Tannhäuser. Bavarian State Opera, Munich 1995. Production: David Alden. Cast: René Kollo (Tannhäuser), Nadine Secunde (Elisabeth), Waltraud Meier (Venus), Bernd Weikl (Wolfram), Jan-Hendrik Rootering (Hermann). Conductor: Zubin Mehta. Further information here.David Alden has created a Tannhäuser most reminiscent of a painting of Salvador Dalí - a vast desolate landshape populated with strewn pillars and all types imaginary as well as real shapes and creatures. The costumes are eclectic, ranging from modern, formal evening gowns to medieval suits of armor and even nothing at all. Tannhäuser is a traveller in this eerie world, best described by watching a clip from the production: At least half of David Alden´s many symbols I do not understand. How about the GERMANIA NOSTRA on the wall in the second act? The Freudian doors opened by Venus inviting Tannhäuser to the table of excess in the Venusberg seem easier.
René Kollo is way past his prime here, almost intolerably wobbly and looking far too old for the part. Nadine Secunde has a large voice, though curiously stretched and does in fact not make a very good Elisabeth. On the contrary Waltraud Meier is a superb Venus, by far the best of this cast (and on DVD).
All accompanied by a sufficiently energetic performance from Zubin Mehta with the Bavarian State Opera Orchestra.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):
René Kollo: 2
Waltraud Meier: 5
Nadine Secunde: 3
Bernd Weikl: 4
Jan-Hendrik Rootering: 3
David Alden´s production: 4
Zubin Mehta: 4
Overall impression: 4