Friday, April 29, 2011

In Review: "Tannhäuser" at the Dresden Semperoper

(Photo: Matthias Creutziger)
"Impressively, all the singers in this production, with the exception of the renowned Wagnerian tenor Stephen Gould in the title role, were the Ensemble members of the Semperoper. It may lack the starry cast of Vienna or Covent Garden, but the German system of maintaining a group of principal singers who sing a variety of roles throughout the season helps create a natural rapport between the singers which is essential in Wagner. Of the cast, the American soprano Marjorie Owens singing the role of Elisabeth stood out for the richness of her timbre, the ease in projection as well as the sincerity of her expression. On the other hand, Tichina Vaughn’s portrayal of Venus, with her wide vibrato, seemed a bit of a caricature although she brought out more personality in Act III. Stephen Gould is a highly experienced and dependable Tannhäuser with amazing vocal stamina, and he sang with plenty of ardour and passion. Wolfram von Eschenbach was sung by Christoph Pohl and if his 'Abendstern' aria did not have quite the charisma of Christian Gerhaher at Covent Garden last December, he played the crucial role in the last scene with genuine emotion. The Landgraf was sung authoritatively by Michael Eder. Lastly but not least, the Dresden Staatskappelle orchestra conducted by the venerable Peter Schneider was at the heart of the whole production....a prominent Wagner interpreter and a regular at Bayreuth, paced the music perfectly, and his balance of the voice and orchestra was exemplary." [Source]

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