Young Walther finds himself compelled to win a singing competition, because the prize is the hand of Eva in marriage. Entrants need to be well versed in the ancient rules of the mastersingers to even be allowed to enter the competition, but Walther is inspired to sing of love in a new style. Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is a grandiose opera by Wagner setting a good-humoured story about the encounter of old and new worlds.
In this opera, Wagner depicts young love and laughter instead of the epic canvases for which he is better known. For all its light-heartedness, the story is also a serious exploration of the tensions between freedom and strict rules in art. Harry Kupfer, who previously directed the impressive Parsifal, sets the Medieval tale in war-torn Germany in the modern era.