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Subject: Re: Future Met seasons (was Roberto Devereux)
From: Alan Goldhammer <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Goldhammer <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sun, 4 May 2014 10:23:28 -0400
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I think one of the issues here is that Tannhauser for whatever reason has
fallen out favor in many opera houses.  I don't know if it has ever been
done by the Washington Opera whereas I've seen the company do Dutchman,
Parsifal, and the first three Ring cycle operas.  I've not done a search of
the Met database but it seems to me that it's not been done all that
frequently recently (a search on Operabase only shows a scheduled
performance in Chicago with Botha as the lead).  Maybe the best chance to
see it live these days is at Bayreuth.  This may in part address the points
that Ulrik made.

The length of a role is somewhat less important than the tessitura.  High
lying parts can be more tiresome to a tenor particularly if a lot of the
notes are in the passagio region.  Jim's point on Windgassen and Melchior is
not arguable but it's worth noting that the two had wildly different voices.
Melchior started off as a baritone and moved up while Windgassen was always
a lyric tenor.

Alan


-----Original Message-----
From: Discussion of opera and related issues
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of James Bodge
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2014 8:58 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Future Met seasons (was Roberto Devereux)

Ulrik is correct.  Tannhauser is much more dramatic (and longer) than
Lohengrin and goes higher than any other Wagner tenor. It's very strenuous,
and the only things harder are probably Tristan and Young Siegfried.
Melchior and Windgassen are among the very few to succeed across the full
spectrum of Wagner roles, and I'll get arguments about that, I'm sure.

In any case, even Melchior avoided Walther Stolzing (lyrical and high and
long, especially late in the evening). Windgassen disliked the low lying
Siegmund, though he sang it fairly often.

Oddly Ramon Viny was a good Tannhauser, Tristan and Siegmund, but never took
on Lohengrin or young Siegfried.

Jim Bodge

****
On Sat, May 3, 2014 10:45 am, Ulrik wrote:
> On Fri, 2 May 2014 06:10:20 -0400, Alan Goldhammer 
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>>If you can sing Lohengrin, you can sing Tannhauser.
>
> I do not think the above is correct. As far as I know, Tannhäuser is 
> much more strenuous than Lohengrin. Mr. Domingo, for instance, sang 
> Lohengrin live but only recorded Tannhäuser. I remember an interview 
> where he said that he could only sing Tannhäuser if some passages were 
> omitted. Nicolai Gedda sang Lohengrin, but as far as I know only once 
> - I am certain he would never even have considered Tannhäuser. James 
> King was a good Lohengrin but never Tannhäuser.
> Did Ben Heppner ever sing Tannhäuser? Or Siegfried Jerusalem?
>
> Ulrik
>

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