TANNHAUSER - HISTORY
A theme of love, religious or spiritual and profane love runs through Wagner's work. It embraces the struggle between types of love and redemption through love. The story line combines mythology characteristic of German Romantic opera and the medieval setting is typical of French Grand Operas.
Act 1 Inside the Castle, near Eisenach and a valley by Warburg.
In Venusberg, the mountain home of Venus, the minstrel knight sings the praises of Venus, the Goddess of Love. He has fled the stress of the world and revels in the seductive atmosphere of Venus Mountain. Venus promises more love making but he wants his freedom. Venus pleads with him to stay but he wants simple earthly pleasures. He prays to the Virgin Mary and Venusberg disappears.
Tannhauser is thankful for his liberty and vows to lead a life of simplicity and humiliation.
Near Wartburg Castle he meets the Landgrave of Thuringia, minstrel knights and long lost friends who remind him of how his singing won the love of the beautiful Elizabeth.
Act 2 The Wartburg
In the castle Elisabeth remembers first hearing tannhauser's voice. The pair are reunited. People gather for the singing competition and Elisabeth's hand is offered to the winner of the love songs section. Tannhäuser cannot forget Venus and sings a stirring hymn to earthly pleasures. The audience is shocked, but Elisabeth bravely shields him and achieves her uncle's pardon. There is a condition, it is that Tannhauser make a pilgrimage to Rome.
Act 3 A valley near Wartburg
Some months later, Elisabeth is desperately searching for her lover's return, but broken, she takes her life. Then he wearily arrives. He has been unable to receive absolution from the Pope. The Pope announced that he would only be absolved when his staff turned into flowers. As Elizabeth's funeral procession approaches, the minstrel knight, after calling on Venus and generating no reponse, dies.
The pilgim chorus enters telling of a miracle - the Pope's staff has blossomed like Spring flowers.
Discover the dramatic, expressive music of Wagner.
Tannhäuser, a Minstrel Knight, tenor
Hermann Landgrave of Thuringia, bass
Elisabeth, the Landgrave's niece, soprano
Walther Von Der Vogelweilde, tenor
Venus, soprano or mezzo-soprano
The production has a wide musical range. Enjoy a plethora of characters from young shepherds and noble pages to knights, pilgrims, sirens, and nymphs.
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