The first performance of a series, they say, isn t always the best. In 1961, as the critics noted, the opening night suffered not just from the usual first-night nerves, but also the common cold was doing the rounds. The discovery in radio archives of a 'Tannhäuser' from the next performance is thus a real find in historic nights at the Bayreuth Festival. Wieland Wagner's 1961 production, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch, saw Wolfgang Windgassen as the titular hero and, alongside him, Grace Bumbry in her international breakthrough role as the 'black Venus'. Victoria de los Angeles sang Elisabeth and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (at his last Bayreuth Festival) the role of Wolfram. By a stroke of luck, all the protagonists were on form on the evening of 3 August 1961, as we can now hear for the first time. Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau outdoes himself once again as Wolfram, and Grace Bumbry and Wolfgang Windgassen achieve a perfect balance of love s lust and sorrow. Sometimes a second attempt is worth more than twice the trouble.