After their first performances, Wagner’s operas found their way to the German theatres of the Baltic provinces relatively fast. This article examines the role played by The Mastersingers in the reception of Wagner in the former Baltic Sea provinces of Russia, Estonia (which comprised only the northern part of today’s Estonia) and Livonia (today’s South Estonia and most of Latvia). It also focuses on the standards of first performances in Reval/Tallin and Riga. The theatre of Riga had made itself known with Wagner’s operas since the mid-1840s. However, it was only in the 1880s that a sustained tradition began in Reval, where Wagner was first brought to the stage in 1853. In Riga, The Mastersingers was performed for the first time in December 1871. The success of the performances gave new impetus to public interest in Wagner, and influenced the foundation of the Wagner-Society of Riga in 1877. A leading member was the lecturer Carl Friedrich Glasenapp, who published at that time his fist biography of Wagner. The Mastersingers was performed in Reval only 30 years later (1901), also successfully. An interesting document about performance practice at that time is the piano reduction specifically arranged for the Reval performances (now preserved in the Estonian Museum of Drama and Music), from which the conductor Théo Ritte-Schwarzwald conducted.
Richard Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Estnische Musik - und Theaterakademie (Tallinn)
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg und Wagners Netzwerk in den Ostseeprovinzen Russlands