Wagner: Tannhäuser

Opera 100

Here we write a 100-word précis of numerous opera plots. This is an ongoing and serendipitous series, the idea being to present the storyline in an instant.

Wagner: Tannhäuser

by: Alexander Campbell

Tannhäuser escapes Venus’s realm of bacchanalian excess. Wolfram leads him to the Wartburg, reuniting him with Elisabeth, the Landgrave’s niece. Minstrel knights then sing of Love’s purity, provoking Tannhäuser to recklessly extol carnality and the Venusberg. Elisabeth protects him from the scandalised knight’s swords. The Landgrave expels him until he gains Papal absolution. The mournful Elisabeth rejects Wolfram’s advances. Encountering Tannhäuser, Wolfram hears of the Pope’s damnation. Venus returns to claim Tannhäuser, but Wolfram reveals Elisabeth’s fidelity to him as her funeral procession passes. Tannhäuser invokes Elisabeth’s heavenly intercession. Pilgrims reveal the Papal staff has flowered – thus Tannhäuser is redeemed.

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