Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

The characters

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

Hans Sachs

Bass-baritone
  • 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

Tenor
  • 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

Soprano
  • 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

Baritone
  • 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

You might also like

Singing and songwriting take centre-stage in Wagner’s joyous…
Opera Archive
Find out more about every opera that has been performed at G…
Our flagship summer programme of world class opera.
Glyndebourne Shop
A beautiful array of gifts for her, for him, for children and for the house and garden. Every purchase supports our work.
Cendrillon (Cinderella)
Join us for Massenet's magical musical fairy tale this summer
Join the family
Enjoy priority booking for the Festival. Find out how you can join as an Associate Member