14 and 17 June 2018 4 pm

Wagner: Tannhäuser

An opera in three acts

First Act
Tannhäuser, leaving behind his fellow minstrels, attempts to find happiness with Venus, the pagan goddess of love. Yet he soon tires of the endless rapture of love and the permanent bacchanalia that surrounds them. Venus senses her knight’s apathy and has him sing a song of praise for her. The glorious opening notes, however, quickly give way to misery: Tannhäuser begs Venus to release him from her spell. He plays the song three times. Venus unleashes all of her charm, but Tannhäuser remains unmoved.

“My salvation rests in Mary's, the Mother of God,” Tannhäuser states. At the Virgin Mother’s name, a miracle occurs. In the blink of an eye, Venus and her world vanish. It is springtime: a shepherd boy is singing, and pilgrims are arriving from the distance. Tannhäuser kneels down before a small image of the Virgin Mary at the crossroads and begs forgiveness for his sins. Here he is found by a hunting party – his former companions, led by Hermann, Landgrave of Thuringia. Wolfram von Eschenbach greets his friend, whom he long thought lost, with warm words. At first unwilling to return with them, Tannhäuser relents upon hearing that Elisabeth has not attended the singing contests since his disappearance and lives in sorrowful seclusion.

Second Act
At the start of the act, the aria Dich teure Halle is heard. Elisabeth, who has heard news of Tannhäuser’s discovery by his fellow minstrels, sings on the site of previous contests of the amazing emotions that Tannhäuser’s earlier songs had provoked in her and how hope for their reunion had revived her. Wolfram appears with Tannhäuser. In an unnerving display of passion, the knight throws himself before Elisabeth’s feet. During a long duet comprising several segments, Elisabeth, as if compelled to do so, reveals her emotions for Tannhäuser. Wolfram, who himself is secretly in love with Elisabeth, acknowledges with resignation that he has now lost all hope.
The contest starts with a festive march and chorus. First, Wolfram von Eschenbach sings of pure love, provoking a rebuttal from Tannhäuser. Walther von der Vogelweide also sings the praises of chaste love, which Tannhäuser rejects even more vehemently. He is followed by Biterolf, who, unable to tolerate Tannhäuser’s increasingly offensive opinions, challenges the minstrel to a knightly duel. Wolfram attempts to douse their passions, but Tannhäuser pays no heed. He launches into the same song with which he once sang the praises of Venus. General mayhem ensues. The knights all draw their swords. Elisabeth, however, intervenes, telling them, “You are not his judges.” The landgrave banishes the knight, who is given a final chance: he must make a pilgrimage to Rome and there ask for forgiveness for his sins from the Pope himself. From the distance, the singing of the pilgrims is heard. Tannhäuser joins them.

Third Act
At the start of the act, Elisabeth is praying for the repentant sinner before a picture of the Virgin. Wolfram observes the supplication from afar. It is autumn. The group of pilgrims is returning from Rome. Tannhäuser is not among them. Elisabeth has only one desire remaining: for the Virgin Mary to commend her soul to heaven. Wolfram, now alone, sings to the evening star. A lone wanderer staggers up to him. Wolfram recognises Tannhäuser. He had gone to Rome in vain: the Pope would not absolve him. “As this staff in my hand no longer bedecks itself in fresh green, so, from the burning brands of hell, deliverance can never blossom for you!” Tannhäuser already imagines himself to be standing before Venus and wishes to return to her. Wolfram, however, utters the name with the power to return him from his stupor: “An angel prayed for you upon earth, soon she will soar above you, blessing... Elisabeth!” A funeral procession approaches bearing Elisabeth’s body. Overcome, Tannhäuser dies also.
Young pilgrims arrive with news of a miracle: the Pope’s staff has blossomed... Tannhäuser’s soul is saved from eternal damnation.

Artistic director and conductor: Ádám Fischer

Featuring:
the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir (choirmaster: Zoltán Pad) and the Honvéd Male Choir and Budapest Studio Choir (choir director: Kálmán Strausz)

Set design, costumes: Thomas Gruber
Revival director: Sylvie Gábor
Director: Matthias Oldag

Cast

Quotes and critiques

Events - 2018

June

4

Monday

June

5

Tuesday

June

6

Wednesday

June

7

Thursday

Wagner:
Tristan und Isolde

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June

8

Friday

Wagner:
Der fliegende Holländer

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June

9

Saturday

June

10

Sunday

Wagner:
Der fliegende Holländer

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June

11

Monday

June

12

Tuesday

June

13

Wednesday

Wagner:
Tristan und Isolde

Tickets

June

14

Thursday

Wagner:
Tannhäuser

Tickets

June

15

Friday

Wagner and his Contemporaries:
Camilla Nylund song recital

Tickets

June

16

Saturday

Wagner:
Tristan und Isolde

Tickets

June

17

Sunday

Wagner:
Tannhäuser

Tickets

Galéria

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