Music: Redraping Grandpa's Work

Hisses and boos mingled with cheers as Richard Wagner's grandsons rang up the curtain last week on the sixth postwar season at Bayreuth. Reason for the excitement: Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner had finally got around to applying to Die Meistersinger the same stripped-down, dramatically lighted staging in which they have redraped all but one (Rienzi) of their Grandfather Richard's works.

To Wagnerians, the looming, medieval sets of Die Meistersinger have long seemed almost as sacrosanct as the music itself. Of all Wagner's operas, Die Meistersinger was the one deemed least adaptable to modern...

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