Tag Archives: Metropolitan Opera

Opera (not Oprah) and the Derwent River

How can I make a connection? This blog is not meant to be a diary of my life rather a record of my walk along the Derwent River in Tasmania. However, when I experience something wonderful I feel enormous pressure to share.  My challenge, therefore, is to make a reasonable connection with the Derwent River.

Yesterday I watched, via their program ‘Live in HD’, one of Metropolitan Opera’s (New York) latest performances of Richard Wagner’s opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

The connection I am making is slim and relates only to the location of my viewing.  The opera was screened in MONA’s (Museum of New and Old Art) Cinemona theatre.  Long term followers of this blog will know that this internationally renowned Museum is located directly on the western shore of the Derwent River within the Greater Hobart Area (I walked there in Stage 9 and left there on Stage 10).

Another tidbit of connecting information is that a 3 Act opera named ‘Mona’ was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera just over a century ago (yes I am clutching at straws).  In her book American Opera, Elise Kuhl Kirk remarks: “By the time Mona was given its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in 1912, audiences had wearied of German ideology. Parker’s heroic libretto was ‘somewhat grey’ some said … Parker admired … Wagner.”

The Met’s latest performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was definitely not grey. It is the story of a man in love who needed to become a mastersinger, but had no experience and possibly no talent, in 16th century Nuremburg Germany. Richard Wagner wrote and composed this opera in the 1860s.

Through their ‘Live in HD’ program, the Met releases a series of operas around the world each year.

Years ago, the CMAX at Devonport on the northwest coast of Tasmania was the only cinema in this State to screen the series. In the past couple of years MONA at Berriedale has also offered the fabulous opportunity to see what amounts to current performances (the actual performance would have been staged in New York only a few weeks ago), current sets and current sophisticated back-stage technology.  The singers are world class at the top of their careers, and the sounds they make can be sublime. During the intermissions, routinely a notable opera singer interviews members of the cast, sometimes the conductor of the orchestra, the Stage Manager or others – all of which adds immeasurably to the pleasure of the experience.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is Wagner’s longest work and the performance lasts over 6 hours including the two intermissions.  The outside temperature in Hobart was very warm yesterday so being able to immerse myself inside watching the performance made me feel extremely fortunate.

Words such as thrilling, brilliant, overwhelming, powerful, breathtaking, and rousing all come to mind when I remember my experience – especially in the third Act.  This opera will be rescreened at MONA tomorrow (23rd Feb) and again on Friday 27th Feb for anyone who is interested to visit MONA by the Derwent River.  I feel sure you will have heard the main theme of this opera before: check out the start of an orchestral performance at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKG8ZxEOdwE  (Published on Apr 6, 2012 Full Opera Recording “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg”. Sung by Theo Adam, René Kollo, Geraint Evans, Peter Schreier, Helen Donath, Ruth Hesse. Recorded by Staatskapelle Dresden and the Chorus of the Staatsoper Dresden. Conducted by Herbert von Karajan (EMI, studio, 1970).)