Music: Topnotch Tannh

One conductor slammed down his baton, grumbled "auf Wiedersehen," and walked out. Leading singers caught colds in the wet July weather. Technicians scrambled to lighten the murky stage so that the audience could see more of what was going on. After six weeks of preparing the season, Wieland and Wolfgang Wagner last week raised the curtain on the opening production, their grandfather's Tannhäuser. Despite all crises, the production turned out topnotch.

Bayreuth had not dared do Tannhäuser since Toscanini's unforgettable version 24 years ago. But brothers Wieland and Wolfgang, who will dare anything, decided the old Venusberg needed some drastic new landscaping....

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