“This enterprising company has pitted itself against one of the mightiest hurdles in the repertory and scored a thundering success. Keith Warner’s staging stands head and shoulders over almost all other British Wagner productions of recent years.”            Opera.
“Brighton’s Tannhäuser is a miracle. The unfolding of the music and the fine accompanying of much impressive singing added up to an authentically cumulative Wagnerian thrill. The eroticism is brilliantly suggested.”                                              The Guardian.
“Quite outstanding, the best Wagner in the country this season and the best Tannhäuser I have seen since Wieland Wagner’s Bayreuth production in the early 1960s. Lionel Friend’s conducting of the lavish score was magnificent, as was the orchestra. Lionel Friend made the religious music tell impressively while the Venusberg was both brilliant and gorgeous. The chorus were disciplined and exciting and helped Lionel Friend build up to an overwhelming culmination at the end, something that was magically moving. NSO achieved something remarkable by any standards.”Wagner News


Paris version, sung in new English translation by Rodney Milnes Blumer

June 1990 The Dome, Brighton

NSO Chorus, West Sussex Boys’ Choir
NSO Orchestra
conductor Lionel Friend
director Keith Warner
designer Jacqueline Gunn
lighting designer Alan Burrett
choreographer Caroline Pope

Hermann Richard Angas
Tannhäuser Graeme Matheson-Bruce
Wolfram von Eschenbach Peter Knapp
Walter von der Vogelweide Graham Tubb
Biterolf Simon Preece
Heinrich der Schreiber Reginald Ian Campbell
Reinmar von Zweter David Guest
Elisabeth Linda McLeod
Venus Mary Lloyd-Davies
A young shepherd Tim Simmons


One of the most ambitious NSO productions to date and the company went for broke by using the Paris version of Wagner’s opera, including dancing girls in the opening bacchanal to suit the tastes of Parisian opera goers.


The amazing set contained several windows which opened to reveal a variety of tableaux e.g. the pastoral scene for the young shepherd. Built like a jigsaw, it presented a last-minute problem when we found some pieces were missing. New panels were in place by the first night, and all was well.

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