Vienna State Opera tickets 1 June 2025 - Tannhäuser | GoComGo.com

Tannhäuser

Vienna State Opera, Vienna, Austria
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 18:00

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Baritone: Ludovic Tézier (Wolfram von Eschenbach)
Conductor: Philippe Jordan
Tenor: Clay Hilley (Tannhäuser)
Bass: Günther Groissböck (Hermann)
Soprano: Malin Byström (Princess Elisabeth)
Creators
Composer: Richard Wagner
Director: Lydia Steier
Librettist: Richard Wagner
Overview

Following new productions of Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Lohengrin in the past seasons, Tannhäuser is now on the Vienna State Opera's premiere schedule.

In 1857, the Viennese were first introduced to a complete opera by Wagner with this work - not at the Court Opera, but in the large Thalia Theater, which seated 4,000 people. Just two years later, Tannhäuser was also performed at Vienna's leading opera house and even the dreaded critics' pope Eduard Hanslick was impressed by the work. This time, a mixture of the earlier Dresden version and the later Paris version of the opera will be performed at the Haus am Ring.

After Rienzi and The Flying Dutchman,Tannhäuser represents the next major step in Richard Wagner's development. What's more, much already points to later works: "The pilgrimage and Rome music hints at his last opera, Parsifal, as far as the religious aspect is concerned. And the Venus music - even in the first, Dresden version - refers to Tristan und Isolde," explains premiere conductor Philippe Jordan.

Short Summary
It is about nothing less than love. This is what the Wartburg singing community asks for, and this is what Tannhäuser also seeks: he finds almost endless lust with the goddess of love Venus, and hopes to attain bliss with the "pure" Elisabeth. In his vacillation between satisfaction and renunciation, between guilt and protest, in being torn between fulfillment and exaltation, he corresponds entirely to the grammar of the Romantic age - and still speaks directly to us today.

History
Premiere of this production: 19 October 1845, Königliches Hoftheater, Dresden

Tannhäuser (German: full title Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg, "Tannhäuser and the Minnesängers' Contest at Wartburg") is an 1845 opera in three acts, music and text by Richard Wagner, based on two German legends: Tannhäuser, the legendary medieval German Minnesänger and poet, and the tale of the Wartburg Song Contest. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love, a theme running through much of Wagner's mature work.

 

 

Synopsis

Background

In Eisenach, Germany, in the early 13th century, the landgraves of the Thuringian Valley ruled the area of Germany around the Wartburg. They were great patrons of the arts, particularly music and poetry, holding contests between the minnesingers at the Wartburg. Across the valley towered the Venusberg, in whose interior, according to legend, dwelt Holda, the Goddess of Spring. In time, Holda became identified with Venus, the pagan Goddess of Love, whose grotto was the home of sirens and nymphs. It was said that the Goddess would lure the Wartburg minnesinger-knights to her lair where her beauty would captivate them. The minnesinger-knight Heinrich von Ofterdingen, known as Tannhäuser, left the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia a year ago after a disagreement with his fellow knights. Since then he has been held as a willing captive through his love for Venus, in her grotto in the Venusberg.

Overture

The substantial overture commences with the theme of the 'Pilgrim's Chorus' from Act 3, Scene 1, and also includes elements of the 'Venusberg' music from Act 1, Scene 1. The overture is frequently performed as a separate item in orchestral concerts, the first such performance having been given by Felix Mendelssohn conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in February 1846.[28] Wagner later gave the opinion that perhaps it would be better to cut the overture at opera performances to the Pilgrim's Chorus alone – "the remainder – in the fortunate event of its being understood – is, as a prelude to the drama, too much; in the opposite event, too little." In the original, "Dresden" version, the overture comes to a traditional concert close (the version heard in concert performances). For the "Paris" version the music leads directly into the first scene, without pausing.

Act 1

The Venusberg, (the Hörselberg of "Frau Holda" in Thuringia, in the vicinity of Eisenach), and a valley between the Venusberg and Wartburg

Scene 1. Wagner's stage directions state: "The stage represents the interior of the Venusberg...In the distant background is a bluish lake; in it one sees the bathing figures of naiads; on its elevated banks are sirens. In the extreme left foreground lies Venus bearing the head of the half kneeling Tannhäuser in her lap. The whole cave is illuminated by rosy light. – A group of dancing nymphs appears, joined gradually by members of loving couples from the cave. – A train of Bacchantes comes from the background in wild dance... – The ever-wilder dance answers as in echo the Chorus of Sirens": "Naht euch dem Strande" (Come to the shore). In the "Paris" version this orgiastic ballet is greatly extended.

Scene 2. Following the orgy of the ballet, Tannhäuser's desires are finally satiated, and he longs for freedom, spring and the sound of church bells. He takes up his harp and pays homage to the goddess in a passionate love song, "Dir töne Lob!" (Let your praises be heard), which he ends with an earnest plea to be allowed to depart, "Aus deinem Reiche, muss ich fliehn! O Königin! Göttin! Lass mich ziehn!" (From your kingdom must I flee! O Queen! O Goddess, set me free). Surprised, Venus offers him further charms, but eventually his repeated pleas arouse her fury and she curses his desire for salvation. (In the "Paris" version Venus's inveighing against Tannhäuser is significantly expanded). Eventually Tannhäuser declares: "Mein Heil ruht in Maria" (My salvation rests in Mary). These words break the unholy spell. Venus and the Venusberg disappear.

Scene 3. According to Wagner's stage directions, "Tannhäuser...finds himself a beautiful valley… To the left one sees the Hörselberg. To the right...a mountain path from the direction of the Wartburg ...; in the foreground, led to by a low promontory, an image of the Virgin Mary – From above left one hears the ringing of herder’s bells; on a high projection sits a young shepherd with pipes facing the valley". It is May. The shepherd sings an ode to the pagan goddess Holda, "Frau Holda kam aus dem Berg hervor" (Lady Holda, come forth from the hill). A hymn "Zu dir wall ich, mein Jesus Christ" (To thee I turn, my Jesus Christ) can be heard, as Pilgrims are seen approaching from the Wartburg, and the shepherd stops playing. The pilgrims pass Tannhäuser as he stands motionless, and then, praising God, ("Allmächt'ger, dir sei Preis!" (Almighty God, to you be praise!)) he sinks to his knees, overcome with gratitude. At that moment the sound of hunting-horns can be heard, drawing ever nearer.

Scene 4. The Landgrave's hunting party appears. The minnesingers (Wolfram, Walther, Biterolf, Reinmar, and Heinrich) recognise Tannhäuser, still deep in prayer, and greet him ("Heinrich! Heinrich! Seh ich recht?" (Heinrich! Heinrich! Do I see right?)) cautiously, recalling past feuds. They question him about his recent whereabouts, to which he gives vague answers. The minnesingers urge Tannhäuser to rejoin them, which he declines until Wolfram mentions Elisabeth, the Landgrave's niece, "Bleib bei Elisabeth!" (Stay, for Elisabeth!). Tannhäuser is visibly moved, "Elisabeth! O Macht des Himmels, rufst du den süsssen Namen mir?" (Elisabeth! O might of heaven, is it you that wakes me with that sweet name?). The minnesingers explain to Tannhäuser how he had enchanted Elisabeth, but when he had left she withdrew from their company and lost interest in music, expressing the hope that his return will also bring her back, "Auf's Neue leuchte uns ihr Stern!" (Let her star once more shine upon us). Tannhäuser begs them to lead him to her, "Zu ihr! Zu ihr!" (To her! To her!). The rest of the hunting party gathers, blowing horns.

Act 2

The Wartburg in Eisenach
The minnesingers' hall in the Wartburg castle

Introduction – Scene 1. Elisabeth enters, joyfully. She sings, to the hall, of how she has been beset by sadness since Tannhäuser's departure but now lives in hope that his songs will revive both of them, "Dich, teure Halle, grüss ich wieder" (Dear hall, I greet thee once again). Wolfram leads Tannhäuser into the hall.

Scene 2. Tannhäuser flings himself at Elisabeth's feet. He exclaims "O Fürstin!" (O Princess!). At first, seemingly confused, she questions him about where he has been, which he avoids answering. She then greets him joyfully ("Ich preise dieses Wunder aus meines Herzens Tiefe!" (I praise this miracle from my heart's depths!)), and they join in a duet, "Gepriesen sei die Stunde" (Praise be to this hour). Tannhäuser then leaves with Wolfram.

Scene 3. The Landgrave enters, and he and Elisabeth embrace. The Landgrave sings of his joy, "Dich treff ich hier in dieser Halle" (Do I find you in this hall) at her recovery and announces the upcoming song contest, at which she will preside, "dass du des Festes Fürstin seist" (that you will be the Princess of the Festival).

Scene 4 and Sängerkrieg (Song Contest). Elisabeth and the Landgrave watch the guests arrive. The guests assemble greeting the Landgrave and singing "Freudig begrüssen wir edle Halle" (With joy we greet the noble hall), take their places in a semicircle, with Elisabeth and the Landgrave in the seats of honour in the foreground. The Landgrave announces the contest and the theme, which shall be "Könnt ihr der Liebe Wesen mir ergründen?" (Can you explain the nature of Love?), and that the prize will be whatever the winner asks of Elisabeth. The knights place their names in a cup from which Elisabeth draws the first singer, Wolfram. Wolfram sings a trite song of courtly love and is applauded, but Tannhäuser chides him for his lack of passion. There is consternation, and once again Elisabeth appears confused, torn between rapture and anxiety. Biterolf accuses him of blasphemy and speaks of "Frauenehr und hohe Tugend" (women's virtue and honour). The knights draw their swords as Tannhäuser mocks Biterolf, but the Landgrave intervenes to restore order. However, Tannhäuser, as if in a trance, rises to his feet and sings a song of ecstatic love to Venus, "Dir Göttin der Liebe, soll mein Lied ertönen" (To thee, Goddess of Love, will my song be raised). There is general horror as it is realised he has been in the Venusberg; the women, apart from Elisabeth, flee. She appears pale and shocked, while the knights and the Landgrave gather together and condemn Tannhäuser to death. Only Elisabeth, shielding him with her body, saves him, "Haltet ein!" (Stop!). She states that God's will is that a sinner shall achieve salvation through atonement. Tannhäuser collapses as all hail Elisabeth as an angel, "Ein Engel stieg aus lichtem Äther" (An angel comes to us from the realm of light). He promises to seek atonement, the Landgrave exiles him and orders him to join another younger band of pilgrims then assembling. All depart, crying Nach Rom! (To Rome!).

In the "Paris" version, the song contest is somewhat shortened, possibly because of the lack of suitable soloists for the Paris production.

Act 3

The valley of the Wartburg, in autumn. Elisabeth is kneeling, praying before the Virgin as Wolfram comes down the path and notices her

Scene 1. Orchestral music describes the pilgrimage of Tannhäuser. It is evening. Wolfram muses on Elisabeth's sorrow during Tannhäuser's second absence, "Wohl wusst' ich hier sie im Gebet zu finden" (I knew well I might find her here in prayer) and her longing for the return of the pilgrims, and expresses concerns that he may not have been absolved. As he does so he hears a pilgrims' prayer in the distance, "Beglückt darf nun dich, O Heimat, ich schauen" (Joyfully now my homeland I behold). Elisabeth rises and she and Wolfram listen to the hymn, watching the pilgrims approach and pass by. She anxiously searches the procession, but in vain, realising sorrowfully he is not amongst them, "Er kehret nicht züruck!" (He has not returned). She again kneels with a prayer to the Virgin that appears to foretell her death, "Allmächt'ge Jungfrau! Hör mein Flehen" (Almighty Virgin, hear my plea!). On rising she sees Wolfram but motions him not to speak. He offers to escort her back to the Wartburg, but she again motions him to be still, and gestures that she is grateful for his devotion but her path leads to heaven. She slowly makes her way up the path alone.

Scene 2. Wolfram, left alone as darkness draws on and the stars appear, begins to play and sings a hymn to the evening star that also hints at Elisabeth's approaching death, "Wie Todesahnung Dämmrung deckt die Lande...O du mein holder Abendstern" (Like a premonition of death the twilight shrouds the earth... O thou my fair evening star).

Scene 3. It is now night. Tannhäuser appears, ragged, pale and haggard, walking feebly leaning on his staff. Wolfram suddenly recognises Tannhäuser, and startled challenges him, since he is exiled. To Wolfram's horror, Tannhäuser explains he is once again seeking the company of Venus. Wolfram tries to restrain him, at the same time expressing compassion and begging him to tell the story of his pilgrimage. Tannhäuser urges Wolfram to listen to his story, "Nun denn, hör an! Du, Wolfram, du sollst es erfahren" (Now then, listen! You, Wolfram, shall learn all that has passed). Tannhäuser sings of his penitence and suffering, all the time thinking of Elisabeth's gesture and pain, "Inbrunst im Herzen, wie kein Büsser noch" (With a flame in my heart, such as no penitent has known). He explains how he reached Rome, and the "Heiligtumes Schwelle" (Holy shrine), and witnessed thousands of pilgrims being absolved. Finally he approaches "ihn, durch den sich Gott verkündigt'" (he, through whom God speaks)[a] and tells his story. However, rather than finding absolution, he is cursed, "bist nun ewig du verdammt!" (you are forever damned!), and is told by the pope that "Wie dieser Stab in meiner Hand, nie mehr sich schmückt mit frischem Grün, kann aus der Hölle heissem Brand, Erlösung nimmer dir erblühn!" (As this staff in my hand, no more shall bear fresh leaves, from the hot fires of hell, salvation never shall bloom for thee). Whereupon, absolutely crushed, he fled, seeking his former source of bliss.

Having completed his tale, Tannhäuser calls out to Venus to take him back, "Zu dir, Frau Venus, kehr ich wieder" (To you, Lady Venus, I return). The two men struggle as a faint image of dancing becomes apparent. As Tannhäuser repeatedly calls on Venus, she suddenly appears and welcomes him back, "Willkommen, ungetreuer Mann!" (Welcome, faithless man!). As Venus continues to beckon, "Zu mir! Zu mir!" (To me!, To me!), in desperation, Wolfram suddenly remembers there is one word that can change Tannhäuser's heart, and exclaims "Elisabeth!" Tannhäuser, as if frozen in time, repeats the name. As he does so, torches are seen, and a funeral hymn is heard approaching, "Der Seele Heil, die nun entflohn" (Hail, the soul that now is flown). Wolfram realises it must be Elisabeth's body that is being borne, and that in her death lies Tannhäuser's redemption, "Heinrich, du bist erlöst!" (Heinrich, you are saved). Venus cries out, "Weh! Mir verloren" (Alas! Lost to me!) and vanishes with her kingdom. As dawn breaks the procession appears bearing Elisabeth's body on a bier. Wolfram beckons to them to set it down, and as Tannhäuser bends over the body uttering, "Heilige Elisabeth, bitte für mich!" (Holy Elisabeth!, pray for me!) he dies. As the growing light bathes the scene the younger pilgrims arrive bearing the pope's staff sprouting new leaves, and proclaiming a miracle, "Heil! Heil! Der Gnade Wunder Heil!" (Hail!, Hail! To this miracle of grace, Hail!). All then sing "Der Gnade Heil ist dem Büsser beschieden, er geht nun ein in der Seligen Frieden!" (The Holy Grace of God is to the penitent given, who now enters into the joy of Heaven!).

Venue Info

Vienna State Opera - Vienna
Location   Opernring 2

The Vienna State Opera is one of the leading opera houses in the world. Its past is steeped in tradition. Its present is alive with richly varied performances and events. Each season, the schedule features 350 performances of more than 60 different operas and ballets. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the Vienna State Opera's orchestra. The building is also the home of the Vienna State Ballet, and it hosts the annual Vienna Opera Ball during the carnival season.

The 1,709-seat Renaissance Revival venue was the first major building on the Vienna Ring Road. It was built from 1861 to 1869 following plans by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, and designs by Josef Hlávka. The opera house was inaugurated as the "Vienna Court Opera" (Wiener Hofoper) in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria. It became known by its current name after the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1921. The Vienna State Opera is the successor of the Vienna Court Opera, the original construction site chosen and paid for by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1861.

The opera house was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstrasse commissioned by the Viennese "city expansion fund". Work commenced on the house in 1861 and was completed in 1869, following plans drawn up by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll. It was built in the Neo-Renaissance style by the renowned Czech architect and contractor Josef Hlávka.

Gustav Mahler was one of the many conductors who have worked in Vienna. During his tenure (1897–1907), Mahler cultivated a new generation of singers, such as Anna Bahr-Mildenburg and Selma Kurz, and recruited a stage designer who replaced the lavish historical stage decors with sparse stage scenery corresponding to modernistic, Jugendstil tastes. Mahler also introduced the practice of dimming the lighting in the theatre during performances, which was initially not appreciated by the audience. However, Mahler's reforms were maintained by his successors.

Herbert von Karajan introduced the practice of performing operas exclusively in their original language instead of being translated into German. He also strengthened the ensemble and regular principal singers and introduced the policy of predominantly engaging guest singers. He began a collaboration with La Scala in Milan, in which both productions and orchestrations were shared. This created an opening for the prominent members of the Viennese ensemble to appear in Milan, especially to perform works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Richard Strauss.

Ballet companies merge

At the beginning of the 2005–2006 season, the ballet companies of the Staatsoper and the Vienna Volksoper were merged under the direction of Gyula Harangozó.

From the 2010–2011 season a new company was formed called Wiener Staatsballet, Vienna State Ballet, under the direction of former Paris Opera Ballet principal dancer Manuel Legris. Legris eliminated Harangozós's policy of presenting nothing but traditional narrative ballets with guest artists in the leading roles, concentrated on establishing a strong in-house ensemble and restored evenings of mixed bill programs, featuring works of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, and many contemporary choreographers, as well as a reduced schedule of the classic ballets.

Opera ball

For many decades, the opera house has been the venue of the Vienna Opera Ball. It is an internationally renowned event, which takes place annually on the last Thursday in Fasching. Those in attendance often include visitors from around the world, especially prominent names in business and politics. The opera ball receives media coverage from a range of outlets.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Vienna, Austria
Starts at: 18:00
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