Fulham Opera stages its first production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Most ambitious project to date.
First performance by the company in central London
New production, directed by Paul Higgins
New orchestral arrangement by Jonathan Finney
Sixth Wagner opera from Fulham Opera
Fulham Opera, is to stage its most ambitious project to date in central London this August: four performances of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
Die Meistersinger, which is one of the biggest works in opera repertoire, will be performed in a new production, directed by Paul Higgins and conducted by Ben Woodward, Artistic Director of Fulham Opera. The production features a specially commissioned new orchestral arrangement by Jonathan Finney, for eighteen instruments.
Its high-calibre cast of professional singers includes a welcome return from bass baritone Keel Watson (Falstaff 2015) who is double cast with Steven Fredericks (Don Carlo 2018) in the role of Hans Sachs. Tenors Ronald Samm and Florian Thomas share the role of Walther von Stolzing, and sopranos Catharine Woodward (Falstaff 2016 and Don Carlo 2018) and Philippa Boyle (Don Carlo 2018) share the role of Eva.
Fulham Opera’s Artistic Director and conductor, Ben Woodward says, “Die Meistersinger is absolutely huge, and more challenging than our two last big productions - The Ring and Don Carlo - put together. I am thrilled to have singers on board that I have been looking forward to working with on this repertoire for some time. It might be the biggest, maddest project that a fringe opera company has ever undertaken, but we do feel ready for this to be our next step.”
Regarded as a leading light in London’s ‘fringe’ opera scene, Fulham Opera’s combination of ambitious, big repertoire and superb professional singers has brought it great critical acclaim. It has developed a strong reputation for its performances of Wagner and Die Meistersinger will be its sixth Wagner opera, including two complete Ring cycles, since the company began in 2011.
Director Paul Higgins says, “We can very easily recognise ourselves in the characters in Meistersinger, and we can see our own struggles and ambitions. There are so many strands to this opera, such elitism versus populism, old versus the young, those who belong and those who do not, and a community jealousy guarding its independence and becoming more inward-looking than they had been before. Today we are witnessing a rise in nationalism across the world, and in particular in Europe, and in the UK we have Brexit. In 2019 the issues raised in Die Meistersinger seem even more relevant today.”
This huge project brings Fulham Opera to perform in central London for the first time. With a cast and chorus of fifty-seven singers, it also marks the first time the company will have performed in a full-sized theatre.