Sachs tries to convince the masters to let Walther continue, but Beckmesser sarcastically tells Sachs to stop trying to set policy and instead, to finish making his Beckmesser's new shoes, which are overdue. Raising his voice over the masters' argument, Walther finishes his song, but the masters reject him and he rushes out of the church. Scene 1: Evening in a Nuremberg street, at the corner between Pogner's house and Hans Sachs's house, opposite. A lime tree stands outside Pogner's house, an elder outside Sachs's. The apprentices are closing the shutters.
David informs Magdalena of Walther's failure. In her disappointment, Magdalena leaves without giving David the food she had brought for him. This arouses the derision of the other apprentices, and David is about to turn on them when Sachs arrives and hustles his apprentice into the workshop. Pogner arrives with Eva, engaging in a roundabout conversation: Eva is hesitant to ask about the outcome of Walther's application, and Pogner has private doubts about whether it was wise to offer his daughter's hand in marriage for the song contest.
As they enter their house, Magdalena appears and tells Eva about the rumours of Walther's failure. Eva decides to ask Sachs about the matter. As twilight falls, Hans Sachs takes a seat in front of his house, to work on a new pair of shoes for Beckmesser. He muses on Walther's song, which has made a deep impression on him.
Eva approaches Sachs, and they discuss tomorrow's song contest. Eva is unenthusiastic about Beckmesser, who appears to be the only eligible contestant. She hints that she would not mind if Sachs, a widower, were to win the contest. Though touched, Sachs protests that he would be too old a husband for her.
Upon further prompting, Sachs describes Walther's failure at the guild meeting.
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This causes Eva to storm off angrily, confirming Sachs's suspicion that she has fallen in love with Walther. Eva is intercepted by Magdalena, who informs her that Beckmesser is coming to serenade her. Eva, determined to search for Walther, tells Magdalena to pose as her Eva at the bedroom window. Just as Eva is about to leave, Walther appears. He tells her that he has been rejected by the mastersingers, and the two prepare to elope.
However, Sachs has overheard their plans. As they are passing by, he illuminates the street with his lantern, forcing them to hide in the shadow of Pogner's house. Walther makes up his mind to confront Sachs, but is interrupted by the arrival of Beckmesser. As Eva and Walther retreat further into the shadows, Beckmesser begins his serenade. Sachs interrupts him by launching into a full-bellied cobbling song, and hammering the soles of the half-made shoes. Annoyed, Beckmesser tells Sachs to stop, but the cobbler replies that he has to finish tempering the soles of the shoes, whose lateness Beckmesser had publicly complained about in Act 1.
Beckmesser, who has spotted someone at Eva's window Magdalena in disguise , has no time to argue. He tries to sing his serenade, but he makes so many mistakes his tune repeatedly places accents on the wrong syllables of the words that from the repeated knocks Sachs finishes the shoes. David wakes up and sees Beckmesser apparently serenading Magdalena. He attacks Beckmesser in a fit of jealous rage. The entire neighborhood is awakened by the noise.
The other apprentices rush into the fray, and the situation degenerates into a full-blown riot. In the confusion, Walther tries to escape with Eva, but Sachs pushes Eva into her home and drags Walther into his own workshop.
Quiet is restored as abruptly as it was broken. A lone figure walks through the street — the nightwatchman, calling out the hour.
Prelude Vorspiel , a meditative orchestral introduction using music from two key episodes to be heard in Act 3: Sachs's Scene 1 monologue "Wahn! As morning dawns, Sachs is reading a large book. Lost in thought, he does not respond as David returns from delivering Beckmesser's shoes.
David finally manages to attract his master's attention, and they discuss the upcoming festivities — it is St. John's day, Hans Sachs's name day. David recites his verses for Sachs, and leaves to prepare for the festival. Alone, Sachs ponders last night's riot.
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Everywhere madness! His attempt to prevent an elopement had ended in shocking violence.
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Nevertheless, he is resolved to make madness work for him today. Sachs gives Walther an interactive lesson on the history and philosophy of music and mastersinging, and teaches him to moderate his singing according to the spirit if not the strict letter of the masters' rules. Walther demonstrates his understanding by composing two sections of a new Prize Song in a more acceptable style than his previous effort from act 1.
Sachs writes down the new verses as Walther sings them. A final section remains to be composed, but Walther postpones the task. The two men leave the room to dress for the festival. Beckmesser, still sore from his drubbing the night before, enters the workshop. He spots the verses of the Prize Song, written in Sachs's handwriting, and infers that Sachs is secretly planning to enter the contest for Eva's hand. The cobbler re-enters the room and Beckmesser confronts him with the verses and asks if he wrote them.
Sachs confirms that the handwriting is his, but does not clarify that he was not the author but merely served as scribe. However, he goes on to say that he has no intention of wooing Eva or entering the contest, and he presents the manuscript to Beckmesser as a gift. He promises never to claim the song for his own, and warns Beckmesser that it is a very difficult song to interpret and sing.
Beckmesser, his confidence restored by the prospect of using verses written by the famous Hans Sachs, ignores the warning and rushes off to prepare for the song contest. Sachs smiles at Beckmesser's foolishness but expresses hope that Beckmesser will learn to be better in the future. Eva arrives at the workshop.
She is looking for Walther, but pretends to have complaints about a shoe that Sachs made for her. Sachs realizes that the shoe is a perfect fit, but pretends to set about altering the stitching. As he works, he tells Eva that he has just heard a beautiful song, lacking only an ending.
Eva cries out as Walther enters the room, splendidly attired for the festival, and sings the third and final section of the Prize Song. The couple are overwhelmed with gratitude for Sachs, and Eva asks Sachs to forgive her for having manipulated his feelings. The cobbler brushes them off with bantering complaints about his lot as a shoemaker, poet, and widower. At last, however, he admits to Eva that, despite his feelings for her, he is resolved to avoid the fate of King Marke a reference to the subject of another Wagner opera, Tristan und Isolde , in which an old man tries to marry a much-younger woman , thus conferring his blessing upon the lovers.
David and Magdalena appear. Sachs announces to the group that a new master-song has been born, which, following the rules of the mastersingers, is to be baptized. As an apprentice cannot serve as a witness for the baptism, he promotes David to the rank of journeyman with the traditional cuff on the ear and by this also "promoting" him as a groom and Magdalena as a bride.
Almost an act in itself, this scene occupies about 45 minutes of the two hours of Act III and is separated from the preceding four scenes by a Verwandlungsmusik , a transforming Interlude. Meadow on the Pegnitz River. It is the Feast of St.
Wagner depicts three: the Cobblers, whose chorus, Sankt Krispin, lobet ihn! This sequence leads into the well-known Tanz der Lehrbuben , or Dance of the Apprentices. The prize contest begins.
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