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Schedule - Deutsche Oper Berlin

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Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg

Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883)

Information on the piece

Dresdner Fassung - Romantische Oper in drei Aufzügen
Uraufführung am 19. Oktober 1845 in Dresden
Premiere an der Deutschen Oper Berlin am 30. November 2008

4 Stunden / Zwei Pausen

In deutscher Sprache mit deutschen und englischen Übertiteln

Einführung: 45 Minuten vor Vorstellungsbeginn im Rang-Foyer rechts

empfohlen ab 16 Jahren
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About the performance

About the work
Repelled by the dispassion of the Wartburg society of minnesingers, Tannhäuser, a singer-knight, removes to the interior of the Venusberg in search of fulfilment. Eventually his longing for Elisabeth leads him to leave again. Back at the Wartburg castle, Tannhäuser takes part in a singing contest whose theme is the nature of love, but when he sings that love is ideally about sensual satisfaction, he is cast out and sent to Rome to seek papal absolution. He returns from Rome without the hoped-for indulgence and resolves to return to the Venusberg. Then a miracle occurs and he finds redemption after all.

Of all Richard Wagner’s operas, this is arguably the one most closely associated with the composer’s own biography and his conception of himself as an artist. The tale of the song contest in the Wartburg castle contains all the themes common to Romantic conflict in art: the quest for social acceptance on the one hand pitted against a questioning of conventions on the other; the search for sensual fulfilment – and its irreconcilability with an idealised, de-sexualised concept of womanhood; and not least the conflict between self-expression in life as in art and the guilt engendered by this egomania.

About the production
In her production for the Deutsche Oper Berlin Kristen Harms focuses on the complicated relationship between Tannhäuser and Elisabeth, a young Thuringian noblewoman, who represents the ideal of pure, pristine love. Harms sees TANNHÄUSER as “a tale of two people, each with two souls in their breast”. This accounts for her casting of a single singer to play both Elisabeth and Venus, who fuse at the end of the opera into a single person, one who has found redemption. As for Tannhäuser, Harms presents him and his mild-mannered friend Wolfram von Eschenbach as two character sides of the same coin.

By the same token the Venusberg, Tannhäuser’s abode at the start of the opera, is deemed by Harms to be “not a den of vice but a realm in which wish, insistence and desire are interwoven in a knot of libidinous fulfilment.” The story is told against a backdrop of tableaux that draw on illustrations found in texts of the High Middle Ages yet also incorporate a touchstone to the present day.

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