Notes & Reviews:
This 1961, Wieland Wagner directed Bayreuth Tannha¨user, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, stars Victoria de los Angeles as Elisabeth and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (at his last Bayreuth Festival) in the role of Wolfram. This discovery in the radio archives of a Tannha¨user from the first of the subsequent performances to a less-than-optimal initial performance is a real find, and is here released on CD in the series of historical recordings of the Bayreuth Festival. By a stroke of luck, all the protagonists were on form on this early August evening, as can now be heard for the first time.
International Record Review, December 2014
Bumbry's nber-sensuous Venus [is] a feline Carmen transported to the Horselborg...This performance is all the more treasurable because it is the first of de Los Angeles's three Wagner roles... to be made available in an 'authorised' recording ...There are few recorded Wolframs to match this [Fischer-Dieskau's] performance...avid collectors will want it.
MusicWeb International, 7th October 2014
The sultry, sensuous side of her voice has always been one of Bumbry's strongest assets, and that makes her a great shout for the goddess of love...Windgassen himself is on very fine form here...Fischer-Dieskau sounds great here, bringing all of his famous smoothness and characteristic importance of the words.
Sunday Times, 14th September 2014
[De los Angeles's contributions] are the main interest here: she is heart-stopping in her pleas for the Thuringian court to forgive the errant antihero in Act II. It's a rare example of this beloved singer in a complete Wagner role...Sawallisch presides over an orchestra and chorus in peak form. The mono sound can't compare with Philips's stereo, but is worth enduring for the angelic Elisabeth.
The Guardian, 9th October 2014
Sawallisch admirably negotiates the work's at times deliberately blurred dividing line between spiritual and sexual experience, though he's not as extreme as some interpreters - ironic given that the Wieland Wagner production from which this was taken was deemed pornographic at the time. The mono sound is warm and crystal clear.
American Record Guide, March/April 2015
TannhSuser was a speciality of Wolfgang Sawallisch. His interpretation is available in at least four recordings. All three have Wolfgang Windgassen in the title role, Grace Bumbry as Venus, and Josef Greindl as the Landgraf. Sawallisch is consistently exciting, pushing the music to thrilling climaxes alternating with serene beauty. The Bayreuth orchestra is excellent. The great interest here is De los Angeles. She sings with opulent beauty and delicacy, far superior to Silja. WSchter and Fischer-Dieskau are very much a tie. In general I prefer the Decca Bayreuth recording. Windgassen is thrilling.
Recording information: Bayreuth Festspielhaus (08/03/1961).
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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Richard Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg
Liszt: Complete Piano Music, Vol. 36 - Transcriptions of music from Wagner's operas / William Wolfram, piano
Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg / Josef Greindl, Theo Adam, Wolfgang Windgassen, Elisabeth Grummer, Ludwig Weber. Hans Knappertsbusch (Bayreuth, 1960)
Works DetailsWagner, Richard : Tannhäuser
- Conductor: Wolfgang Sawallisch
- Running Time: 123 min. 53 sec.
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1843-1865
- Studio/Live: Live