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An Erotic 'Tannhäuser' in Bollywood

GIUSEPPE PENNISI has mixed feelings
about La Scala's new Wagnerian production


The new La Scala production of Tannhäuser has been much awaited for three main reasons: the return of Zubin Mehta to conduct his first opera (as against concerts) in the Piermarini auditorium for thirty two years; the anticipation of La Scala 2013 Wagnerian celebration (including a full Ring); and the need for revamping due to the reputation of the theatre's Tannhäuser after the Curran-Tate production's mild flop in 2005. At the 17 March 2010 opening night, on which this review is based, the outcome was mixed.

As rightly pointed out in an old opera guide book (Gerhart con Westerman's Knaurs Operafürer Droemmersche Verlagsanstalt, 1952), in Tannhäuser, two worlds stand face to face -- the humility of the Middle Ages and the urge for freedom of the Renaissance. Both are illustrated in the libretto and explained by the music. In the overture, the pilgrims' simple folk song is contrasted with the glittering, iridescent series of melodies which depict the happy sensuality of the magic world of the Venusberg...

Copyright © 20 March 2010 Giuseppe Pennisi,
Rome, Italy









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