Downhill from Venusberg: a bland Tannhäuser revived at Covent Garden

Wagner: Tannhäuser ***

The Royal Opera, 26th April 2016

At the heart of Tannhäuser is the hero’s struggle between spirituality and sensuality. Tim Albery’s 2010 production, receiving its first revival at Covent Garden, establishes this conflict within a stylish opening 20 minutes, but thereafter things become rather bland. Tannhäuser is something of a problematic opera. It was a great hit with Victorian audiences, thanks to Wagner’s tuneful score, but there are acres of dull writing and Albery’s staging does little to alleviate the tedium, despite a couple of very fine performances to raise interest levels.

Peter Seiffert (Tannhäuser) and Sophie Koch (Venus) © ROH | Clive Barda

Peter Seiffert (Tannhäuser) and Sophie Koch (Venus)
© ROH | Clive Barda

Read the full review on Bachtrack.

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