Recommendation: Tannhauser: Barenboim, Pape, Seiffert, Petersen, Prudenskaya, Waltz

Written By The Wagnerian on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 | 5:44:00 pm

I find it difficult to enjoy productions of Tannhauser on DVD, or indeed on the stage. Not because of the score, obviously, or performers, orchestra or conductors. No, the problem is directing what I consider to be one of Wagner's most difficult works to stage. It shouldn't be of course. There is "plenty going on". Yet, I find so many directors struggle to make a production visual engaging - at least to me. Despite its critics - and there are a few - I rather like Sasha Waltz's production at the Staatskapelle Berlin. Yes, perhaps a dancer and choreographer was an unusual choice, even one as esteemed as Waltz, as director for an opera - especially one of Wagner's works. Although, given the famous opening ballet perhaps less so. But it is not just in the Venusberg that her production shines. Wagner's music has a fluidity (those endless melodies- remember?) often found in the best dance or ballet music. Waltz taps (forgive the unitended pun) into this for the entirety of the production in a way I think no one else has. This is something, I feel missed by so many negative reviews. Although, this seems less so in the case of Mark Berry, who has a better understanding of Wagner than most, in his review for Seen And Heard International. (Well worth reading and to be found by clicking here as a counter to my praise)

Of course, you could also do much worse than this conductor, cast, orchestra, chorus and dancers. I know, that in the main, I enjoyed this enough to listen more than once - doing so again as I write this.  And Barenboim is one of the greatest interpreters of Wagner living today.

Have a look below and if it seems to be something you might enjoy please do go out and buy it.

Highly recommended.

TW


Cast:
Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia – René Pape
Tannhäuser – Peter Seiffert
Wolfram von Eschenbach – Peter Mattei
Walther von der Wogelweide – Peter Soon
Biterolf – Tobias Schabel
Heinrich der Schreiber – Jürgen Sacher
Reinmar von Zweter – Jan Martiník
Elisabeth – Ann Petersen
Venus – Marina Prudenskaya
Young Shepherd – Sónia Grané
Four Pages – Julia Mencke, Konstanze Löwe, Hannah Wighardt, Anna Charin



Production
Sasha Waltz (director, choreography, designs)
Pia-Maier-Schreier (designs)
Bernd Skodzig (costumes)
David Finn (lighting)
Jens Schroth, Jochen Sandig (dramaturgy)