Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg by Richard Wagner (1813-1883) is the only one of the composer's completed works to be based on his own invention. He drew on various historical and literary sources, including original writings by Hans Sachs. In addition, the Meistersinger is Wagner's only comic opera - apart from Liebesverbot (1836). He himself said that the work could be seen as a satyr play on Tannhäuser and the Singer's War at Wartburg (1845): the aristocratic minnesingers are confronted with the bourgeois Nuremberg masters as in a parody. The heroes of both operas, however - Tannhäuser and Stolzing, respectively - are here as there fighters against conventions. The successful premiere of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg was staged at the Munich Court Opera in 1868, and the work enjoyed rapid distribution. The last production at the Frankfurt Opera celebrated its premiere in 1993 under the musical direction of Michael Boder and staged by Christof Nel.
Nuremberg, mid-16th century: The goldsmith Veit Pogner has offered the hand of his daughter Eva as the first prize at a singing competition traditionally held on the Feast of St. John. This pleases the town clerk Sixtus Beckmesser, who has had his eye on the girl for some time. But the young knight Walther von Stolzing has also fallen in love with Eva, but he is not admitted to the competition, which is only open to master craftsmen. Under the watchful eye of the shoemaker Hans Sachs, his apprentice David tries to familiarize Stolzing with the rules of the competition so that he can pass the master's examination. The plan goes thoroughly wrong, and the ensuing second act ends with a proper brawl. Through the intervention of the cobbler, Beckmesser can finally be eliminated, so that Stolzing is admitted to the competition and can soon embrace Eva.