Lorin Maazel
Chor und Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper
16 October 1982
Staatsoper Wien
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
HermannTheo Adam
TannhäuserSpas Wenkoff
Wolfram von EschenbachBernd Weikl
Walther von der VogelweideThomas Moser
BiterolfPeter Wimberger
Heinrich der SchreiberKurt Equiluz
Reinmar von ZweterFriedemann Hanke
ElisabethAnna Tomowa-Sintow
VenusDunja Vejzović
Ein junger HirtGabriele Sima

Tannhauser duly arrived on October 16 and was struck with disaster right at the start. Hardly was the curtain raised than Reiner Goldberg, making his Vienna debut in the title-role, got into vocal difficulties and was unable to continue hymning Venus. Apparently the second-cast tenor was not available, but Spas Wenkoff, who had been forewarned according to rumour, was ready to take over within 15 minutes and so saved the performance.

New productions in Vienna

The production was in essence a repeat of the New York version by Otto Schenk and Gunther Schneider-Siemssen. Venus’s Art Nouveau grotto was reminiscent of Alfons Mucha, and the transition to the woodland clearing was effectively managed. The Hall of Song was a repellent throwback to 19th-century mock medievalism, and in this act Schenk’s direction was particularly impotent; elsewhere it was merely pedestrian. Erich Walter’s choreography of the Bacchanal was totally unerotic, the only excitement coming from Maazel’s taut conducting.

Obviously a stand-in who has not even seen a rehearsal deserves every sympathy, but I could not warm to Wenkoff s poor intonation and shambling movements which left no nobility in the figure. Of his two lovers he was right to prefer Elisabeth, for though Anna Tomowa-Sintow’s presentation was only worthy, it was also accurate, whereas Dunja Vejzovic’s Venus was squally and unseductive. Theo Adam has the presence for the Landgrave but not the vocal depth, and Bernd Weikl was a pale, unlyrical Wolfram. The best singing came from the chorus and Gabriele Sima as the Shepherd. Maazel stressed the Italian over the German aspects of the score, but generally opted for fast and unyielding tempi.

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Media Type/Label
Technical Specifications
192 kbit/s CBR, 44.1 kHz, 263 MByte (MP3)
A production by Otto Schenk (premiere)