Tannhäuser closes the Tenerife Opera season

Pedro Halffter's performance of Tannhäuser, inspired by the work of Richard Wagner, will bring the season of Tenerife Opera to a close, with the participation of more than 130 people on the stage of the Auditorium of Tenerife.

Tannhäuser’, a symphonic poem in three parts for choir and large orchestra based on the opera of the same name by Richard Wagner, closes the season of Tenerife Opera this weekend.

It will take place from 19.30 in the Auditorium’s Symphonic Hall with the participation of more than 130 people on stage: 78 musicians from the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and 60 voices from the Tenerife Opera Choir – Intermezzo under the direction of Pedro Halffter, author of the proposal which maintains the solemnity and legendary Wagnerian spirit.

This version by the Madrid-born conductor and composer, who comes to Tenerife after conducting ‘Madame Butterfly’ at the Canadian Opéra de Montréal, adapts the original production, which lasts more than three hours, into a 90-minute concert.

For Halffter, who conducted ‘Florence in the Amazon’ last season, ‘Tannhäuser’ is “one of the most marvellous works in the entire operatic repertoire” that he has had the opportunity to conduct on many occasions.

It took him two years of work to produce this symphonic poem with which he wanted to bring the work of the German master to life in a versatile way, and which was premiered in February 2020 in the symphonic hall of the Miguel Delibes Cultural Centre in Valladolid.

This concert is divided into three sections: Der Venusberg (On the Mountain of Venus), Auf der Wartburg (At the Wartburg Castle) and Tannhäusers Pilgerfahrt (Tannhäuser’s Pilgrimage). “Wagner’s music is extraordinarily moving and I hope that this version will make you feel the grandeur of the opera Tannhäuser,” Halffter wishes.

The libretto of the opera brings together several medieval legends, all based on historical characters. The plot centres on Tannhäuser, a knight and troubadour who enjoys carnal pleasures on the Venusberg, or Mount Venus, where he has lived for some time, seduced by the goddess of love. At one point, he decides to return to the world because he misses the love felt by other mortals.

He returns to the castle where his beloved Elisabeth lives and takes part in a singing competition, the prize for which is the hand of his beloved. When Tannhäuser sings his song, in which he praises the carnal love he experienced on the Venusberg, all those present, overwhelmed, accuse him of being a blasphemer and an abominable sinner. The knights prepare to cut him down with their swords, but Elisabeth stands in the way and pleads for mercy, hoping that Tannhäuser will return to God. Suddenly a chorus of young pilgrims is heard passing near the castle. Tannhäuser runs to join them and cries “To Rome!”, the only place where he can find forgiveness.

But Tannhäuser returns from the Italian capital devastated that the pope has refused him absolution, saying that just as his old staff will never bloom, so he will never be forgiven for his horrible sin. Tannhäuser declares that he wishes only to return to the arms of Venus. The goddess appears and he goes to her until a friend reminds him of Elisabeth’s name. Venus vanishes and a procession approaches with the coffin of his beloved. He begs Elisabeth’s limp body to pray for him and dies on the spot. At that moment the pilgrims’ choir approaches again, carrying the Pope’s crozier in full bloom: God had forgiven Tannhäuser.

Pedro Halffter has conducted on prestigious stages such as the Musikverein in Vienna, Konzerthaus in Berlin, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, Théâtre du Chatelet in Paris, Teatro Real in Madrid, NCPA in Beijing, Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and the Teatro Verdi in Trieste. He has also worked with such notable orchestras as the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Staatskapelle Berlin, Dresdner Philharmonie, Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the most important Spanish symphony orchestras.

He has been artistic director of the Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla, Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, principal guest conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker and principal conductor of the Bayreuth Festival Youth Orchestra. He has recorded for such prominent record labels as Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Music and Warner Classics.

Ópera de Tenerife is an initiative of The Island Council -through the Tenerife Auditorium-, sponsored by the Instituto Canario de Desarrollo Cultural del Gobierno de Canarias and the Instituto Nacional de Artes Escénicas y Música (INAEM) of the Government of Spain.

Tickets can be purchased on the website, at the box office from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 17.00 hours and Saturdays from 10.00 to 14.00 hours and by calling 902 317 327 during the same hours. Discounts are available for under 30s, students, unemployed, large families and groups of more than five people.

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