Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
August 4

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first production of Wagner’s RingCycle, the State Opera of South Australia presented a “semi-staged” version of Act III of the composer’s later opera The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.

It was a strange choice to celebrate a production of the immense scale of a RingCycle with a fraction of another, arguably lesser, of Wagner’s operas. Presumably the simple staging, lighting and costumes were primarily an issue of budgetary constraints rather than a purely artistic decision, but a more visually interesting staging might have made the slow-moving (both musically and narratively) opening scene of Act III more compelling. Starting in the third act also seemed to make it more difficult to become invested in the plight of the characters.

This production featured a strong chorus and cast. Andrew Shore was fantastic in the role of the town clerk Sixtus Beckmesser, as was Kate Ladner as Eva Pogner. Bradley Daley as Walther von Stolzing, Shane Lowrencev as Hans Sachs, and Sam Sakker as David gave solid performances, and the casting of the minor roles was also excellent: it was a shame that the singers in some roles (such as Fiona...