We take a look at what is being said about Tim Albery’s production of Wagner’s opera, playing at the venue until the 16th February.

Photograph: Tristram Kenton

The Guardian: *** “As Elisabeth, Lise Davidsen gave us a gleaming Dich, Teure Halle and proved sensationally good later on when she took on the Landgrave’s men in order to save Tannhäuser’s life and soul. Gerald Finley, meanwhile, made a truly great Wolfram, incomparably sung, and acted with breathtaking subtlety. Gubanova sounded glamorously sensual, though Venus ideally needs a fractionally warmer lower register than she possesses. Mika Kares was the dark-voiced Landgrave, while among the smaller roles Egor Zhuravskii’s imperious, lyrical Walther particularly stood out. The Royal Opera chorus were superb here, too, singing with wonderful fervour and beautiful control.”

Evening Standard: *** “With the ROH Chorus in lusty voice, it’s a moving ending but it barely makes up for the unforgivably torpid stage action of the first two acts. At the end of his life Wagner famously opined that he owed the world another Tannhäuser. The same could be said of Covent Garden.”

The Telegraph: **** “The soprano sung with utter conviction, but Tim Albery’s production is past its best.”

iNews: *** “Fine performances also came from Ekaterina Gubanova as Venus, Mika Kares as the Landgrave and the Jette Parker Young Artist Sarah Dufresne as the Shepherd. Conductor Sebastian Weigle brought the score clarity and eloquence, despite some jagged moments. And the final image – a child planting a tree, reviving hope after the tragedy – was truly heartening. The evening was a mixed bag overall, but given its finest singing, much is forgiven.”

The Stage: **** “Strong casting triumphs over illness in this revival of Tim Albery’s Wagner production starring Stefan Vinke, who now acts the role while Norbert Ernst sings from the side of the stage.”

London Unattached: “There were plenty of wonderful moments though, from the immaculate performance in the pit and the various off-stage locations by the orchestra to the charismatic singing of Gerald Finley and the sublime vocals from Lise Davidsen.  Four and a half hours of opera seemed to magically pass in minutes and I’ll be looking for a ticket in the gods later in the season, with the hope of seeing Stefan Vinke singing the title role.”

Slipped Disc.com: “This was a great sadness, because this is a very good new production of Tannhäuser. It is directed by Tim Albery, designed minimally but tastefully by Michael Levine, with great choreography by Jasmin Vardimon and great dancing in the Venusberg scene. The orchestra were superb under Sebastian Weigle, and the chorus, including the children’s chorus, fabulous under chorus director William Spaulding.”

The Independent: **** “Tim Albery’s revival of Wagner’s eccentric masterpiece worked a treat despite Stefan Vinke cancelling his performance in the title role due to illness.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Sebastian Weigle conducting the orchestra and chorus of the Royal Opera has a secret weapon in chorus director William Spaulding, who will have micro-engineered that amazing male voice pianissimo. If there were times when the playing seemed a little detached from the drama, there were treats aplenty: wonderful woodwind playing and harps, visible in a side box, underpinning the song contest at this upmarket eisteddfod.”

To book tickets visit: https://www.roh.org.uk/tickets-and-events/tannhauser-by-tim-albery-details


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