Wagner: Tannhäuser - Thomas, Silja, Lindholm, Prey, Frank, Nienstedt; Klobucar. Bayreuth, 1967

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Wagner's cruelest role of any from any of his operas would have to be Tannhaüser.   The part is so difficult to sing and it offers very few opportunities for a tenor to shine.  In this performances from Bayreuth Jess Thomas takes on the titles part and nearly does the impossible- distinguish himself in it.  In 1967 his voice was still youthful and had a nice heroic ping.  Likewise Anja Silja had no problem conveying the youthful exuberance of Elisabeth as she was still in her twenties.  Remarkably her voice has no trouble cutting through the ensembles.  Hermann Prey makes one wish that Wagner wrote more music for the lyric baritone.  He brings an elegance that one almost never hears in Wagner.  Berit Lindholm is fine as Venus but perhaps her voice is a little monochromatic for my taste.  The sound is very good although in Act III there is occasional distortion.

OD 10337-3

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