Above: Leonie Rysanek and Jess Thomas in TANNHAUSER
Leonie Rysanek had not sung at the San Francisco Opera for over a decade; her return in 1973, as Elisabeth in TANNHAUSER, must be counted among the great triumphs of her career.
The audience greeted the beloved soprano with a wave of applause as she entered the Hall of Song at the Wartburg in Act II. Wagner purists would likely disapprove of an interruption after "Dich teure halle", but the diva's wonderfully emotional performance elicited more applause here; and after the great duet with tenor Jess Thomas (another San Francisco favorite), the audience could no longer contain themselves.
I'm happy that, among my hundreds of old cassettes, a souvenir of this exciting night exists. I have recently converted it to MP3; there is a slight break after "Dich teure halle". Enjoy!