Rudolf Kempe
New York Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra
29 January 1955
Metropolitan Opera House New York
Recording Type
  live   studio
  live compilation   live and studio
Hermann Jerome Hines
Tannhäuser Ramón Vinay
Wolfram von Eschenbach George London
Walther von der Vogelweide Giulio Gari
Biterolf Clifford Harvuot
Heinrich der Schreiber Paul Franke
Reinmar von Zweter Norman Scott
Elisabeth Astrid Varnay
Venus Blanche Thebom
Ein junger Hirt Heidi Krall
Musical America

The Saturday afternoon broadcast of Wagner’s opera was its second performance of the season, with recasting in the two leading feminine roles. Astrid Varnay, the Venus of the first performance, sang Elisabeth, and Blanche Thebom sang Venus. Miss Varnay has sounded better on other occasions, but there was no flaw in her interpretation. Her “Dich, theure Halle” was ecstatically joyful, her defense of Tannhäuser dramatically passionate, her final prayer inwardly dedicated and serene. In the face of such a heartfelt, communicative and understanding singing, the quality of Miss Varnay’s voice became an academic matter. Miss Thebom’s Venus was properly seductive in manner, but somewhat strained vocally except in softer passages, where she achieved lovely tones. Rudolf Kempe’s conducting was assured and musicianly, keeping the opera moving along in a manner that understated its effects – refreshingly so. Ramon Vinay (Tannhäuser), George London (Wolfram), and Jerome Hines (the Landgrave) headed the male contingent of the cast.

User Rating
Media Type/Label
Adonis, Walhall Eternity, Andromeda, OOA, TOL
Technical Specifications
304 kbit/s VBR, 44.1 kHz, 395 MByte (flac)
Matinee broadcast
A production by Herbert Graf (1953)