Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

The characters

Learn more about the characters in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

Hans Sachs

  • Wise
  • Compassionate
  • Clever

Photo: Tristram Kenton

  • A middle-aged widower who secretly loves Eva
  • Based on an historical cobbler-poet who lived from 1494-1576
  • Leader of Nuremberg’s Mastersingers, a group of middle-class amateur poets and musicians who earned their living as artisans and took a craftsmanlike approach to writing music, devising a complex system of rules for composing and performing their unaccompanied songs
‘Wahn’ (‘Madness’)

Walther von Stolzing

  • Daring
  • Creative
  • Romantic

Photo: Tristram Kenton

  • A young, impoverished out-of-towner who has come to Nuremberg to sell his land holdings
  • Falls instantly in love with Eva Pogner and enters the Mastersong contest to win her hand
  • Cares nothing for the Mastersingers’ complicated rules of songwriting and relies on his own inspiration

Eva Pogner

  • Independent
  • Resourceful
  • Romantic

Photo: Tristram Kenton

  • Young daughter of wealthy goldsmith Veit Pogner, who offers her hand as prize to the winner of the Mastersong contest
  • Falls in love with young Walther at first sight but also has deep feelings for Hans Sachs
  • Takes initiative to achieve her goals

Sixtus Beckmesser

  • Pedantic
  • Jealous
  • Foolish

Photo: Tristram Kenton

  • Nuremberg’s town clerk and a technically knowledgeable Mastersinger
  • Expects to win Eva’s hand in the Mastersong contest and bristles when Walther enters the contest
  • Foolishly falls into Hans Sachs’ trap
  • Beckmesser is thought to be modelled on Eduard Hanslick, one of Wagner’s harshest critics

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