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Wagner - Tannhauser / Mehta, Kollo, National Theatre of Munich

3.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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(Mar 06, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

David Alden's production of Wagner's grand romantic opera was recorded at the National Theatre in Munich, with Bayerische Staatsoper, in September 1994. Shot over three days by leading opera director Brian Large, this recording benefits from the ideal technical conditions made possible by a closed session. Alden, one of the most iconoclastic interpreters of classicalopera, stirs up the visionary, erotic, and archetypal elements in Wagner's work. The cold, forbidding aspect of the stylized and predominantly monochrome sets and costumes by Roni Toren and Buki Shiff manifests the strait-jacket of tradition from which Tannhauser seeks to free himself in this powerful opera. 186 minutes.

Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia: Jan Hendrik Rootering
Tannhauser: Rene Kollo
Wolfram von Eschenbach: Bernd Weikl
Walther von der Vogelweide: Claes H. Ahnsio
Biterolf: Hans Gunter Nocker
Heinrich der Schreiber: James Anderson
Reinmar von Zweter: Gerhard Auer
Elisabeth Niece of the Landgrave: Nadine Secunde
Venus: Waltraud Meier
Conductor: Zubin Mehta

Amazon.com

In Richard Wagner's obsessive drama, with its themes of sin and repentance, cultural inhibition and artistic spontaneity, sexual excess and lost innocence, symbols sprout as profusely as dandelions on summer lawns. A lot of the symbols were put there by the composer (who also wrote the libretto), but for this production director David Alden has decided to add many more--notably in the first scene: an orgy in the love nest of the goddess Venus. The sadomasochistic visuals, reminiscent of the feverish inventions of Hieronymus Bosch, may help to explain Tannhäuser's decision that he wants to go home. Like the scenery, the costumes are eclectic, ranging from modern, formal evening gowns to medieval suits of armor and even, in a few choice instances, nothing at all.

The director may be trying to say too many things at once. The profusion of visual symbols shows a rich imagination, but a more clearly defined focus would have been helpful. That kind of focus is found in the acting, partly because Alden is a good director but also because he is working with seasoned performers. René Kollo as Tannhäuser and Bernd Weikl as Wolfram von Eschenbach have made specialties of these roles, and even when the story strains credibility or when the music strains their voices, they give convincing portrayals, as do Waltraud Meier and Nadine Secunde and the supporting cast. Zubin Mehta's conducting is opulent if not subtle. This is an intriguing though sometimes disturbing production. But on the whole, those who want a straightforward, well-sung, visually superb, and problem-free Tannhäuser would prefer the DVD edition of the superb Metropolitan Opera production. --Joe McLellan


Special features

None.

Product details

  • Actors: René Kollo, Waltraud Meier, Bernd Weikl, Claes H. Ahnsjö, Nadine Secunde
  • Directors: Brian Large
  • Writers: Richard Wagner
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, Full Screen
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), German (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 193 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000055XST
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,670 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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