Thursday, November 14 2013, 19:00
Estonian National Opera, Estonian Avenue 4, Tallinn
Tannhäuser – Romantic opera in three acts by Richard Wagner, World premiere in Dresden Hoftheater on October 19, 1845, Premiere at the Estonian National Opera on March 14, 2013
Program is subject to change
In 2013 all the world will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth. For this occasion, “Tannhäuser” will be staged at the Estonian National Opera by an internationally renowned stage director Daniel Slater, who debuted at Opera North with Smetana’s opera “The Bartered Bride” (1998).
Slater’s productions are known for their originality, humanity, intelligence and modernity. His award-winning productions have been successfully staged in Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, USA and New Zealand.
Having left the Castle of Wartburg in Thuringia with a quarrel, the knight and Minnesinger Tannhäuser has fallen for the charms of Venus and lives with the goddess on Venusberg. After a year, he grows tired of heavenly pleasures and asks Venus to release him. The goddess curses Tannhäuser and foretells that he will return to her on the hour of utmost despair. Tannhäuser finds himself near the Wartburg Castle, where he meets his old friends, who remind him of Elisabeth, the Landgrave Hermann’s niece who was once in love with him. Tannhäuser is moved by the news, joins the court again and begs for Elisabeth’s forgiveness. The Landgrave announces a song contest in which the winner will be crowned by Elisabeth. Tannhäuser’s best friend Wolfram, who is secretly in love with Elisabeth, praises the purity of true love. Angered Tannhäuser interrupts him, saying that real love is not pure but passionate and breaks into a hymn in praise of Venus. The court realises that during his absence, Tannhäuser was in Venusberg and they want to attack him for his shameful behaviour, but Elisabeth asks them for mercy. The Landgrave sends Tannhäuser together with other pilgrims to the Pope in order to ask the Pope to pardon him. After half a year, other pilgrims return to Wartburg, but Tannhäuser is not among them. Elisabeth prays to the Virgin Mary to be allowed to die and, through her death, to redeem Tannhäuser. Wolfram, wandering in the woods, meets the weary Tannhäuser, who tells him that the Pope refused to pardon him, saying “You can find no more forgiveness than the Pope’s staff could blossom”. In great despair, Tannhäuser returns to Venusberg. Wolfram tries to prevent him from yielding to the charms of Venus, reminding him of Elisabeth who still loves him. A procession passes that announces the death of Elisabeth. Grief-stricken Tannhäuser cries out Elisabeth’s name and Venus vanishes. Tannhäuser collapses dead with the cry “Holy Elisabeth, pray for me!” The pilgrims and the crowd announce that a miracle has happened: the Pope’s staff has blossomed! Tannhäuser’s soul is saved.
Conductor: Vello Pähn
Stage Director: Daniel Slater (UK)
Designer: Leslie Travers (UK)
Choreographer: Kati Kivitar
Lighting Designer: Anton Kulagin