One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here


International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







Johann NESTROY (1801-1862) and Carl BINDER (1816-1860)
Tannhäuser in 80 Minuten (1857)
Robert Meyer (actor and singer); Neue Wiener Concert Schrammeln (Peter Uhler (violin), Valmir Ziu (violin), Günter Haumer (accordion), Peter Havlicek (counter-guitar))
Production: Robert Meyer
rec. live, Wiener Volksoper, 4, 14 March 2008
Picture format: 16:9, Sound formats: 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital. 5.1 Surround
Experience Classicsonline

As can be easily understood from the header this is no “pocket-version” of Wagner’s opera but a completely self-contained parody, based on Wagner’s work but with music by Carl Binder – mostly adapted from Wagner’s score. As to Johann Nepomuk Nestroy’s role it is not clear that he actually wrote the text, even though he was known ‘for writing caustic pieces’. But he was also an opera singer, who sang Sarastro at the Vienna Hofoper in 1822, but obviously lacked the important low notes and changed the pitch of his voice, next year singing Max in Der Freischütz, which of course is a tenor role.

Anyway, two months after the Vienna premiere he staged this parody in his Carltheater. Tannhäuser in this version is banned from the singers’ hall at Wartburg to a stage where the ‘Future Opera is being cultivated / the easiest way to ruin your voice …’ Wagner’s music was even at this early stage of his development ‘the music of the future’ but the mockery is as much against the notion that Wagner’s music has no melody, that it is harmful for singers as well as listeners. Certain aspects of the Tannhäuser story have been disposed of, thus all the religious references are gone – obviously since the censorship objected and the text had to be re-written. Whether this was Nestroy’s work rather than creating the whole manuscript is open to debate. A certain doctor from Breslau named Wollheim had written a farce along the same lines a few years earlier. It was even printed and he died shortly afterwards. Maybe Nestroy had bought the rights from Wollheim’s heirs.

The present production was originally played at Vienna’s Burgtheater during the 2005/2006 season and was a great success and last season it was staged at the Vienna Volksoper, from where this recording comes. Robert Meyer re-elaborated the piece further – to what extent it differs from Nestroy’s version I don’t know and this is, honestly, beside the point. Suffice it to say that this is a highly entertaining performance. It is a one-man-show with Robert Meyer playing and singing all the roles as well as being the narrator. The image from the DVD box above shows that he does all this with small means: no sets, no costumes, just a few attributes to illustrate the characters. Knowing Wagner’s is not necessary, even though the parody becomes more obvious if one does. It also helps to be reasonably versed in German but those who are not will be able to follow the play through English or French subtitles.

Robert Meyer is certainly a tremendous actor and there isn’t a dull moment throughout the 80 minutes. He is well supported by the four musicians who, besides making the most of the clever arrangements, also function as opera chorus.

Any Wagner performance can be a heavy meal for an outsider. I am not sure if this performance is the best way to convert the uninformed but at least open-minded non-Wagnerians should be curious to find out what the real thing is like. Good sound and good pictures and as I already said.

Göran Forsling


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.