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ROH Tannhäuser


Geoff
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Not to pre-empt reviewers but just to say I was at the dress rehearsal on Saturday and am now arranging to go back. This revival is in some ways stronger cast than the original; the conducting all in the right place; the chorus in fine voice; and the (modern clear unobtusive undistracting) production a relief after Lucia.

 

Of course there are people who don't go to Wagner. But if that isn't you, and you are wavering, try and go.

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I attended the dress rehearsal too, and I tend to agree.  I'm not much of a fan of the piece (though I like most other Wagner) and I enjoyed it much more than I ever have before (and it felt shorter).  I do have reservations about the production, however; clean and uncluttered it may be, but I find it very static (it was designed around Johan Botha and his inability to move much on stage - I think even if he lost half his body weight he still wouldn't be one of the profession's natural actors!)

 

Botha is, however, a spectacularly good singer, and I don't think Peter Seiffert is going to be vocally as memorable as Botha was - not that a firm judgement on that can be made on the basis of a dress rehearsal.  I hope I might get to go again later in the run.

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 I find it very static (it was designed around Johan Botha and his inability to move much on stage - I think even if he lost half his body weight he still wouldn't be one of the profession's natural actors!)

 

Hmm, didn't he sing Lohengrin a few years back?  Not my idea of an Arthurian knight!

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(and it felt shorter). 

 

It was. I thought the overture was taken noticeably fast, the first act ended 10 minutes earlier than announced on the cast sheet and the whole evening almost 20 minutes.

 

The production doesn't do a lot for me, but it's definitely worth going for the musical performances.

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Review from The Stage:  https://www.thestage.co.uk/reviews/2016/tannhauser-review-at-royal-opera-house/

 

 

Is it Jasmin Vardimon's company doing the danced section? 

 

She has done the choreography for the 25 mins (or so) dance fest in the realm of Venus. Many of the dancers seem to have Greek names. Does that sound like her company?

 

I found the dancing itself extremely tedious and not at all representative of a temple of love and sensuality. To me, it felt more like a poorly put together and scrappily performed piece better suited to a variety show on a cruise ship than to the ROH stage.

 

The worry is that opera fans yet to try ballet might think that this is the sort of thing and quality the Royal Ballet serves up.

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Here's another review: http://boulezian.blogspot.it/2016/04/tannhauser-royal-opera-26-april-2016.html

 

This is going to be my first live Wagner,so I think I'm going to stop reading reviews and try to go to it with an open mind. Although I do feel that the two great singers I've been listening to in the title role, Rene Kollo and Spas Wenkoff, are unlikely to be cast in the shade by Peter Seiffert. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went back for the second time today, enjoyed it even more. Particularly well conducted, although the piece shows up the weaknesses of the ROH band.

 

Silly comment (but as this is BalletCoForum, if I can't post this here where can I post it): couldn't help noticing that Venus wears a one strap evening gown, just like the one in Strapless!

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I saw this last Sunday, sadly not Neal Cooper as stand-in, which I would have liked to have caught, and, yes, I did enjoy it, unlike the Opera Britannia reviewer quoted in Geoff's review above, who thought virtually everybody was miscast (one of the few things I agreed with was his assessment of Lise Davidsen's performance at the Domingo Operalia a couple of years back). And I totally agree with Geoff about the wonderful Bychkov FROSCH a few years back.

 

Coming back to Tannhauser, I thought Peter Seiffert was fine but unmemorable, Emma Bell was superb, Christian Gerhaher gave the nuanced, dignified performance that we have come to expect, Sophie Koch looked very glamorous but was out-sung by Emma Bell and the dancing was risible. Oh, and we finished a good twenty minutes before the scheduled time so Haenchen kept up the pace.

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The Act 3 replacement was Neal Cooper (who is performing the role at Longborough Festival this summer).

 

And who was also the ROH's official cover for Peter Seiffert, though the fact that he happened to be in the auditorium watching the performance that day was coincidental.

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