The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 9, Episode 5 - Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg - full transcript

Once the Savior came to thee...

and was baptized by thy hand.

Then He sacrificed His life.

Thus did He give us salvation's decree.

Be baptized, as He was...

to be worthy of what He did!

Noble baptizer...

Christ's forerunner!

Bless us in thy mercy...

at the River Jordan!

Wait... one word!

My shawl! I left it behind.

Careless child! Now I must go look.

Please forgive me.

One question!
I'd risk anything to know....

Will I be blessed, or cursed?
Just one word!

Here's your shawl.

-My brooch!
-That's lost too?

Will I hear what I long to hear...

or what I dread?
Please tell me, Fraulein....

Here's the brooch.
Now we can go.

Wait... my book!

Won't you say it?
One single syllable!

Yes or no?

Are you betrothed?

Sir Knight,
we are honored by your attention.

May I announce you to Master Pogner?

-If only I had never entered his house!
-Sir Knight, what do I hear?

When you arrived in Nuremberg,
were people not friendly?

Were you not shown every
sign of hospitality?

Oh, Lena, that's not what he means!
He wishes to know...

I can hardly think why....

This is all so like a dream!

He asks if I'm betrothed!

Let's go home.
People might see us!

Not until I know!

There's no one here.

Exactly my point!
Sir Knight, another time!

No! First your answer!


David's here!

You tell him.

Sir Knight,
what you ask is not easily answered.

Eva Pogner is indeed engaged....

To a bridegroom no one has seen!

Not until tomorrow when
the judges award the mastersinger's prize.

And the bride herself crowns the victor!


Are you not one?

-A song contest?
-Before judges.

-Who wins the prize?
-The one the masters name.

Then the bride chooses....

You, or no one!

Eva, what are you saying?

Lena, help me win the knight!

You first saw him yesterday!

I knew I'd seen his picture before.

Doesn't he look like David?

Are you mad? Like David?

Like David in the painting!

Ah, you mean the king with the harp
on the masters' shield.

No! The one who hurled
the stone at Goliath...

with his sword and sling,
as Master Dorer painted him.

Oh David, David!

Here I am. Who calls?

David, what a calamity!

(How dear he is!)

You've locked us in!

Only you... in my heart.

Such a sweet face!

What pranks are you planning?

I beg your pardon?

This is serious business!
I'm preparing the masters' tribunal.

Is there a song contest?

Only a trial. The apprentice who
breaks no rules will advance.

If he does well, he becomes a master!

Then the knight is in the right place.

Now we must go, Eva.

Let me escort you to Master Pogner's.

Wait for him here. He'll soon arrive.

If you intend to court Eva,
the time and place are perfect.

-Now we really must go.
-But what should I do?

Let David teach you about singing.

David, take good care of the knight.

I'll save you something from the kitchen.

Tomorrow you can ask for more
if the knight becomes a master!

Will I see you again?

Tonight... I'll risk anything!

My heart and mind are reborn...
everything I undertake is new.

I know one thing only...

with all my heart and
soul, I must win you.

If not with a sword,
then with a master's song!

For you, all my courage!

For you, my love's devotion!

A master... just like that!

David, what are you doing?

Get to work!
Help us set up for the trial.

I've always worked hardest.
Now you're on your own. I'm busy!

Such airs! The model apprentice!

And all because his master's a shoemaker.

He sits at his last with a pen
and at his poetry with an awl...

writing verses on leather we tanned!

"Start the song!"

"Start the song!"

That's what the marker says, then you sing.
Didn't you know?

Who's the marker?

Weren't you ever at a trial?

Not where the judges were craftsmen.

Are you a "poet"?

If only I were.

Are you a "singer"?

If only I knew.

Surely you were a "scholar"!

I've never heard those terms before.

And just like that you'd be a master?

Is it so difficult?

Oh Lena, Lena!

How do you do it?

Oh Magdalena!

Then teach me!

Sir, the rank of mastersinger
is not won in a day.

Nuremberg's great master,
Hans Sachs, is my teacher.

For a year he's been helping
me to become a scholar.

I learn shoemaking and poetry together.

After stretching the leather,
I learn about vowels.

After waxing the thread,
I learn about rhymes.

With my awl, I practice meter and measure.

At my last I learn what's
long and short, hard and soft...

about orphans, mites,
pauses, flowers....

I've learned it all with great care,
and what do I have to show for it?

A good pair of shoes?

Yes, it takes time to get that far!

A song has many parts.
Who can find the right rule in one try?

What is the right stitching
to sole the song well?

Then come the closing lines,
not too short or too long.

They must contain no rhyme
that has occurred before.

He who has mastered all that
is still not a master.

Don't teach me shoemaking.

Teach me about singing.

If only I were a singer.
No one knows how hard that is.

The masters' tones and melodies,
so many in number...

the bold, the tender...
who can ever know them all?

The short, the long, and overlong tones.

The "paper" and "ink" modes.

The red, blue and green tones.

The "hawthorn" and "fennel" airs.

The tender, the sweet,
and the "rose" tones.

The "brief passion" and
the "forgotten" tones.

The "rosemary," "wallflower,"
"rainbow" and "nightingale" modes.

The "English tin," "cinnamon,"
"fresh orange" and "linden" modes.

The "frog," "calf" and "goldfinch" modes.

The "departed glutton" mode.

The "lark," "snail" and "barking" tones.

The "honey blossom" and "marjoram" modes.

The "lion skin," "pelican"
and "gleaming thread" modes!

God in heaven, what a list!

Those are just the names.

Then you must sing them,
just as the masters have.

Each word and tone must be clear
whenever the voice rises and falls.

Do not begin higher or lower
than your voice can reach.

Be sparing of breath, so as not to run out.

Do not hum before a
word or warble after it.

Change not the coloratura,
and limit ornament to the rules.

Even if all else goes well...

if you lose your place
or become confused, you're undone!

In spite of my labors, I've had no success.

Each time I fail, the master plays
the "razor strap" tune on me!

Then if Lena doesn't help me,
I sing the "bread and water" song!

Learn from one who knows.

Forget this master business.

One must be a singer and a poet...

before he can be a master!

A poet as well?

-David, come here.
-Wait a moment.

What is a poet?

Once you become a singer, and have
correctly sung the masters' tones...

if your rhymes fit the rules,
you win the poet's laurel!

David! Must we tell your master
about your chattering?

True... if I don't help you,
everything will be wrong!

Just one thing more...
who is named a master?

This is how it's done.

The poet who takes word and rhyme
of his own devising...

and sets them to a new melody...

is named a mastersinger!

I must be a master, and nothing less!

If I must sing, I shall succeed...
if the song is my own!

What's this?

When I'm not watching,
everything's done wrong!

Today isn't singing school!
Use the small box, for a trial.

David's truly the cleverest of all.

Today is a trial, and he'll compete.

He certainly knows the "boxed ears"
and "hunger" tunes well.

But his master's "swift
kick" is what he knows best!

Go on, laugh, but not at me!

Someone else will try.

Never scholar or singer,
he's skipped being a poet.

He's a knight, and with another skip
would be a master.

So set up everything right for him.

Put the board where the
marker can reach it.

Yes, the marker.

Aren't you afraid?

Many have fallen before him.

He allows seven mistakes,
which he marks on the board with his chalk.

Whoever makes more than
seven mistakes is completely undone!

Beware, for he is always alert.

So good luck in mastersinging!
May the victor's wreath be yours!

A wreath of flowers of finest silk...

will it be won by the knight?

A wreath of flowers of finest silk...
will it be won by the knight?

You have my support,
and my plan works to your advantage.

You'll win the song contest.
Who could compete with you?

Yet you won't change your mind,
and I'm worried.

If Eva can reject the winner,
what good is my master's rank?

That shouldn't be your primary concern.

You must win her heart.
Why else would you court her?

That's why I want you to speak well of me.

Tell her I'm a tender suitor...
that Beckmesser seems a fine fellow!

I'd be glad to!

(He won't give in!
How can I avoid disaster?)

My young nobleman!
You seek me here in the singing school?

(If only women prized real poetry
above empty flattery!)

I think I'm in the right place...

for it was my love of art
that brought me to Nuremberg.

I forgot to tell you yesterday,
but now I can announce it...

I wish to be a mastersinger.

Admit me, master, to your guild.

Kunz Vogelgesang! Friend Nachtigall!
This is most remarkable!

This knight has turned
his thoughts to the master's art.

(I'll try to change his mind.
If I fail, I must sing to her alone.)

(At night, heard only by her,
I'll see if my song wins her heart!)

Who is he?

This gladdens my heart.
It's just like the old days.

(I don't like it.
What does he want here?)

I helped sell your estates,
and I'd gladly accept you into the guild.

I thank you with all my heart.

Might I compete today
for the rank of mastersinger?

(Ah, not so fast!
This takes training!)

There are rules that govern this.

But I'll put your name in for today's
trial. The masters will agree.

Greetings, masters!

Are we all here?

Sachs is, of course!

Then call the names.

The masters are called
to a meeting and trial.

As the newest member,
I shall now read the names...

beginning with myself, Fritz Kothner.

Are you here, Veit Pogner?

Kunz Vogelgesang?

Hermann Ortel?

Balthazar Zorn?

Konrad Nachtigall?

Augustin Moser?

Niklaus Vogel?

He's ill.

We wish him well!

-Hans Sachs?
-Here he is!

What is your problem?
Excuse me, masters, Sachs is here!

Sixtus Beckmesser?

Near Sachs, so I can learn to rhyme
"bloom" and "wax"!

Ulrich Eisslinger?

Hans Foltz? Hans Schwartz?

The attendance is duly recorded.

Shall we choose the marker?

After the festival!

Since they're so eager,
I'll gladly step down!

Masters, I have something important to say.

Speak then, master.

Then listen, and hear me well.

Tomorrow we celebrate St. John's Day...
Midsummer Day.

In the meadow, amid games and merriment...

all hearts are light,
all cares forgotten.

The masters will gladly exchange
the singing school for the open meadow.

As part of the festival they will
let the people listen to their songs.

Prizes will be awarded
in a contest of song.

Both the songs and the prizes
have been praised far and wide.

God has made me wealthy,
and each should give what he can.

I thought much about
what I should give that would be worthy.

Hear now what I have decided.

In my travels in German lands...

I was annoyed to
hear tradesmen maligned.

I grew sick of hearing that
we care only for money.

That we alone prize true
art, goes unheeded.

But I intend to show the world
how we cherish beauty...

and how this does us honor.

So hear now, masters,
what I have decided to give.

To the singer who wins
the prize in song on St. John's Day...

I, Veit Pogner of Nuremberg,
give with all my earthly goods...

Eva, my only child, as bride!

Well spoken!
What honor he brings to Nuremberg!

Our praises far and wide
shall sound for Veit Pogner!

Who wouldn't want Eva as bride?

Many would divorce just to compete!

Bachelors, look alive!

There is one condition that I must impose.

My daughter must be willing.
She will help decide.

The masters award the prize...

but in the matter of marriage,
the bride's wishes must carry the day.

Does that seem wise?

You put her above us?

It's dangerous!

How could the masters judge freely?

Let her choose now,
and forget the mastersong!

No! Understand me well.

The girl can refuse the masters' choice...

but she cannot choose another.

It must be a mastersinger.
She can only marry one whom you crown.

Forgive me, but perhaps you go too far.

A girl's heart and a master's art
glow with different flames.

A woman's untrained judgment
seems to me like the people's.

If you wish to show that you honor art...

and don't want the girl
to reject your choice...

why not let the people judge?
She'll surely honor their choice.

Ha! The people?
Farewell, masters' art!

It makes no sense to let
the people make the rules.

Calm yourselves!
All will agree that I know the rules well.

I myself have always seen to it
that the guild obeys them.

But I think it would be wise
to test the rules each year...

to see that they haven't lost
their force through dull habit.

The only one who can tell you
whether you are close to nature...

is one who knows nothing of the rules.

The boys like that idea!

May you never regret that every St.
John's Day...

you descended from
your masters' heights to the people.

If you want to please them,
let them tell you what they like.

In this way will the people,
and art, bloom and wax...

say I, Hans Sachs!

-You mean well.
-But it's all wrong.

If the people speak, we keep quiet!

Art will be ruined
if it depends on the people's favor!

They certainly made Sachs's reputation
as a crowd-pleaser!

Friend Sachs, what I've done is
bold enough. Let us not regret it.

And so I ask the masters
if they approve of what I've put forth.

I approve, if the girl can choose.

The cobbler is infuriating!

Who will come forth?
It must be a bachelor.

Or a widower!
What about Sachs?

No, my dear marker,
the prize must go to one younger than us.

Younger than me? Insolent lout!

Let him who would compete come forward!

I'd like to begin by commending
a young knight to your favor.

He wishes to become a mastersinger.

My friend Stolzing, come forward.

So that's your game, Veit!

It's too late for that now!

A knight? This is new!

Should we be glad, or afraid?

Yet Pogner speaks for him.

If the nobleman would be welcome,
he must first be questioned.

Know that though I wish him well,
I would not bend the rules.

Now the questions, gentlemen.

If the nobleman would tell us,
is he free and honorably born?

The question is unnecessary,
for I testify that he is of noble birth.

He is Walther von Stolzing of Franconia,
whose family I know.

As the last of his line,
he has left his hearth and home...

and come to Nuremberg to settle.

Worthless nobleman! I don't like it!

Friend Pogner's word is enough.

As the masters once decreed,
both prince and peasant are welcome here.

Here only art matters to those
who would be mastersingers.

I ask you now, what master taught you?

By the hearth in wintertime,
when snow lay upon the ground...

I read how springtime laughs,
and how it would soon be reborn.

I read all this in an ancient book,
a cherished heirloom.

The poet Walther von der Vogelweide
was my only master!

A good master.

But long dead!
How could he have taught him the rules?

In what school did you learn to sing?

As the frost melted, and spring returned...

just as the book foretold
on that long winter's night...

spring rang forth in
the forest's splendor!

It was there, in the meadow,
that I learned to sing!

So the birds and titmice taught you?

I expect it will show!

He set two pleasing stanzas.

"Birdsong" likes the birds' student!

Masters, need we go on? I think the
knight has come to the wrong place.

That remains to be seen.
If he possesses true art...

and guards it well,
what matters who taught him?

Are you prepared to give us
a master's song of your own?

What winter and forest,
book and meadow taught me...

all that poetry's power could reveal...

what I heard in a horse's gallop
or dancing feet....

To win life's highest prize...

this will all flow
together in a mastersong!

Could you make sense of that?

He's certainly bold.

Most remarkable.

Now, masters,
the marker's box must be prepared.

Have you chosen a sacred theme?

Sacred to me! Waving love's
banner, I shall sing with hope.

We call that worldly.

Master Beckmesser,
take your place in the box.

An irksome business, especially today.

I'll be kept busy with the chalk!

Sir Knight, know that
Sixtus Beckmesser is the marker.

In that box he silently
performs his solemn task.

He allows you seven faults,
which he marks with chalk.

If there are more,
his knightship has failed.

The marker listens well...

but since seeing him might unsettle you,
he sits concealed from view.

May God be with you!

Hear now the rules that govern each song,
as found in the table of rules.

Each mastersong shall display
a proper balance of its diverse sections.

This law shall not be broken.

A section contains two stanzas,
each having the same melody.

A stanza consists of several lines,
each of which must end on a rhyme.

Then comes the final part,
also several lines long.

It has its own melody,
not found in the preceding stanzas.

All the sections of each song
shall be arranged in the same manner.

If a new song does not imitate another
for more than four syllables...

it can win the master's prize.

The singer will sit!

Here, in this chair?

That is the custom.

I do this for you, my love!

The singer is ready.

Start the song!

"Start the song!"

Thus called spring to the forest.
How loudly it rings in the trees!

As the sound grows faint in distant echo...

another sound approaches,
gathering in force.

It is heard in the woods,
a host of sweet voices.

Now loud and clear, nearer it comes,
with a sound like pealing bells!

The forest answers the call,
the call that gave it life...

the song of spring!

But in a thorn bush,
consumed by hate and envy...

winter nurses his wrath.

Hiding amid the rustling leaves,
he waits for his chance...

his chance to ruin the song.

"Start the song!"

Those words stirred in my heart,
before ever I knew love!

Something stirred within me,
as if awakened from a dream.

My heart beat with a force
that filled my breast.

My blood was alive with new sensations!

In twilight's warmth,
the chorus swells to a sea of sound!

How quickly the heart answers the call!

Let a song of love ring out!

-Are you finished?

Because my board is!

But it's only now, in the refrain,
that I sing my beloved's praise!

Sing where you will.
Here, you have failed!

Masters, behold the board.
I've never seen anything like it!

If you all swore it was so,
I wouldn't believe it!

Will you masters allow this?

Must the end of my song go unheard?

Herr Marker, you're overwrought.

Let whoever wishes be the marker.

I shall prove to you all
that the knight has failed.

But where do I begin?

I won't even mention false meter and order.

Too short, too long, and no end!

"Blind meaning" alone will suffice!

How could the sense be more senseless?

We must admit,
there was no ending in sight.

A jumble of three different modes!

True, I understood none of it!

No pause, no coloratura, and no melody!

Who'd call that singing?

It made me uneasy!

-Worthless rubbish!
-Empty chatter!

And he jumped up from the chair!

Must I prove it, or do you all agree?

Masters, don't be so hasty.

Not everyone shares your opinion.

I found the knight's song
new, but not confused.

Though he left our path,
his step was firm and true.

If you would judge something
that doesn't obey your rules...

forget your rules and learn new ones.

Sachs is opening the door to blunderers...

to pass in and out as they please!

Go sing in the marketplace.
Here, we have rules!

Herr Marker, why do you carry on so?

If you listened more closely,
you'd be a better judge.

I ask that you hear the noble out.

The whole guild is worth
nothing against Sachs!

God forbid I should
advocate breaking the rules.

And the rules say,
"The judgment of the marker..."

"shall not be clouded
by love or by hate."

Now that the marker is
on a suitor's footing...

why not shame his rival
before the whole school?

-You go too far!
-Please masters, stop these insults.

If Sachs cared what "footing"
I went on, my feet wouldn't hurt.

Now that the cobbler is a great poet,
my shoes are in miserable shape!

They don't fit at all!

He can leave all his poetry at home.

Just let me have my new shoes!

Your complaint is perhaps just.

Am I to put verses on a mule driver's shoe,
and not on our town clerk's?

Only, I haven't yet found
the words that he deserves.

But I'll find them,
after I've heard the knight's song!

Let him sing!

No more! Enough!

Sing, in defiance of our master marker!

Must he continue?
This song is foolish.

From out of the dark thorn bush,
the owl takes flight!

His shrieking wakes the
ravens' own hoarse choir!

The nocturnal hordes
raise a terrible din...

with the cackling of
the magpies and crows!

But borne aloft on golden wings,
a wondrous bird appears.

With bright plumage that
glistens in the sky...

he soars, calling me to
flight, and freedom!

Herr Marker, give us some peace!
Let others listen!

There, in the meadow,
as the master taught me...

I will sing aloud in praise of women!

Good luck to you, Sir Knight!

Masters, listen to his faults!
Reject the knight!

-Farewell to you, masters, on earth!
-He sang and failed!

St. John's Day!

All the flowers and ribbons
one could ever want!

Will I win the master's
wreath of silken flowers?

Are you still here?
Go sing your stupid songs alone!

David, don't be so proud and foolish.
Turn around!

St. John's Day!
He pretends not to see Mistress Lena!

David! Over here!

Ah, Mistress Lena!

I have a treat for my sweetheart.

But first, how did the knight do?
Did he succeed?

I'm sorry to say that he failed completely.

-Failed? Is there no hope?
-What does that matter to you?

Then it's nothing to eat for you!

Dear God, our knight failed!

Hail to our young man!
How splendidly he wooed!

The one he would die for
has withheld the basket!

What are you doing there? Be gone!

St. John's Day,
and everyone courts as he pleases.

The master woos, the apprentice woos,
and there's romance in the air!

The man courts the maiden,
and the boy courts the old maid.

Fighting again, are you?

Not I! They're making fun of me!

Ignore them, and set an example.

Go inside now and lock up,
then bring me a light.

Will I have a singing lesson?

Not after your antics today.

Put the new shoes on the last.

Perhaps Master Sachs is in.
I want to speak with him.

He must be home... I see a light.

Should I? What for?

I'd better not.

Who listens to advice before
risking something bold?

Anyway, he thought I went too far.

But if I did,
was it not as he would have done?

Then again, perhaps it was only vanity.

And you, child... have you nothing to say?

A dutiful child speaks only when spoken to.

How wise... how good!

Come sit with me awhile.

Is it not too cool?
It was such a warm day.

Not at all. It's a mild and lovely evening.
The air is so fragrant!

That means that tomorrow will be fair.

Child, doesn't your heart thrill
at the joy that will be yours...

when all Nuremberg gathers before you?

You will award the bride's prize...

to the master of your choice!

Father, must it be a master?

I said, the master of your choice.

Yes, of my choice....

Now go in to supper.

Do we have guests?

Didn't you see the nobleman today?

He displeased me.

No, he didn't!
But wait... have I grown dim?

Father, go and change.

I can't get it out of my head.

Did you learn anything?

David said he failed.

The knight? Oh, what will I do?
Lena, whom can I turn to?

Ask Sachs.

Yes! He's fond of me.

But don't let your father know.
He'll be cross if you're late.

Go after supper.
Also, I have a message for you.

-From the knight?
-No, not him...


That should be good!

Put my bench outside.

Now go to bed and sleep
off your foolishness.

-Will you still work?
-Does that concern you?

What was bothering Lena?

And why is the master still up?

-Still here?
-Sleep well, master.

How mild the elder's fragrance is.
Mild, yet rich and full.

It soothes my very soul...

and makes me want to speak.

Yet what can I say that would matter?
I'm but a poor and simple man.

If my work no longer pleased me,
I would give it up.

Better just to tend to my leather,
and give up poetry!

And yet, it will not leave me.

I feel it, though I can't understand it.

I cannot grasp it, yet I cannot forget it.

And when I think I've grasped it,
I cannot take its measure.

But how can one measure
what seems beyond measuring?

It did not fit the rules.

Yet it had no faults.

It sounded so old
yet as fresh as a bird's song in May!

Those foolish enough to imitate it
would earn only scorn!

The sweet urgency of spring's command...

placed it in his breast.

Thus he sang because he had to...

and because he had to, he was able.

I marked that well.

The bird who sang today
was equal to the task.

He may have frightened the masters...

but he pleased Hans Sachs!

Good evening, master.
Still hard at work?

Eva, you're up late.

And I think I know why.
Is it the new shoes?

No, I haven't even tried them on.
I dare not, for they're too beautiful.

Yet you are to wear them
tomorrow, as a bride.

Who's the groom?

-As if I knew!
-Then how do you know I'll be a bride?

The whole town knows it.

Then of course it must be true.

I thought you knew more.

What should I know?

Really! Must I tell you?

Do you think me stupid?

I never said that.

Then you're clever?

I have no idea!

You know nothing, and say nothing?

I see cobbler's pitch
isn't fine wax after all!

I thought better of you.

My child, I know the difference
between pitch and wax.

I treated the silken thread with wax
so your shoes would hold fast.

Today I'm making shoes of a rougher sort,
with pitched thread.

For someone important?


A master is going wooing
and intends to be the victor tomorrow.

Herr Beckmesser needs his shoes!

Then put plenty of pitch in them,
so he'll get stuck and leave me alone!

He hopes to win you with his song.

Why him?

He's a bachelor,
one of the few around here.

Couldn't a widower try?

Child, he'd be too old for you.

Too old?

Here only art matters,
and he who possesses it can win my hand.

Dear Eva, you're trying to trick me.

It is you who deceive me.
Admit it! You have a fickle heart.

God knows whom you're fond of.
I've often thought it was me.

Because I used to carry you in my arms?

Was it only because you were childless?

I had a wife once, and children.

But your wife died, and now I'm grown up.

Yes, grown up... and lovely!

I've thought it all out.
Take me as both wife and child.

Then I'd have both a daughter and a wife.

How sweetly the time would pass!

Yes, you've thought it out well.

I see the master is laughing at me.
Does he intend to sit still...

and let Beckmesser steal me
out from under his nose tomorrow?

Who can prevent him?
Only your father can help you there.

Where are the master's wits? Would I
be here if I could get help at home?

You're right... I'm distracted tonight.

I was sorely vexed today.
Perhaps it has stayed with me.

Because of singing school?

Yes, child,
the song trial perplexed me no end.

You should have said so at once.
I wouldn't have pestered you so!

Tell me who it was that sang.

A nobleman, quite unschooled.

A knight? Tell me!
Did he succeed?

He did not, and there was a great dispute.

What happened?

If it unsettled you, how can I stay calm?

The knight failed hopelessly!


Can he never become a master?

My child, all is lost for him.
He will never be a master.

Those who are born masters
earn from masters only scorn.

Did he win no master as his friend?

His friend?
After he made them all feel so small?

Begone with the arrogant knight!
Let him have his way somewhere else!

Leave us to what we've
worked so hard to learn.

Here, he'll have to reckon with us.
Good luck to him elsewhere!

Yes, elsewhere! Away from the whole
rude, jealous lot of you...

where hearts can love,
far from all the spiteful Master Hanses!

I'm coming, Lena!

What comfort have I found?

It stinks of pitch here!

Burn some, and warm yourself up!

Just as I thought.

Now we must find a way.

Your father wants you.

Tell him I've gone to bed.

No, listen! Beckmesser found me,
and won't leave me alone.

You're to appear at your window,
and he'll sing you a pretty song.

He hopes to win you with it,
after he sees if it pleases you.

That's all I need!
If only the knight would come!

-Have you seen David?
-Why should I care?

I was harsh with him. He'll sulk.

-Can you see anything?
-I think someone's coming.

Oh, let it be him!

It's time to go inside.

Not until I've seen the one I long to see!

I was wrong. No one's there.
Come, or your father will find out.

-I'm afraid!
-We must get rid of Beckmesser.

You pretend to be me at the window.

David will be jealous!

He'll see it all. What fun!

I hear someone!

It's nothing! Come inside!

Time to come inside.
The knight is not here!

-There he is!
-Now we must be clever.

It is you! I'll say
everything, for you know it.

I'll defy everything, for I know it.

You are both winner of the prize
and my only friend!

How wrong you are! I am only your
friend, unworthy of the prize...

not deemed the equal of the masters.

My passion met with scorn,
so I cannot compete for your hand.

How wrong you are!
Only I award the prize.

My heart takes courage from yours,
and you alone win the crown!

How wrong you are!
Even if no one else were to win you...

you are bound by your father's will,
and lost to me.

"It must be a mastersinger.
She may only marry one whom you crown."

He can't take back those words,
even if he wished to.

That very thing gave me courage,
and though all was so strange...

I sang with love and passion,
to earn the rank of master.

But those masters!

Their sticky mess of rhyming rules!

I choke with shame
to think of the trap they laid for me.

Away, to freedom!

I belong where I'm master in my own house.

If I'm to wed you today, I beg you,
escape with me from this place!

There is no other way.
We have no choice!

Everywhere masters, like mocking ghosts...

leering and grimacing from every corner.

Around you they dance,
fawning and croaking...

seeking your hand.

Then they put you on display
as a master's trophy...

and I'm supposed to bear it
without wringing their necks!

It was only the watchman's horn, my love.

Hide, for he'll soon be here.

Eva, you must come inside.

-Then you'll come?
-Shouldn't I?

We'll escape?

From the masters' judgment.

Hear me, people...
the clock has struck ten.

Tend your fire and your light,
that no one may be harmed tonight.

Praise God, our Lord!

I think there's mischief afoot.

An elopement.

I must stop it!

What if she doesn't come back?

But wait... is that she?

Alas no, it's only Lena.

The foolish child... here you have her!

O heaven, now I know
I've won the master's prize!

But now we must flee.

My squire is waiting by
the gate with horses.

The shoemaker might see us.
We must keep out of sight.

Is there another way?

Through the street...
but the watchman's there.

Then through the alley.

-Wait till the cobbler goes in.
-I'll get rid of him.

Don't... he knows you. It's Sachs.

-Hans Sachs? My friend!
-He spoke ill of you.

Sachs, too? I'll put out his lamp!

Don't do it.


A lute!

All I needed!

The cobbler's gone inside.
Now's the time!

Don't you see the other one?

I see him-a troubadour!
What is he doing here so late?

It's Beckmesser!

As I thought!

The marker, at my mercy!
I'll make him regret it!

No! You'll wake Father!

Let him sing his song and go.

We'll hide in the meantime.

The problems I have with men!

When God cast Eve out of Paradise...

the hard stones hurt her unshod feet.

What is that cobbler doing?

Why is he singing about you?

It's not about me...
but he's up to something.

So God said,
"Make some shoes for Eve."

"And since Adam, too,
is stubbing his toes..."

We shouldn't delay any longer.

"...measure him for some boots!"

How now, master?
Up so late at night?

Herr Clerk! You're awake?

Worried about your shoes?
You can see I'm working on them.

Devil take the shoes!
I want quiet!

O Eve, sinful woman,
let it be upon your conscience...

Does he jest with Beckmesser or with us?

It would seem to be all three.

That angels must cobble
shoes for mortal feet.

When you were in Paradise,
no stones hurt your feet.

Have no fear, my sweet angel.

But for your misdeed,
I must ply my trade with awl and thread.

Being with you is a dream come true.

And for Adam's weakness,
I sole shoes and smear pitch!

Were I not an angel so pure,
a devil might be making your shoes!

Stop it! Is this a joke?
Is night like day to you?

Why shouldn't I sing?
Don't you want me to finish your shoes?

Just go inside and be quiet.

Working at night is tedious,
so to stay in good spirits...

I need fresh air and a song.
Now listen to the third verse.

She'll think I'm the one who's singing!

Eve, hear my lament, my sorrow and my pain.

A cobbler's works of art
are trod upon by all the world.

If the angels didn't console me...

and often call me to Paradise,
I'd leave shoemaking behind.

But once I'm in heaven,
the world is at my feet.

Then am I truly Hans Sachs, shoemaker...

and poet, too?

The window is opening!

His song troubles me,
I don't know why. Let's go!

I'll show him!

Good heavens, it's her!

I'm lost if Sachs keeps singing!

Dear Sachs, that I should be
the cause of your distress!

Sachs, my friend, listen...

don't worry about the shoes.
I'd already forgotten about them.

I respect you as a cobbler,
but even more as a judge of art.

I value your opinion,
so please listen to my song...

the song I hope will win tomorrow,
and tell me if it pleases you.

Is this a trick?
I don't want another scolding.

Since the cobbler fancies himself a poet...

your shoes are in miserable shape.
Clearly they don't fit at all!

So I'm giving up verses and rhymes,
wit, and everything else...

just so I can finish your shoes!

Forget all that!
It was all in jest.

Here's what's really on my mind.

The people respect you, as does Eva Pogner.

I plan to woo her tomorrow
before all the world...

but I might fail if
you don't like my song.

So listen carefully,
then tell me what you did and didn't like.

Leave me in peace!
Why must this honor fall to me?

I write songs for the streets,
to sing while I work!

Scoundrel! You'll drive me mad
with your pitch-laden song!

Quiet, or you'll wake everybody up.

They're used to it.

Spiteful devil, that's your last prank!
Be quiet, or you'll regret it!

You're simply jealous!
You think you're so clever.

It pains you if others have talent.
I know you inside out.

What really galls you
is that you've never been chosen marker.

Well, as long as I live,
and a rhyme still hangs on my lips...

as long as I count
for something among the masters...

though Nuremberg may bloom and wax,
I swear to you, Hans Sachs...

you'll never be marker!

Was that your song?

Damn you!

It followed few rules,
but was proudly sung.

Will you listen?

Sing away, by all means!
I'll finish these soles.

-But will you keep quiet?
-Sing. It will help my work.

Will you stop that hammering?

How else can I finish the soles?

You're going to hammer while I sing?

Your song and my shoes must be just right.

Forget the shoes!

If I do, you'll scold me tomorrow.

But perhaps there's a way.

Two heads are better than one.

Though I must work,
I'd like to learn the marker's art.

You have no equal there.
I'll never learn, if not from you.

So sing, and I'll mark as I work.

Then mark away, but use your chalk.

That wouldn't make the soles stick.
I'll judge you with hammer and last.

It's getting late.
Soon she'll go back inside!

Yes, you'd better start,
or I'll sing myself.

No! Not that!

If you want to mark,
go ahead and use the hammer...

but strictly according to the rules.

The rules according to the cobbler,
who's itching to get to work.

Master's honor?

By my cobbler's soul!

There'll be no mistakes.

Then you'll have no shoes.

Is this a dream?

I'm still in the singing school!

I shouldn't see you,
according to the rules.

I may not hear you well.

But my voice is full!


All right, start the song!

I see the day begin, which pleases me.

And suddenly within, my heart arises.

What's wrong?

Better to sing,
"Within my heart arises."

Then there's no rhyme with "begin"!

Shouldn't word and tone agree?

Stop hammering, or you'll be sorry.

-Now I'm confused.

Go on! I have three taps' rest.

I'll ignore him. I hope she will!

I see the day begin, which pleases me.

And suddenly, within my heart,
fresh courage arises.

My thoughts to death do not hasten,
but how to win a young maiden.

Why of all days might
this the loveliest be?

I say to you all, because a pretty girl...

has by her father been
pledged in matrimony.

Let those who dare now come and stare...

at such a comely
maid, my hope's purview.

That is why the day is so blue!

Sachs, you'll drive me mad!
Will you be quiet?

I was only marking.
The soles are almost done.

She's leaving!

Sachs, I have you to thank for this!

The marker is ready. Continue!

My heart leaps to court the lovely one...

but her father has
put on it a condition...

for him who would be his heir,
and wed his daughter fair.

The worthy master loves his daughter...

yet shows he values art
by the prize he offers.

He who would be his son
must sing well in his eyes.

Here only art will do,
free of doggerel, and true...

and may fortune with
roses his path bestrew...

whose love is true,
and reward him with the prize!

-Are you finished?
-Why do you ask?

Because the shoes are!

A real pair of master's shoes,
with a real marker's verse!

It's marked in clear strokes
right here on the soles!

Why is Lena at the window?

Beckmesser! Lena had him sing to her!

Go, and may your soles keep good time!

Help! They'll kill each other!

What is the meaning of all this?

It's causing a terrible din!

Go home, or we masters will unleash
a hail of blows on your heads!

Lena, where are you?

You should go inside.

Hear me, people...
the clock has struck eleven.

Protect yourselves from every ghost,
let your soul to no evil be host.

Praise God, our Lord!

Here I am, master!

I took the shoes to Herr Beckmesser's.

Did you call me just now?

(He pretends he doesn't see me.
He never speaks when he's angry.)

Master, please forgive me!
What apprentice was ever perfect?

If you knew Lena as I do, you'd understand.

She's so gentle and sweet,
and looks at me so tenderly.

When you are harsh, she comforts me.

When I'm hungry, she feeds me.

But after the knight failed,
she wouldn't let me near her basket.

That hurt... so when the clerk
sang to her last night...

I let him have it!
I think it helped my cause.

Lena explained everything and gave me
flowers and ribbons for the festival.

Master, say something.

(I wish I had hidden
the sausage and cakes!)

Are those flowers and
ribbons that I see there?

They look so fresh...
how did they get here?

Today is a holiday, master,
and everybody's looking their best.

Will there be a wedding?

Yes, if I win Lena's hand.

Was there a celebration last night?

(Here it comes!)

Forgive and forget, master.
Today is St. John's Day!

St. John's Day....

(Is he deaf today?)

Let me hear your piece.

I think I know it well.

(How unusual!
The master's in a good mood.)

St. John stood at the Jordan's banks....

Last night still has me confused!

St. John stood at the Jordan's banks,
the multitudes to christen.

And then from Nuremberg,
a woman to him did hasten.

She gave her son to be baptized,
to receive his true salvation.

But when she returned
to her own home and nation...

she found that those named
by the Jordan as 'John'...

by the River Pegnitz are called 'Hans'!

Master, it's your name day!
How could I forget?

Take the flowers, ribbons, and cakes!

What about the sausage?

Thanks, but you keep it.
You're going with me to the meadow.

Wear the flowers and ribbons.
You'll be my herald.

Shouldn't I be your best man?

Master, you must marry again!

You'd like a woman in the house?

It would make it grander.

Time usually arranges things.

It's time now.

Then perhaps there's a way.

Everyone thinks so.
You'd defeat Beckmesser.

I don't think he'll be
so proud after today.

It has crossed my mind.

Now go, and don't wake the knight.

Come back when you're dressed.

He's never been as kind as this.
No more razor strap!

Madness, madness...
everywhere, madness.

No matter where I look,
in histories of every kind...

I cannot find the reason.

Why do people plague one another
with senseless anger?

No one gains from it.

The prey thinks himself the hunter,
and is deaf to his own cry of pain.

He thinks he's found true joy
in feasting on his own flesh.

Who will speak its name?

It is only madness, without which
nothing happens in the world.

If it pauses, it is only to gather
new strength in sleep.

Once awake, it seeks new conquests!

How peacefully our city thrives...

content in her ways,
in the heartland of the realm.

My beloved Nuremberg!

But late one night,
a man knows not what to do.

How is he to prevent love's youthful folly?

A cobbler pulls at madness's thread,
and there's fighting in the streets.

Men, women, and apprentices
are all at one another's throats.

To earn madness's blessing,
things must come to blows!

God knows how it all came to pass.

A goblin was to blame...

a glowworm couldn't find his mate.

It was he who caused all the trouble.

It was the elder blossom... St. John's Eve!

But now it's St. John's Day.

Perhaps Hans Sachs
can make madness serve a noble end.

For it will give us no peace,
even here in Nuremberg.

So let it work for the
good of those things...

that may need a touch
of madness to succeed!

Greetings, my friend.

I trust you slept?

Not much, but deeply, and well.

Are you in good spirits?

I had a wondrous dream.

That's a good sign.
Tell me about it.

I'm afraid it will vanish
if I even think about it.

It is the poet's job to explain
the meaning of dreams.

They mirror what is innermost in our souls.

Poetry is nothing more than
divining the truth in dreams.

Did your dream tell you
how to become a master?

My dream was not inspired
by the guild and its masters.

Did it teach you the magic
needed to win her?

There is no hope for me
after what has happened.

I haven't lost hope... far from it.

If I had, I might have
left with you last night.

Don't be angry.
You're dealing with honorable men.

They make mistakes,
but are content to be taken as they are.

Those who award a prize
want to be pleased by their choice.

Your song made them uneasy,
and perhaps rightly so.

Such passion often leads to seduction.

There is other language
to describe wedded bliss.

I heard that language in
the street last night.

True enough...
and the marking of it, as well!

But now mark me,
and you shall make a mastersong.

A beautiful song, a mastersong...

how do I learn the difference?

My friend, many a beautiful song...

has come from young hearts
filled with first love.

It was springtime that sang for them!

Through summer, fall and winter,
and all the cares of life...

children, trade, sorrow and strife...

those who can still sing
a song of beauty are called masters!

I love a woman whom
I want as my wife forever!

Learn the masters' rules,
that they may guide you.

Nourish what love and spring
placed in your heart.

Cherish it, so that it never dies.

Who was it that made these rules
that are so revered?

They were masters sorely burdened
by the cares of life.

In the midst of their many hardships
they chose a symbol...

a symbol to keep alive forever
the memory of young love-springtime.

But if one's springtime has fled,
how does he recapture it?

He renews it as best he can.

If I am to teach you the rules,
you must explain them to me anew.

You dictate, and I shall write.

I scarcely know where to begin.

Tell me about your dream.

I think it has vanished,
thanks to your rules.

Taking the poet's art in hand
will help you find what was lost.

So it wasn't a dream, but poetry?

The two are friendly
and often go hand in hand.

Where do the rules say to start?

Set your own rules, and obey them.

Just remember your dream.

Hans Sachs will take care of the rest.

Shining in morning's rose-colored light...

filled with the fragrance of flowers...

a garden of unimagined
delights bade me enter.

That was the first stanza.
One just like it must now follow.

Why just like it?

So it's clear you're choosing a wife.

Arching in splendor over
the magical place...

bearing golden, healing fruit...

with perfumed branch,
stood a wondrous tree.

You didn't close in the same key.
The masters don't like that.

But I see why you did so.
Spring is like that.

Now for the closing lines.

What must I do?

If the couple you chose is right,
it will show in the offspring.

The closing lines have
their own rhyme and tone.

Parents take pleasure
in an independent child.

The closing lines ensure
that nothing in your song is lost.

Hear now of the wonder that befell me!

At my side stood a woman of divine beauty.

Like a bride,
she pressed me to her gently...

pointing the way with
glance and gesture...

to my heart's desire,
the blessed fruit of the tree of life!

That succeeded. See how well
those lines work with the rest?

The melody was a bit free...

though not to a fault.

But it was elusive,
and that vexes the masters.

Now give me a second verse, to compare.

Though you sang it well,
I still don't know your dream.

Twilight in all its splendor fell about me.

My sole desire was to gaze
at her eyes in bliss.

Enfolded by night, my vision grew dim.

So far yet near,
two stars shone down upon me.

Then I heard the gentle sound of a spring.

Its music grew in strength and sweetness.

How brilliant were the stars!

Dancing in leaf and branch,
they all shone together...

a host of stars in the laurel tree!

Your vision served you well.
The second verse is well made.

A third verse would explain
the meaning of the dream.

And what is that?
Enough of words!

Then let word and deed
find their proper place.

Pay attention to the melody,
for it carries poetry well.

When you sing before an audience,
keep to your dream.

What are you planning?

Your squire brought you something.

These are the wedding clothes
meant to dazzle your kin at home.

A dove must have shown him
the nest where his master slept.

Now we shall both don our finery...

as befits the occasion.

Come, then, if you agree!

A song by Sachs! Can it be true?

Now I understand!

Herr Clerk, and so early!
I hope it isn't the shoes.

The soles are so thin I
can feel every pebble!

My marker's verse needed
many hammer strokes.

Enough of your jokes!

I know what you're up to, Sachs.
You'll regret last night!

To get me out of the
way, you staged a riot!

Your courtship had a
haunting effect on us all.

The madder the wedding eve,
the better the marriage!

Scheming, malicious cobbler!

You were always my foe.
Tell me if I'm wrong.

You seek to steal the one that I've chosen.

To secure Pogner's wealth,
you manipulated the masters' council...

and the girl, too,
so she'd listen only to you.

How could I be such a fool!

You ruined my song
so she wouldn't know how I feel.

Do you deny it?

Then you set your boy
on me to finish me off.

I'm black and blue,
disgraced, and so battered...

no tailor could iron me right.
I barely escaped death!

But I'll pay you back.
Just wait until the contest.

Though I'm beaten and bruised,
I'll fix your song!

Friend, you're mistaken.
You may think what you like...

but I have no intention of competing.

Lies! I know better.

What do you mean, Master Beckmesser?

Whatever else I'm thinking
is no concern of yours.

However, you're wrong about me singing.

You won't sing?

Not as a suitor.

No contest song?

Absolutely not.

What if I have proof?

The poem... I left it here.

Did you take it?

Is this your writing?

Yes... that's the one.

The writing is still fresh.

The ink is still wet.

I suppose it's something biblical.

Anyone guessing that would be wrong.


Well, what?

Tell me.

Tell you what?

You are without doubt the
worst of all scoundrels!

Perhaps, but I never stole
from another's table.

But so that people won't think ill of you,
you can keep it.

Good God! A song by Sachs!

But wait... this might be a trick.

You've probably memorized it.

Have no fear on my account.

You're giving it to me?

-So you won't be a thief.
-May I use it?

-If you wish.

-If you can.
-And if I succeed?

That would amaze me.

Now there you're too modest.
A song by Sachs is something!

Just look at what terrible shape I'm in.

Just thinking of last night pains me.
The girl took fright, thanks to you.

How can I write a new song,
poor battered man that I am?

Though God made me for marrying,
I feared I must forgo it.

But with a song by you,
nothing can stand in my way.

With it, all strife
between us is forgotten!

But wait... what if it's a trap?

Only yesterday we were enemies.

Why are you so friendly to me today?

Would an enemy stay up
late making your shoes?

Very well, but promise
you won't reveal the song is yours.

I swear I shall never claim
that the song is mine.

What more could I want?
Beckmesser's worries are over!

But let me advise you
in all friendliness...

study the song well,
for its tone and melody are not easy.

Sachs, you're a good poet,
but in tone and melody I bow to no man.

Just listen well today.

"Beckmesser! No one better!"
If I can sing in peace!

Now home, to memorize!

Sachs, I've misjudged you.
That knight threw me off guard.

We masters are well rid of him.

But my thoughts run away with me.

Syllables, rhymes... I'm stuck like glue,
yet itching to move!

Farewell! I'll thank you again later.

I'll buy all your works
and vote for you for marker.

For marker, Hans Sachs...

so Nuremberg will forever bloom and wax!

I've never known one so spiteful,
but he won't keep it up forever.

People often squander their wits,
keeping just enough to get by.

When their moment of weakness arrives,
they finally listen to reason.

Beckmesser's becoming a thief
is perfect for my plan.

Eva! I wonder what kept her.

Greetings, Eva!
How splendid and proud you look today.

You'll bewitch young and old alike
with your beauty.

Master, it isn't serious.

My dress will cover up
the shoe that pinches.

It's your own fault for not
trying them on yesterday.

Perhaps I was mistaken to
trust the master as I did.

Forgive me. Show me what's wrong.

When I stop it goes,
and when I go it stops.

I must remedy this dreadful problem.

What's the matter?

It's too wide, as you can see!

Child, you're imagining it.
The shoe is too narrow.

That's what I said!

That's why it's pinching my toe.

On the left?

No, on the right.

The instep?

More the heel.

That, too?

So the master knows better
than I where it pinches?

How could it pinch
everywhere if it's too wide?

Now I see the problem!

You were right. I'll fix it.

Your pain will soon be forgotten.

Always the shoemaker, day and night.

Child, I've decided to give up shoemaking.

I think I should try for your hand,
and win something as a poet.

Say something...
you were the one who gave me the idea.

I know... tend to my shoes.

If only we had some music...
I heard a lovely song today.

Perhaps it has a third verse.

Did the stars linger there in their dance?

In her hair, so full of light...

the stars formed a glowing garland.

Listen, child... that is a master's song.

Wonder upon wonder now came to pass.

I beheld the twin suns...

that were her eyes.

Such songs are now heard in my house.

Vision of infinite grace,
that I made bold to approach!

She winds the garland,
sun-gilded yet green...

gently about her husband's brow.

There, born to grace and fame...

she fills the poet's heart with bliss!

Cobbling certainly has
its share of problems.

If I weren't also a poet,
I'd never make another shoe!

Nothing but bother!
This one's too big, that one's too small!

They attack from all sides.
"It pinches!" "It's loose!"

The cobbler is supposed to fix it all
with the flick of a wrist.

If he's a poet as well, he knows no peace.

If he's a widower,
people play tricks on him.

If men are scarce,
girls expect him to court them.

Whether he's onto them or not...

he ends up looking foolish,
churlish, and brash!

I'm sorry for my apprentice.
He'll lose all respect.

Lena has him eating out of her hand!

Oh, Sachs, my friend, dearest of men!

How can I ever repay you?

Without your love,
without you, what would I be?

I would still be a child if not for you.

You taught me what to value,
and what it is to have spirit.

You awakened my heart
and made it bold and free.

It was you who made me bloom!

Scold me, dear master, but I was right.

If I could, I'd choose you as my husband.

The prize would go to you.

But now I am destined
for suffering unknown.

If I am to marry, I cannot choose.
I am not free!

You yourself, master...

were afraid.

Child, I know the sad story
of Tristan and Isolde.

Hans Sachs is too smart
to share King Marke's fate.

I had to find the one for you,
or I might have rushed in myself.

Ah, here's Lena!

David, are you coming?

The witnesses and the
godfather are present.

Let us perform the baptism.
Take your places!

A child was born here.

Now it must receive a name.

When a mastersong is created...

it must have a name by
which it shall be known.

Now hear why you were summoned here today.

A mastersong was composed
and sung by the knight Walther.

The father has asked me and Eva Pogner
to be the godparents.

We are at this baptism because
we have heard the song.

As witnesses we call on
Mistress Lena and my apprentice.

But an apprentice can't be a witness,
and he sang well...

so I make him a journeyman.

Remember that,
and you'll remember the baptism.

If anything is lacking,
it is because we must make haste.

To ensure the song's long
life, I name it now.

Let it be known as
the "Blissful Morning Dream" song...

in its master's honor.

May it now grow whole and unharmed.

The youngest witness will now be heard.

Blissfully, like the sunlight of my joy...

the glory of morning awakens for me.

O dream of rare grace!

To divine your meaning
is the sweetest of tasks.

A song, tender and sublime....

Am I awake or still dreaming?

A song will ease the
sweet burden of my heart.

Was it only a morning dream?

In my joy, I scarcely know.

Hear what the song revealed
in this silent room.

Youth is reborn only
through a poet's praise!

May the melody win the highest prize.

And now, to the meadow.

Come, Knight, be of good cheer.

Journeyman David, lock up well!

Saint Crispin be praised!

A holy man,
who showed what a cobbler can do!

The poor had it good,
for he made them warm shoes.

If no one would lend him the
leather, he'd steal it.

The cobbler makes shoes
in spite of everything.

Once the hide leaves the tanners...

it's stretch, stretch,
for the shoe must fit!

When Nuremberg lay under siege,
the city would have starved...

if not for a brave and clever tailor!

He sewed himself into a goat's hide...

and danced merrily atop the city wall.

The enemy said, "If goats dance
there, the devil can have it!"

Who would have guessed it?
A tailor in a goatskin!

Famine... what terrible hardship!

Without the baker's daily bread,
the world would surely perish!

Bake, bake, bake! Take our hunger away!

Village girls!

Town pipers, play a merry tune!

Dancing! What will the masters say?

I might as well join you!

David, Lena's watching!

I've had enough of your pranks!

The mastersingers!

Farewell, lovely ones!


Let not a sound be heard!

It's Master Sachs!

Let us begin!


It is nearly dawn.

I hear the nightingale in the grove.

Its song fills every valley.

Night falls in the west as
dawn rises in the east...

and pierces the clouds
with its crimson glow.

Hail, Nuremberg's beloved Sachs!

Your praise is easily given,
but difficult to accept.

You do this poor man too much honor.

If any honor be mine,
let it be through your love.

I already have the honor
of being chosen as today's speaker.

What I have to say speaks of honor as well.

As you value art so highly...

you must show that you
honor it above all else.

A wealthy and high-minded
master sets an example.

He offers his daughter
and all he possesses...

to the singer who
wins the prize in song.

The contest shall be open to every poet.

I say to all you masters
who would compete...

consider the prize to be won.

May the winner be worthy
in courtship and song.

No laurel was ever held so high
by such a lovely maiden.

May she never regret...

that Nuremberg honors
art and its masters!

Sachs, my friend, I thank you.

You know what weighs upon my heart.

It was bold... but now, courage!

Herr Marker, are you fit and well?

I studied and studied,
but I can't get this song right!

No one's forcing you to sing it.

I'm undone, and it's all your fault.

You can't desert me now!

-I thought you'd give up.
-If you don't sing, I can still win.

No one will grasp the meaning,
but your songs are always popular.

Now, if masters and people agree,
let the contest begin!

Unmarried masters get ready!
The eldest shall be first.

Herr Beckmesser, you will begin.

Curse it, it's wobbling! Do something!

How could she ever choose him?

He can barely stand up!


Let not a sound be heard!

Start the song!

Shining in morning...

with nose colored bright...

in blowing errant bowers...

and with great care...

I gardened unplanted blights...

and all the while I was...

fighting splinters, harsh and fine.

What is that?

Has he taken leave of his senses?

Did I hear right?

I don't understand.

Suddenly, I did see,
arching above the tragic place...

barely molten, peeling fruit....

I dared to chance...

with perfumed pants...

and who should not astound...

I stole a tree.

A fine courting song!

Is he mad?

He'll end up on the gallows!

Hear now of the thunder that bespelled me.

On my hide stood a woman with tiny booties.

She cried, depressed that I was bending...

pouting her way in trance and fester...

to a luscious brute
on the tree of strife!

Damnable cobbler, I can thank you for this!

The song isn't mine.
It's by your darling Sachs!

He forced the wretched thing on me!

We can't believe it!
Sachs wrote that song?

Explain yourself, Sachs!

Most unusual!

The song is not by me.
Herr Beckmesser is mistaken.

Perhaps he'll tell you where he got it.

I cannot take the credit
for something so lovely.

That nonsense?

Now Sachs is joking!

I tell you, the song is beautiful...

only it's clear that
our friend Beckmesser altered it a bit.

If another of us were to sing it,
it would please you.

It would be clear that
he was the song's poet...

and deserved to be called a master.

I've been accused,
and must choose my witness.

If anyone here knows I'm right,
let him come forward!

Bear witness that the song is not by me...

and that my praise of it is just.

Sachs, you're a clever man... but so be it!

The rules are good only
if they admit exceptions.

A good witness, proud and bold!

Masters and folk will lend
my witness a willing ear.

Walther von Stolzing, begin your song!

Judge him, masters.

Nobody speaks!

Not a sound can be heard.

Shining in morning's rose-colored light...

filled with the fragrance of flowers...

a garden of unimagined
delights bade me enter.

Beneath a wondrous tree, rich with fruit...

I beheld in a dream of love...

the fulfillment of my longing.

Eva, in Paradise!

How different it is when sung so well!

Good witness, continue!

Twilight caressed me in deepening dark.

A spring's enticing laughter drew me near.

Under a laurel tree,
aglow with starlight...

I saw in a poet's waking dream...

showering me with
drops from the spring...

the muse of Parnassus!

It is bold, but well made!

And now the closing lines!

O blessed day, when I awoke
from the poet's dream!

The Paradise I dreamed of...

lay before me, revealed by the spring.

There was born the one
my heart has chosen...

earth's most precious
image, destined to be my muse.

Boldly I courted her!

By light of day,
through the power of song...

I won Parnassus, and Paradise!

Singer, you've won the prize!

Sachs, you've brought good fortune
to this festive day.

No one but you could sing like that!

I think I chose my witness well.

Do you hold it against me?

No, Hans Sachs,
for you've put everything right!

Veit Pogner, you have the honor
of naming the new master.

Accept this image of King David,
and welcome to the masters' guild.

Master? No!

I shall be happy without that.

Do not scorn the masters...

but respect their art.

What does them honor
worked to your advantage.

It is not your family crest
or weapons you have to thank.

It is that you are a
poet, named by masters.

To that alone do you owe your good fortune.

Can the art that bestows
such a prize be without worth?

Our masters, after their fashion...

have always cherished art.

Though not so exalted as
when blessed by princes...

their art has remained German, and true.

See how highly art was always prized!

What more would you ask of the masters?

Beware, we are forever threatened by evil.

Should our land fall to those
who do not know their subjects...

should evil influences beset us...

it is the masters who will
preserve what is German, and true.

Honor the German masters well!

If you bless their efforts,
you will spread goodwill.

Even if the empire vanishes in the mist...

our sacred German art will survive!

Honor your German masters...

and you will be blessed!

Hail, Nuremberg's beloved Sachs!