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(Wagner: Tannhäuser). Ten. A knight who has been lured away from the Wartburg by the beautiful Venus. He is now tired of the eternal debauchery in the Venusberg and would like to return to normal life, forgiven for his sin of giving in to temptation. The Landgrave and other Minnesingers whom he left, pass by and recognize him. They tell him that the Landgrave's niece, Elisabeth, has been unhappy since his departure and he agrees to return with them and take part in a singing contest, for which the prize will be Elisabeth's hand in marriage. The other contestants sing of the moral aspects of love, but Tannhäuser, remembering life at the Venusberg, sings of the sensual pleasures he experienced with Venus. The other knights threaten him with their swords, but Elisabeth steps between them. The Landgrave advises him to follow the pilgrims to Rome and beg forgiveness from the Pope. Elisabeth awaits his return, but he does not come with the other returning pilgrims and, exhausted, she prepares to die, while Wolfram waits outside to greet Tannhäuser. He arrives, tired and unhappy—the Pope has refused him absolution and he sees no alternative but to return to Venus. Wolfram tells him how Elisabeth prayed for him. Her funeral procession passes, and Tannhäuser falls down on her coffin and dies. Arias: Ha, jetzt erkenne ich sie wieder die schöne Welt (‘Ha, now again I see the beautiful world’); duet (with Elisabeth): Gepriesen sei die Stunde (‘Blessed hour of meeting’); Inbrunst im Herzen (‘The heat within my heart’—Tannhäuser's Narration). Created (1845) by Joseph Tichatschek (who had created Rienzi in Dresden three years earlier).

Subjects: Opera.

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