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The Ex Factor

Bryn Terfel amid the chaos of the Royal Opera's Die Meistersinger. Photograph: Clive Barda

Richard Wagner
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
Royal Opera House

Gioacchino Rossini
Il Viaggio à Reims
Danish Royal Opera

Reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, March 17 Hans Sachs’s proposal, in the first act of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, that, once a year at least, the people decide the outcome of singing competitions, has a lot to answer for – not least, Melodifestivalen, the Swedish schlager contest whose final winner gets to represent the country at Eurovision. This year’s winner is controversial, not because it employed an English swear-word, but because the popular vote was subordinated to an international jury of schlagermeisters, who hauled the winner from third in the popular rankings to the top spot. Happily, I missed all this in order to attend another stitched-up singing competition in the form of the Royal Opera’s new production of Wagner’s opera. For Sachs, once he’s cal…

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