter how secure the conservative theatrical conventions surrounding the Weimar Meistersinger appeared, the repressed turmoil of the Weimar Republic seeped into ideas about the work, haunting the performance and reception of constructed German stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-151
Number of pages35
JournalCambridge Opera Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2018

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