I don't know how to rate this performance of Tannhauser from Munich, filmed in 1994. The extreme ugliness and banality of the sets and costumes, compared to the generally fine quality of the singing and playing left me feeling somewhat depressed. Clearly I am far removed from the aesthetic of David Alden, the production designer, who seems to be mounting a production targeted at people who don't know what opera is, and don't care to find out. One example of the gap between word and image: Venus sings an aria which goes like this: "Come, beloved, see yonder grotto, filled with rosy fragrance gently wafting! That abode of sweetest delight would offer enchantment even to a god." Now we see what looks like a garbage dump.
Rene Kollo, 57 at the time of recording, sings very expressively even if his voice has worn a bit thin. He struggles a bit in the first act. Waltraud Meier as Venus is sensational, no other word for it. Her sensuality and wonderful vocalism made me forget for a time the wretched surroundings.
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