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Tannhäuser is definitely worth watching in choreographer Sasha Waltz’s production from Berlin. She doesn’t force the work into a Konzept, but allows it to unfold quite simply within her own pared-down aesthetic, balancing movement and stasis to great effect. The opening orgy is erotic but controlled, the scenery simple, the lighting (David Finn) is gorgeous, and the update to the 1950s is less jarring than it sounds – Waltz ensures that the drama remains at the forefront rather than the styling. Daniel Barenboim provides spacious and lucid conducting though the chorus is sometimes tonally jagged. Peter Seiffert is a solid protagonist, another tenor who curiously seems to improve as the line gets higher, though there is quite a bleat at the very top. Ann Petersen is affecting as Elisabeth, her soprano attractive if not highly individual. Marina Prudenskaya is a fabulous Venus, with her sinuous and spicy mezzo. Peter Mattei strikes gold as Wolfram: I thought Christian Gerhaher owned this role, but Mattei is equally superb, oozing class.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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