Tannhäuser

Zubin Mehta
Chor und Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper
Date/Location
September 1994
Nationaltheater München
Recording Type
  live  studio
  live compilation  live and studio
Cast
HermannJan-Hendrik Rootering
TannhäuserRené Kollo
Wolfram von EschenbachBernd Weikl
Walther von der VogelweideClaes H. Ansjö
BiterolfHans Günter Nöcker
Heinrich der SchreiberJames Anderson
Reinmar von ZweterGerhard Auer
ElisabethNadine Secunde
VenusWaltraud Meier
Ein junger HirtTölzer Sängerknabe
Stage directorDavid Alden
Set designerRoni Toren
TV directorBrian Large
Gallery
Mostly Opera

David Alden has created a Tannhäuser most reminiscent of a painting of Salvador Dalí – a vast desolate landshape populated with strewn pillars and all types imaginary as well as real shapes and creatures. The costumes are eclectic, ranging from modern, formal evening gowns to medieval suits of armor and even nothing at all. Tannhäuser is a traveller in this eerie world.

At least half of David Alden´s many symbols I do not understand. How about the GERMANIA NOSTRA on the wall in the second act? The Freudian doors opened by Venus inviting Tannhäuser to the table of excess in the Venusberg seem easier. René Kollo is way past his prime here, almost intolerably wobbly and looking far too old for the part. Nadine Secunde has a large voice, though curiously stretched and does in fact not make a very good Elisabeth. On the contrary Waltraud Meier is a superb Venus, by far the best of this cast (and on DVD). All accompanied by a sufficiently energetic performance from Zubin Mehta with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra.

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

René Kollo: 2
Waltraud Meier: 5
Nadine Secunde: 3
Bernd Weikl: 4
Jan-Hendrik Rootering: 3

David Alden´s production: 4
Zubin Mehta: 4

Overall impression: 4

Michael Richter

PRODUCTION

Live performance before an audience apparently stunned to silence. Sets are starkly symbolic; costumes are weirdly inconsistent. While the meaning of individual symbols is beyond the first-time viewer, the effect of the totality is undeniable. David Alden accomplished an Angst-ridden production that resembles no other.

PERFORMANCES

Mehta leads an unbalanced reading, rather more clangorous than sonorous in keeping with Alden’s approach to staging. The orchestra is strident and the chorus is far short of the timbre and precision one expects. Kollo’s Tannhäuser is aged and tortured in voice and presentation. Secunde is mature and pressed, seldom ecstatic and then only for a moment at a time. Weikl’s tortured Wolfram bears little resemblance to his portrayals at Bayreuth and the Met. Only Waltraud Meier supplies beauty of tone and of appearance. Other rôles are handled competently at best.

TECHNICAL COMMENTS

Video is crisp and well lighted. Sound is clear but with little stereo effect and no imaging of value. Cameras move freely and direction is effective in conveying the production. Overall, this staging should be seen by someone familiar with the work for ideas it may offer and for a unique view of the characters and their relationships. It would be inappopriate as an introduction to the opera.

Rating
(5/10)
User Rating
(3/5)
Media Type/Label
Arthaus Musik
Arthaus Musik
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Technical Specifications
720×576, 1.5 Mbit/s, 2.0 GByte (MPEG-4)
PCM Stereo (DVD, BD)
Remarks