Dip Your Ears... ( 15 ) 

R. Wagner, Tannhäuser, Barenboim
Daniel Barenboim, one of the finest Wagnerians alive, has given us one outstanding Wagner-recording after another – notably his Parsifal and Tristan! This 2001 Tannhäuser follows this line. Like the rival Sinopoli recording (DG, Paris Version, 1989), it benefits from state-of-the-art sound quality and a stupendous cast. The female leads Jeane Eaglen and Waltraut Meier might be the best on record and Peter Seifert, Rene Pape and Thomas Hampson don’t need to shy away from any competition, either. Like Wagner’s wife I prefer the Dresden version without the excessive Venusberg-mystery-music – and Barenboim’s subtle amalgamation seems to combine the best of both worlds. With his fine band in top form and the conducting sure-handed and emotionally charged, this Sängerkrieg is a clear winner – and not just among modern recordings.

[Barenboim/Staatskapelle Berlin/Eaglen, Meier, Pape, Seifert - Teldec 8573880642]

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