Today, June 24th, is Johannistag, or St. John’s Day in English. It is a celebration of the birthday of John the Baptist, and also a celebration of Midsummer’s Day. Typical celebrations include pyres, flowers, dancing, and beautiful outfits. This celebratory day is featured in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The celebration takes place in the second scene of Act III, where flowers, dancing, and beautiful outfits can be seen, maybe not pyres because nobody would want the fire alarms to go off. This is also where the Prize Song Contest is hosted, where Beckmesser makes a fool of himself and Walther wins Eva as his bride. It is a very fun, entertaining, and beautiful scene to watch, especially after sitting through five other hours of it!
Here are some photos of various productions of the Johannistag scene (Act III Scene 2):
Glyndebourne’s Die Meistersinger staged at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2013
Bayreuth’s Die Meistersinger directed by Katharina Wagner
Covent Garden’s Die Meistersinger in 2011
A colorful interpretation of Die Meistersinger from Komische Oper Berlin
The Metropolitan Opera’s Die Meistersinger in March 2007. (I am in the middle, to the left of James Morris, long blonde hair and a brown apron) © Beth Bergman 2007
What do all of these photos have in common? They are filled with color, life, happiness, and celebration over Johannistag! Now go out and celebrate by listening to a recording of Die Meistersinger!