How R. Wagner imagined his Tannhauser
The role of Tannhäuser from the opera of the same name is thoroughly considered by the author of the article in context of the «total work of art» forming conception. Today a hero of such work is usually called as «Wagnerian» or «Heroic tenor». For all the diversity of unique composer’s interpretations, the distinct feature of all Wagnerian «Heroic tenor» roles is opposition to some «crowd»; the hero towers above this one as outstanding personality. Wagner had elaborated the character of Tannhäuser with unprecedented thoroughness, carefully selecting, combining and rethinking poetic sources. In his conception, Tannhäuser is an extremely active, vigorous character, keenly reacting to the situations and theirs abrupt changes. Hence it springs the exceptional vocal and dramatic difficulties of the role, as well as its fundamental distinction from the dramatic tenor roles in the operas by G. Meyerbeer and other composers that were Wagner’s contemporaries. Emotional logic of the character’s development and the ways of its musical realization are traced in the article on the material of two most important episodes from the role of Tannhauser, such as: the «Hymn to Venus» (the 1st act) and the Finale of the 2nd act (this episodes are conceptually associated with each other). Musicological and performing analysis proceeding by the researcher is supplemented with commentaries and recommendations by the composer, who for a period of many years had been making without success to supply singers and stage directors with the hidden «key» to the perusal of his opera.
R. Wagner, «Tannhauser», opera theatre, «total work of art», heroic tenor, singer-actor.