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NCPA stages Wagner's romantic opera

CCTV.com

04-07-2016 18:56 BJT

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised. Yet, it is his romantic operas that really put him center stage. Julian Waghann joins in at the premiere of "Tannhauser" at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts.  

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Venus, the God of Love and her enchanting sirens on the one hand... and eulogizing pilgrims on the other. The struggle between sacred love and profane love is at the heart of the opera "Tannhauser". Bemused rather than enlightened by the two loves, the titular character, a poet, embarks on an inner journey to find salvation.

And it's through Elizabeth, Tannhauser's mortal love, that the distressed poet finds redemption.

"It's also special character in Wagner where the woman is saving the men with her life, with her being," said Barbara Haveman, Soprano.

Yet, not so much the case in the real life of Richard Wagner. He passed much of his career in exile and died from a heart attack -- the result of an argument with his second wife over his affair with another woman.

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Wilhem Richard Wagner is not only one of the few composers to have built his own theater during his lifetime, he also boasts an epic repertoire to keep the curtain raised.

Unlike most opera composers, Wagner wrote both the libretto and music for each of his operas. He was also a conductor for many of his own works. "Tannhauser" first opened under the baton of the maestro himself.

The opera premiered at the Dresden Royal Theater in 1845. However, Wagner was never satisfied with it, and made many revisions throughout his life.... Until this day, the opera remains a work in progress.

The current production is mostly based on the Paris Opera version, one of three versions staged today. But conductor Lyu Jia prefers the original Dresden premiere version. 

"Dresden version is really fantastic because it follows Wagner's way of how to make opera...because Wagner says 'my music is not for entertainment, it's for listening and thinking,'" said Lyu Jia, principal conductor, NCPA.

And if you're game to tinker with the senses as well as the mind, "Tannhauser" is currently running at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts through April 10th.

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