Notes & Reviews:
Recorded live at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, this 1961 3CD Tannhäuser, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, stars the then 24-year old, African-American mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, then at the start of her 50-year career and just coming off spectacular success in Paris as Amneris in Aida, leading to this engagement. The casting is superb: Griendl, Windgassen, Fischer-Dieskau, de los Angeles, Stolze, Crass, Adam. 24-bit re-mastered from an excellent master - stage noise unfiltered, the sound quality of the recording is all one could hope for in a performance of this brilliance.
American Record Guide, July/August 2015
Wolfgang Wieland's 1961 TannhSuser was a sensation. Grace Bumbry was the first black singer to take on a major role at Bayreuth. She was sensational in the part, and when she repeated it the next season the uproar had died down. Philips recorded the 1962 performances, but the 1961 had the advantage of De los Angeles's Elisabeth, so beautifully sung it almost makes 'AllmSch'te Jungfrau'. She's more than just the retiring, saintly virgin: she has plenty of strength for "Ich preise dieses Wunder" and her defense of TannhSuser ("Znrnck von ihm"). Fischer-Dieskau is a dependable Wolfram (he recorded the part twice in the studio), and his odd combination of prissiness and warmth seems to work. Greindl does no damage as the Landgraf. Windgassen takes quite some time to warm up. The role taxes his flexibility and his upper range. He's better in Act 2, and the Rome Narrative in Act 3 is deeply absorbing.
Recording information: Festspielhaus, Bayreuth (1961).
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Works DetailsWagner, Richard : Tannhäuser
- Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
- Running Time: 109 min. 27 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1843-1865