Zubin Mehta
Chor und Orchester der Bayerischen Staatsoper
September 1994
Nationaltheater München
Recording Type
  live   studio
  live compilation   live and studio
Hermann Jan-Hendrik Rootering
Tannhäuser René Kollo
Wolfram von Eschenbach Bernd Weikl
Walther von der Vogelweide Claes H. Ansjö
Biterolf Hans Günter Nöcker
Heinrich der Schreiber James Anderson
Reinmar von Zweter Gerhard Auer
Elisabeth Nadine Secunde
Venus Waltraud Meier
Ein junger Hirt Tölzer Sängerknabe
Stage director David Alden
Set designer Roni Toren
TV director Brian Large
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


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.


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.


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.

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