Wagner: Tannhäuser - Thomas, Hillebrecht, Dvorakova, Brendel, Mazura; Klobucar. München, 1976
Listen to a Sample:
This performance of Tannhäuser sports an impressive. if somewhat inconsistent cast. In the title role, Jess Thomas sounds a little shopworn although there are the occasional traces of the lyricism that made him such an effective Parsifal in the 60s. Hildegard Hillebrecht brings bright-eyed innocence to the role of Elisabeth while mustering enough dramatic heft to make for an exciting outburst amidst the quarreling contestants in Act II. The standout for me is the lush Venus of Ludmila Dvorakova whose voice seems equally comfortable in any extreme of her vocal range. A young Wolfgang Brendel delivers the finest singing of the evening in his Act III aria. It is odd that Franz Mazura would assume a bass role given that he would still be singing baritone parts for many years to come. If he lacks the profundo quality of a real bass, he brings a fatherly warmth to the role of Landgraf. The sound is good.