Wagner: Tannhäuser - Beirer, Brouwenstijn, Ludwig, Wächter, Frick, Kmentt, Janowitz; Karajan. Wien, 1962
Listen to a Sample:
In typical form, Herbert von Karajan manages to assemble an all-star cast for this unabashedly romantic take on Wagner’s Tannhäuser. Gré Brouwenstijn is resplendent as Elisabeth, vividly morphing from wide-eyed girl to stoic martyr over the course of the evening. Christa Ludwig’s lush mezzo is on hand in the role of Venus and makes much of the additional music used in the Paris version of this score. Eberhard Wächter displays pristine lyricism as Wolfram and Gottlob Frick is an excellent Landgraf. Unfortunately, this great line-up only highlights the shortcomings of Hans Beirer who sings the title role. Although his achievement in this daunting part is remarkable, he doesn’t bring the same musicality as his colleagues. One gets the sense almost that Karajan and his orchestra are wasted on him. The rest of the cast includes Waldemar Kmentt as Walther and Gundula Janowitz as the Shepherd. The sound is quite good.