Conductor: Hilary Griffiths
Stage director: Andrejs Žagars
Sets: Reinis Suhanovs
Costumes: Kristine Pasternaka
Lighting design: Kevin Wyn Jones
Chorus master: Pavel Vaněk
Dramaturgy: Beno Blachut
State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra
Premiere: January 11 and 14, 2014
In his Romantic opera Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg (Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg Castle), as its full title reads, Richard Wagner brought together several sources and themes, treating the story of the Minnesinger Tannhäuser, the singers’ contest at Wartburg Castle and the historical figure of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia. Noteworthy is the fact that Wagner was inspired by the Czech castle Střekov, which he had visited in June 1842. Tannhäuser was premiered on 19 October 1845 in Dresden with the composer conducting and the titular role portrayed by the Czech tenor Josef Tichatschek (Josef Alois Ticháček). The opera was first performed in the Czech lands on 25 November 1854 at the Estates Theatre under the baton of František Škroup. A significant chapter in Tannhäuser’s final version was played by its staging in Paris in 1861. Wagner partially revised the work, for instance the second scene in Act 1 – at the Venusberg. He further amended the opera for its performances in Munich (1867) and Vienna (1875), with these changes considered the definitive (“Fassung letzter Hand“), even though the Paris version is often deemed to be the final one. One of the work’s major motifs is the contrast between sensual love, represented by Venus, and the pure love of Elisabeth. A similar theme appeared in Wagner’s final opera, Parsifal. The opera is a real feast for the audience owing to a host of impressive and well-known passages (the Overture, Tannhäuser’s songs, the arrival of guests at Wartburg Castle, Wolfram’s song to the evening star, Elisabeth’s scene, etc.).
The State Opera most recently hosted Tannhäuser twenty years ago. Our new production will mark the bicentenary of Wagner’s birth and 130 years since his death.
Photo: Hana Smejkalová
The opera is stage in german original version and english and czech surtitles are used in the performance.
Duration of the performance 4 hours, 2 intermissions