Friday, 16 April 2010

Meistersinger - Let the Tweeting Begin

In little over two months time WNO will unveil it's eagerly anticipated new production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, or as it's known to people who own a sundial – The Bloody Long One. Coming in at little under three days per performance it's an endurance test that will see sales of Red Bull soar in the Cardiff Bay area, prompting fears from local residents of an increase in pensioner driven crime involving battery by opera programme to feed these crazy thugs addiction to the blue cans and Wagner.

Heading the cast is the current Met menace, Bryn Terfel, whose odds at developing a Red Bull addiction have shortened considerably since word seeped out that this will in fact be the Director's Cut of Meistersinger. Rumours that the set will be flambéed at the end of each performance have been strongly denied by a WNO mole, although unnamed figures from Bayerische Staatsoper were spotted at a London hotel in January meeting their counterparts from WNO with both groups practising what's known in fire fighting circles as RBD (Rapid Bucket Deployment) wearing dampened towels over their heads.

In celebration of the coming production WNO have turned to twittering the build up to the opening of the production with a dedicated MeisterMole twitter. So far it's early days with no mention of any assassination plots or RSI injuries to WNO's brass section. But I have to disagree with the following tweet – "The American journo H L Mencken said 'Die Meistersinger' took more skill to plan and write than the whole of Shakespeare." Barbara Cartland maybe, but not the Bearded Wonder of Stratford.

Another twitter worth following is TraviataJones who, unless she's a relative of Walter Mitty, is an Assistant Stage Manager with WNO. The National Enquirer loving atoms in my being are hoping for photos / video clips as she tweets about weaning Bryn Terfel off Red Bull with countless cups of Nescafè Gold Blend.

Due to my contractual commitments to the Gods of Misplaced / Lost / Uncharged Mobile Phones I'll be un-de-non-participating in tweeting my own preparations for Meistersinger. Instead I'll chronicle my journey into the land of Nürnberg right here in the coming weeks. Read my musings as I contemplate philosophical questions such as – "How do I gain a fluent knowledge of German in eight weeks?" "Will it be okay to feign an ankle injury and con my way into a pensioner's aisle seat?" "Did Wagner suffer from narcolepsy and think his works only ran for ninety minutes each?"

So join me, if you can, and preferably with a monetary donation towards my own Red Bull / Nescafè bills over the next few weeks and experience the thrills, coffee spills and anguishes as I prepare to greet Richard Jones' Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (and possibly a programme wielding Bryn Terfel juiced up on Red Bull and looking for his next fix).


  1. I will be there on the 23rd June. Any recommendations as to eating and sleeping places near the Millennium Centre?

    My first Mastersingers was conducted by Goodall so I am sure this one will be brief in comparison .

  2. You'd think, given the amount of times I've been to the Millennium Centre (and Cardiff Bay) that I'd know where to eat / sleep, but as I've never needed either I'm scratching my head a bit I'm afraid.

    There are a large number of restaurants within several hundred yards of the Centre, most looking out onto Cardiff Bay and there's even one in the Centre itself (ffresh) that may be the best choice if you're looking to have a meal in the 50-minute interval.

    As with the restaurants there are plenty of hotels within walking distance of the Centre. Most importantly there are options to cover all budgets from Travelodge at £35 per night to The St David's Hotel & Spa that starts off at £100 per night.

    The beauty of the Bay is that it is very pedestrian friendly with all that you need in a small area. The atmosphere is generally laid back and welcoming - pretty much like the piazza at Covent Garden, but without the cobblestones.

    I've included a link to the official Cardiff Bay website below that I hope you'll find of some use - it has listings of hotels, places to eat and other information you may need.

    From what I've read about Goodall's approach I'm thankful that for my first Meistersinger I'll be able to get home before midnight! As long as I don't get a repeat of last year's Mariinsky Ring marathon I'll be a happy man.

    I hope you enjoy your stay - and if there's anything else you'd like to know just ask!

  3. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to the trip immensely.

    From many years of Wagner performances it is not so much relative speed but the conductor's grasp of the long paragraphs, the pulse and the overall architecture. With long rehearsals Goodall achieved this and of the current conductors Thielemann and Barenboim. Gergiev decidedly not but it was the interminable intervals that did for me in the Maryinsky Ring not to mention the staging, or lack thereof.

  4. I've been having recurring nightmares about the Mariinsky Shatner Star Trek Ring for many months now!

    Another name I would add to the list would be Semyon Bychkov - although I've only heard radio broadcasts his Lohengrin at the ROH last year was superb, and his Tannhauser in Torino in March bodes well for December. And then there's Pappano...

  5. Ohh the T&I by Pappano!! Now that was a treat and SB for Lohengrin was wonderful, sooo looking forward to the Tannhauser :-) I really need to get my stuff organised for Cardiff... it's not like a need to fly thank God! But with the prices of trains i'd rather not be hiking to Cardiff on foot :-))) What do we do for Meistersinger? I mean for sustenance! Packed lunch?? I think it should be included in the price od the ticket, it's my fault that it lasts 6 h! :-) I pay for the ticket, why should i also have to pay for keeping myself awake.. ugh better make that alive .. during it? ;-)

  6. I hadn't given much thought to food until Vecchio John asked about restaurants - from experience of the Mariinsky last year I think a sizeable meal before with a snack of some sort during the intervals should do the trick - speed eating isn't one of my party tricks and I'm not sure if I'd be allowed to take a half eaten bowl of pasta into the house.

    Staying awake shouldn't be a problem - now if it were the second act of T&I then I might be reaching for a pillow...