Tannhäuser (includes Bacchanale, Pilgrim's Chorus)
Richard Wagner


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The highest of Wagner's 7 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 65 in 2013, the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Wagner didn't really do understated. His works were epic in scale, fantastically mythological in plot, and revolutionary in both length and orchestration. In the case of Tannhäuser, even the word 'opera' wasn't deemed to be sufficient: Wagner initially referred to it as a 'romantic grand opera' but then elevated the work to a 'consummate drama', as he described it to his wife Cosima in 1882.

Tim Albery's 2010 production of Tannhäuser at The Royal Opera House.