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"Tannhauser" is an opera by Richard Wagner divided in three acts and based on the fight between pure and carnal love. This modern version changes the original medieval story to the present days.
The painter Tannhäuser is charmed and makes profane love with the goddess Venus. He casts out her spell and goes to a contest in an art gallery with other painters. However he is banished by the other painters and only the virgin Elisabeth that loves him defends Tannhäuser. He is forced to join a group of pilgrims to Rome to find atonement and follow the path to salvation. Later when the pilgrims return from Rome, the sinner Tannhäuser tells to Wolfram von Eschenbach that he was not blessed with grace and absolution despite his journey of sacrifice through Italy. The sinner Tannhäuser summons Venus and her realm of love back. However Elisabeth plea to God is listened and Tannhäuser is blessed and his soul gains the grace of heaven.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Steel balls
    The painter Tannhäuser (Peter Seiffert) is charmed and makes profane love with the goddess Venus (Béatrice Uria-Monzon). He casts out her spell and goes to a contest in an art gallery with other painters. However he is banished by the other painters and only the virgin Elisabeth (Petra Maria Schnitzer) that loves him defends Tannhäuser. He is forced to join a group of pilgrims to Rome to find atonement and follow the path to salvation. Later when the pilgrims return from Rome, the sinner Tannhäuser tells to Wolfram von Eschenbach (Markus Eiche) that he was not blessed with grace and absolution despite his journey of sacrifice through Italy. The sinner Tannhäuser summons Venus and her realm of love back. However Elisabeth plea to God is listened and Tannhäuser is blessed and his soul gains the grace of heaven.

    "Tannhauser" is an opera by Richard Wagner divided in three acts and based on the fight between pure and carnal love. This modern version changes the original medieval story to the present days and Tannháuser is not a troubadour but a painter despite of the lyrics. This is the first time that I see this opera and I really loved it. The first act is unusual, with the beautiful Béatrice Uria-Monzon completely naked and a strange bacchanal scene. The second act in an art gallery is also different. The conclusion shows the fight between the profane and the sacred loved wined by Elisabeth. The Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu, the choral and the singers have outstanding work. The theater has an excellent acoustic and the DVD is marvelous. My vote is ten.

    Title (Brazil): "Tannhäuser"
  • comment
    • Author: Bluddefender
    Tannhauser is a fine opera in many respects, if not my personal favourite of Wagner's operas(between Tristan Und Isolde and Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg). When done right the conflicts between the characters are compelling and the music is genius. This was an example of a performance that had good and bad things. By all means it is far better than the Robert Gambill, Rene Kollo and earlier Peter Seiffert performances, but the 1978 Bayreuth and 1982 Met productions are also superior to this.

    My main problems were the production values and particularly the staging. I don't mind concept productions actually as long as they aren't distasteful or cheap. There are operas though that are not so friendly to transposition and Tannhauser in my opinion is one of them. The costumes are rather stark and barren, this approach may work in some parts of Tannhuaser but I don't think it should be an approach that occurs throughout. This way it just made the production unappealing and uninteresting to watch. The lighting is not terrible strictly speaking, but at the same time it does little to bring some kind of visual life. The video directing is good though, certainly beats that for the Zurich production, easy feat actually seeing as anything is better than the video directing for that production. I found Robert Carsen's stage direction inconsistent. There are certainly some imaginative moments, the highlight being the contest in Act 2. But there are also one too many frustrating ones, the Baccanale is both bland and weird and the last act completely falls apart with much like with Elizabeth and Wolfram that is at odds with the libretto. The biggest offender was the complete lack of conflict, that of Elizabeth and Venus, the personifications of virtue and sin- the whole point of the opera- was practically non-existent, without this the production just felt really dull dramatically.

    It does fare much better musically. The orchestral playing has the lushness and power needed for Wagner's score, the brass don't sound fatigued and they do have a large role to play in Tannhauser and in all of Wagner's operas, the woodwind are delicate yet incisive and the strings play stylishly with not a hint of shrillness. The chorus are terrific as well, creating a thrilling wall of sound in every scene they appear in. Sebastien Weigle's conducting(offering more enthusiasm than he did for the terrible Bayreuth production of Meistersinger) is a little too routine to begin with, the overture- in one of few times where it's been the case- fails to rouse, but the second act is so much better and from then on it's highly dependable with nice textures and good musicianship. The sound has a tendency to favour the singers over the orchestra, which can hinder the climaxes somewhat, but generally it is not bad at all. The performances are generally good. The most impressive was the Tannhauser of Peter Seiffert, while there is a wobble evident in this stage in his career he takes on this punishing role with largely un-strained ringing tone and the well-supported breath control and legato indicates a highly musical and intelligent singer. He is a very commanding actor as well, he has many moments of passion and he does this with power and aching sincerity.

    Petra Maria Schnitzer takes on Elizabeth, and on the most part she is touching and radiant(though Carsen's direction doesn't allow her to do as much as she could've done in her Prayer scene). She does have a lovely voice too, though there are some occasions where it loses its quality high up. Markus Eiche's Wolfram is one of those baritones/bass-baritones who has a lovely and interesting voice, with some nobility but there are not many times where I am left unmoved by Ode to the Evening Star and sadly that was the case with Eiche. Beatrice Uria-Monzon is a sexy and thrilling Venus with a beautiful appearance, which always does help. Not all her high notes are quite there, but on the most part vocally it is very creamy-toned indeed while having the right sort of heft for the role. Gunter Groissbock's Landgraf is generally well-projected vocally and there is a fine quality to his voice. He has no trouble commanding the stage either. Lauri Vasar is very good as Biterolf, the characterisation from a performance and director point of view was another of the highlights actually. Vicente Ombuena's Walther is reliable, and Francisco Vas is more understated than his Mime but is also commendable.

    Overall, many good things, such as Seiffert, the direction of Act 2 and the quality of the orchestral and choral work, but not consistent especially seen in the stage direction, the conducting and a few tessitura problems here and there. The production values actually were the only asset that didn't do anything for me. Carsen has never been a consistent director, he has been responsible for some great stuff and some stuff that does nothing for me, and he is an acquired taste. Tannhauser is neither the best or worst of his work but there is evidence of his strengths and weaknesses. 6/10 Bethany Cox
  • Cast overview, first billed only:
    Günther Groissböck Günther Groissböck - Landgraf Hermann
    Peter Seiffert Peter Seiffert - Tannhäuser
    Markus Eiche Markus Eiche - Wolfram von Eschenbach
    Vicente Ombuena Vicente Ombuena - Walther von der Vogelweide
    Lauri Vasar Lauri Vasar - Biterolf
    Francisco Vas Francisco Vas - Heinrich der Schreiber
    Johann Tilli Johann Tilli - Reinmar von Zweter
    Petra Maria Schnitzer Petra Maria Schnitzer - Elisabeth
    Béatrice Uria-Monzon Béatrice Uria-Monzon - Venus
    Eliana Bayón Eliana Bayón - A young shepherd
    Maria Such Maria Such - Four noble pages
    M. Ángels Padró M. Ángels Padró - Four noble pages
    Yordanka León Yordanka León - Four noble pages
    Miglena Savova Miglena Savova - Four noble pages
    Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu Orquestra Simfònica del Gran Teatre del Liceu - Themselves - Orchestra
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