[Met Performance] CID:205800
Tannhäuser {387} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/19/1966.

(Debut: Pekka Nuotio
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 19, 1966


TANNHÄUSER {387}
Wagner-Wagner

Tannhäuser..............Pekka Nuotio [Debut]
Elisabeth...............Birgit Nilsson
Wolfram.................Thomas Stewart
Venus...................Birgit Nilsson
Hermann.................John Macurdy
Walther.................Arturo Sergi
Heinrich................Paul Franke
Biterolf................Robert Goodloe
Reinmar.................Norman Scott
Shepherd................Mary Ellen Pracht
Page....................Mary Fercana
Page....................Ruth Lansché
Page....................Ella Eure
Page....................Pamela Munson

Conductor...............Joseph Rosenstock

Production..............Nathaniel Merrill
Designer................Rolf Gérard
Choreographer...........Joseph Lazzini

Tannhäuser received six performances this season.

[The Dresden version was performed.]


Review by Harriett Johnson in the New York Post:

Nilsson Wins Wagner's Contest

Birgit Nilsson as Elisabeth in "Tannhaeuser" didn't compete in the Act II song contest but she won it Saturday night When the opera was given for the first time since 1961 at the Metropolitan Opera. Performing both the siren, Venus, and the saintly daughter of the Landgrave, the first singer in Met history to do both roles in the same performance, Miss Nilsson, triumphed over all. Though nobody would take her for a ballerina, she has a disciplined body that curves in the right places and, with the sinuous costume she wore, she looked lusciously tempting. And when she sang, nobody but a deaf stone could have resisted her.

As Elisabeth she sang gloriously. Her "Dich teure Halle" will probably become more exuberant with repetition here, but the way she sang the "Prayer," it came from Heaven, no intercession necessary. Miss Nilsson has no close contender for the title "Queen of Song" at the Metropolitan. The phrase may be a cliche but it tells the story. For scintillating sound, masterful vocal technique and versatility, she is unrivalled.

Despite some admirable singing from her colleagues, without Miss Nilsson the evening would have been tedious. Being early Wagner, "Tannhaeuser" has not the fire, expressiveness or musical grandeur of the later works. To make its length retain enough excitement, the work needs a hand that blends elasticity with firmness more authoritatively than conductor Joseph Rosenstock demonstrated. It may be blasphemy, but if Rosenstock had been more inspired by Venus and less by Elisabeth, the evening would have brightened.



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