The symphonic poem Tannhäuser inspired by the opera created by Richard Wagner is being performed this weekend


Tannhäuser, a symphonic poem in three movements for choir and orchestra, based on the opera of the same name by Richard Wagner, is the closing show of the Opera of Tenerife this weekend with the participation on stage of over 9 people [Friday 9 and Saturday 10]. It will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium's Symphony Hall with the participation on the stage of over 130 people: 78 musicians from the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and 60 voices from the Resident Choir of the Intermezzo-Tenerife Opera, conducted by Pedro Halffter, author of the proposal that maintains the solemnity and legendary spirit of Wagner.

This version by the Madrid conductor and composer, who is coming to Tenerife after conducting Madame Butterfly at the Canadian Opera of Montreal, adapts the original production which lasts for over three hours to make it a great 90-minute concert. For Halffter, who conducted Florencia in the Amazon last season, Tannhäuser is “one of the most wonderful works” that he has had the opportunity to conduct many times.

It took him two years of work to create this symphonic poem with which he wanted to bring people closer to the work of the German maestro in a versatile way and it premièred in February 2020 at the symphony hall of the Miguel Delibes Cultural Centre in Valladolid. The concert is divided into three movements:  Der Venusberg, Auf der Wartburg (The Wartburg), and Tannhäusers Pilgerfahrt (Tannhäuser's pilgrimage). “The music of Wagner is extraordinarily thrilling and I hope that this version will make people experience the grandeur of the opera Tannhäuser,” hopes Halffter.

The opera libretto brings together several medieval legends, all based on historical figures. The plot focuses on Tannhäuser, a knight and troubadour who enjoys carnal pleasures on Venusberg, or the Mountain of 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 that is felt by other mortals.

He returns to the castle where his beloved Elisabeth lives and takes part in a singing competition in which the prize is the hand of his sweetheart. When Tannhäuser sings his song and extols the carnal love he experienced on Venusberg, everyone present, overwhelmed, accuses him of blasphemy and of being an abominable sinner. The knights prepare to strike him down with their swords, but Elizabeth intervenes and pleads for mercy, as she trusts that Tannhäuser will return to God. Suddenly, a choir of young pilgrims passing close to the castle is heard. Tannhäuser runs to join them and shouts “To Rome!” the only place where he can find forgiveness.

However, Tannhäuser returns from the Italian capital desolate because the pope has refused him absolution saying that, just as his old staff will never bloom, nor will he obtain forgiveness for his terrible sin. Tannhäuser declares that he only wishes to return to the arms of Venus. The goddess appears, and he goes towards her until a friend reminds him of Elisabeth. Venus vanishes and a procession approaches with the coffin of his sweetheart. He pleads for the lifeless body of Elisabeth to be prayed for, and he dies instantly. At that point, the chorus of pilgrims approaches again, bearing the staff of the pope which has completely bloomed: God had forgiven Tannhäuser.

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

He worked as artistic director for the Maestranza Theatre of Seville, for the Real Orquesta Sinfónica of Seville, and the Orquesta Filarmónica of Gran Canaria. He was the main guest conductor of the Nürnberger Symphoniker and the main conductor of the Young Orchestra during the Bayreuth Festival. He has recorded for leading labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Music, and Warner Classics.

The Opera de Tenerife is an initiative organised by the Island Council through the Auditorio de Tenerife with the collaboration of the ICDC (Regional Institute of Cultural Development) and the INAEM (National Institute of Performing Arts and Music).

The tickets are available on the website, at the auditorium's box office or by dialling the number 902 317 327 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m. There are discounts for the audience under 30 years of age, students, unemployed, large families and groups of more than five people.