Wagner: Tannhäuser - Beresford, Jones, Jones, Weikl, Sotin; Leinsdorf. Bayreuth, 1972

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It was a surprise that it took Bayreuth so long to toy with the idea of casting both Elisabeth and Venus with the same soprano.  It is also possible that they were waiting for a singer with the versatility to excel at both.  Enter Gwyneth Jones.  Jones delivers one of the most sultry Venuses I have ever heard.  Her Elisabeth is on the more dramatic side which works great for her big outburst in Act II.  Still she manages to avoid compromising the youth of the character.  It would be easy for Hugh Beresford, in the title role, to be overshadowed by such an extraordinary artist taking on double-duty, but he hold his own quite well.  The voice has a nice burnished quality and copes well with the tessitura.   Bernd Weikl and Hans Sotin are luxuries as Wolfram and Landgraf and the orchestra is lead by veteran Wagnerian, Erich Leinsdorf.  The sound is good although there are occasional clicks in Act III.  In addition, I can't be certain if the overture is from this performance as they use the Paris Version while then reverting to the Dresden version when the opera begins.

OD 10798-3

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