Wednesday, 8 February 2012
Baden-Baden Lehnhoff Tannhäuser with Waltraud Meier, Stephen Milling, Philippe Jordan
Baden-Baden, a bit further south-east from Bayreuth was one of the locations, Richard Wagner initially considered for his Festival House, and the Wagner performances here has recently tended to outshine those of the proper Bayreuth Festival. The year of 2008 was no exception, at least regarding the ability to attract top singers.
Audiences here have gotten used to Nikolaus Lehnhoff, having already staged Lohengrin and Parsifal here in previous years. And in comparison, he seems to have run out of ideas for this Tannhäuser.
A spiral staircase appears throughout the semi-abstract sets where the period-styled actors appears. Aesthetic as always with Lehnhoff, but is there a deeper meaning. Knowing Lehnhoffs work, the answer most probably is yes, however I didn´t manage to find out what it was.
While Robert Gambill looks reasonable, they days where he could actually sing Tannhäuser are long gone.
Camilla Nylund´s Elisabeth verges on the too mature and though she looks the part I wonder if she really moved the audience. Though Venus, with the sumptuous singing really is not among the best parts for Waltraud Meier from a vocal part of view, no-one looks and acts the part better as she does, thus it is no surprise that this is the second Tannhäuser DVD with her participation.
Stephen Milling in a Landgraf his prime and however golden Roman Trekel is dressed up cannot hide the fact that his voice does not have the innigkeit and beauty of a really good Wolfran.
Philippe Jordan was swift and effective, though perhaps not transporting.
Apart from Rokoko-Meier, a relatively static affair. Admittedly, Tannhäuser is not an easy work to pull off and the ideal DVD is not yet on the market.
However, for those inclined to watch traditional productions, the Metropolitan Opera Tannhäuser is probably the best of Otto Schenk´s Wagner stagings.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
Robert Gambill: 2
Waltraud Meier: 4-5
Camilla Nylund: 3-4
Roman Trekel: 2
Stephen Milling: 5
Lehnhoffs staging: 3
Philippe Jordan: 4
Overall impression: 4