[Met Performance] CID:186940
Tannhäuser {384} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/25/1961.

(Debut: Eberhard Wächter
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 25, 1961


TANNHÄUSER {384}

Tannhäuser..............Hans Hopf
Elisabeth...............Birgit Nilsson
Wolfram.................Eberhard Wächter [Debut]
Venus...................Margaret Harshaw
Hermann.................William Wilderman
Walther.................Robert Nagy
Heinrich................Paul Franke
Biterolf................Clifford Harvuot
Reinmar.................Norman Scott
Shepherd................Teresa Stratas
Page....................Nancy Reep
Page....................Ada Brysac
Page....................Ethel Greene
Page....................Pamela Munson
Dance...................Pina Bausch
Dance...................Audrey Keane
Dance...................Carole Kroon

Conductor...............Ignace Strasfogel

Review of Robert Sabin in the March 1961 issue of Musical America

This performance was memorable not only for the debut of Mr. Wächter but for the first Metropolitan Elisabeth of Miss Nilsson, who was appearing for the first time this season. Miss Harshaw was also heard for the first time in the role of Venus and Mr. Strasfogel conducted the opera for the first time at the Metropolitan, taking over from Georg Solti.

Having heard Mr. Wächter at Bayreuth as Amfortas in "Parsifal," as Kothner in "Die Meistersinger," and as the Heerrufer in "Lohengrin" (in all of which roles he was superb) I knew that he would be a distinguished Wolfram. And so he proved to be. His handsome appearance, his impeccable diction, his eloquent and finished singing made a profound impression. He is not one of the operatic Bulls of Bashan. His voice does not make the rafters tremble or the standees scream with excitement. But it is ample for all artistic needs and he uses it with the utmost intelligence and expressiveness. Would that we had more of his kind!

Miss Nilsson has never sung more beautifully. Happy is the opera house that can boast three such Elisabeths as Leonie Rysanek, Victoria de los Angeles and Birgit Nilsson! Not only in the grander phrases but in the subtler and more lyrical passages Miss Nilsson's voice had a roundness, a silvery glow and a marvelous smoothness reminiscent of the golden era of Flagstad. Dramatically, too, she revealed a thorough understanding of the character. Her mounting pain and horror in the scene in the Wartburg showed how carefully she had studied Wagner's text.

Miss Harshaw was hopelessly miscast as Venus. She got over the notes satisfactorily enough, but there was not a trace of the impassioned goddess and voluptuary of Wagner's imagination.
Mr. Wildermann, on the other hand, was a convincing Landgrave, dignified of bearing and eloquent of voice. Mr. Strasfogel naturally did not attempt to impose his own profile upon the score but managed to keep much of the mobility and immediacy of Mr. Solti's conception.<



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