As the opera gets under way, the older Wagner of this scenario becomes Hans Sachs; a younger Wagner morphs into Walther, Hermann Levi becomes Beckmesser
, and Cosima becomes Eva.
In the chapter in question we find the unequivocal claim that Beckmesser
"is nothing other than a caricature of Hanslick" and that "for Wagner, Hanslick was a Jew" (p.
He follows Michael Tanner's lead in insisting that Beckmesser
is a guild official in sixteenth-century Nuremburg, and simply should not be seen as a Jewish caricature.
Wagner's supercritical Beckmesser
would report a couple of rogue notes, interestingly towards the register's lower reaches (Williams is scaling the upper slopes of head-tones to compelling effect), but we allow instrumentalists the occasional finger - or lip-slip, so no matter.
Die Figur des Beckmesser
, die schon bei der Erstauffuhrung in Wien als antisemitische Anspielung verstanden wurde, konnte offenkundig an dieser Bewunderung nichts andern, was umso bemerkenswerter ist, als Schnitzler in einigen seiner Werke sehr genau den Antisemitismus der Zeitgenossen darzustellen und zu analysieren wusste.
The extraordinary beauty of The Mastersingers has been overshadowed, however--really from its first performances--by Wagner's characterization of Beckmesser
, a poetaster and scoundrel whom many have seen as an anti-Semitic caricature, and by Hans Sachs's stirring public exhortation to revere "Holy German Art," which has more recently acquired the taint of monstrous German chauvinism.
El malo de la historia es el escribano Beckmesser
, obtuso, envidioso e incapaz de transmitir algo artisticamente diferente o digno.
The villain, Sixtus Beckmesser
, represents Wagner's archenemy, the forces that insist on adherence to doctrine.
Bryn Terfel is wonderful as the warm-hearted cobbler Hans Sachs while Christopher Purves makes a thoroughly likeable 'baddy' as clerk Sixtus Beckmesser
Christopher Purves makes a delightfully obsequious Beckmesser
while Andrew Tortise shines as the apprentice David.
Andrew Tortise was totally engaging as Sachs' apprentice David, while Christopher Purves milked every bit of comic potential from the absurd rather than nasty Beckmesser
It's not a bundle of laughs but there are some humorous touches - Christopher Purves showed a great flair for fun in his clowning around as Beckmesser
, the town clerk.