A LIFE IN EXCEPTIONAL CONDITIONS
Tannhauser has had enough, that runs through his life: he had enough of the medieval knights and their narrow view of life, especially of their prohibitions; and so he went to the Hörselberg near Eisenach (forbidden!) and experienced sensual love with the pagan goddess Venus, ad nauseam. And then: he had enough, again. This is where the opera begins. Venus becomes intrusive and tries to persuade her mortal pleasure boy to stay; Tannhäuser calls for the Mother of God, Mary, and immediately Venus and her grotto are gone and he is in a lovely valley. By chance he meets the knights he had once left, reconciles with them, and promises to take part in the upcoming song festival at the Wartburg. The winner gets Elisabeth, the niece of the landgrave, as his wife,
NO SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE!
But he's already had enough at the singing festival! The minstrels are supposed to sing about love and they have no idea about it. He, Tannhauser, is the only one who knows her, and his own contribution leads to the confession that he has experienced love. Before marriage! A huge scandal. Elisabeth succeeds in having her designated bridegroom move to Rome with the pilgrims present to repent. Will the Pope forgive him?
Richard Wagner himself, the creator of the operatic total work of art and the infinite melody, targeted himself several times because he did not write any “real” arias that can be sung straight away, such as Verdi's “La donna é mobile”. For the Tannhäuser is not true: Wolfram "Oh my gracious evening star" is just as well known as Elizabeth "like expensive hall, I greet again," the two pilgrims choirs and the beginning of the overture. If you can "indulge" in Wagner, then in this opera!