Having seen this splendid production at Glyndebourne I wanted a record of my visit. It is a different experience entirely to see Wagner played in the more intimate space of Glyndebourne rather than in a large opera house. It does not exactly transform 'Meistersinger' into a chamber opera but it does put this grandest of operas into a more human context.
The performance does not present a starry international cast but the total impression is of a production thoroughly worked-out and convincing. David McVicar has eschewed his more eccentric tendencies and produced a timeless, if slightly updated, vision of the work. Gerard Finley, a younger Sachs than we are used to, sings beatifically and makes Eva's attraction to him more believable than is usually the case. Glyndebourne's generous rehearsal schedule really shows in this performance that runs like clockwork but is not without soul. The semi-permanent set looks rock solid and works well, except for the street scene of Act II, where the permanent Gothic arches make the houses look as though they are built under a viaduct and the space is restricted for the riot episode.
I have noticed on many Blu-ray recordings that the lighting seems harsher than it does in the theatre but one gets used to this after a few minutes. I'm pleased to report that there is a complete lack of 'tonsil shots', where as so often on opera recordings, the camera produces too many extreme close-ups. Opera singers were never meant to be seen four inches from their face while singing. The surround sound, of course, is excellent and the theatre experience is wonderfully recreated.