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Bayreuth Festival (pt. 3 of 3)

Three acts of "Tannhäuser," three Concert Hours; we'll wrap up our Bayeuth trilogy this hour.

A tale of saints and sinners, virtue and voluptuousness, good and evil: Richard Wagner’s "Tannhäuser" incorporates opposing principles, with the title character caught in the middle, torn between extremes. In this and the past two weeks, we’ve been delving into that story both medieval and modern, and into the performance from opening day of this year's Wagner festival in Bayreuth. This time, highlights from Act Three. We’ll also go behind the stage where Wagner himself once worked, underneath and above it too, in an exclusive tour of the Festspielhaus in Bayreuth.

Richard Wagner

The action in the third act of "Tannhäuser," act three: Elisabeth hopes for Tannhäuser’s salvation. Pilgrims return from Rome, but he's not among them. She then asks to be taken from this earth, that she may intercede for Tannhäuser's in the afterlife. Wolfram sings an ode to the Evening Star, and to now St. Elisabeth. A man struggles onto the scene: Tannhäuser. After a pilgrimage of many hardships, the Pope had refused to grant him absolution for his sins. Having enjoyed the pleasures of Venus Mountain, said the Pope, “Salvation will be granted only on the day my wooden staff sprouts green.” Now wanting to return to Venus and her sensual comforts, Tannhäuser calls out her name, and she appears. Wolfram asks, "But what about Elisabeth?” Venus vanishes. A funeral procession brings in Elisabeth’s corpse. Tannhäuser cries out to her soul, may she pray for him. Pilgrims present a staff just like the Pope's, which has now sprouted a green twig. The miracle has come to pass.

Camilla Nyland

Camilla Nyland as Elisabeth

Richard Wagner
TANNHÄUSER, act three (excerpts)
Torsten Kerl, tenor (Tannhäuser)
Camilla Nylund, soprano (Elisabeth)
Michelle Breedt, mezzo-soprano (Venus)
Markus Eiche, baritone (Wolfram)
Bayreuth Festival Chorus
Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Conductor: Axel Kober
Recorded by Radio Bavaria in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on July 25, 2014

Rebroadcasting rights: one broadcast no later than December 31, 2014

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