Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stefan Herheim's Tannhäuser - first pics

Yours Truly will try and go to the (outrageously expensive) city of Oslo to see the new Herheim's production of Tannhäuser, premiered last night at Den Norske Opera.

No news or reviews so far... Only a few sneak-pics from a Polish blogger in Oslo who we thank "Dziękuję Roberto!" [and yes, we thank Google Translate too, for letting us understand Polish & Norwegian ;)]

See inside this entry for updates...

Errrr.... looks like Tannhauser is a guitarist in the Salvation Army (?)

Tannhauser standing in an empty shell from the Botticelli's Birth of Venus (?)

This is so typically Herheim... a collage of images that unfold two stories none of which is parallel to the one you can find in the libretto. This is what disturbs many and what we like the most from SH :) 

Two reviews appeared in and Kultiversum - this Tannhauser is a musical pilgrimage worthy production.

As expected, Herheim detached the action from its religious background and attached it to the world of Opera by focusing onto the question of Art and Opera (How to produce a genuine Opera?!) The story has obviously very little in common with the heavy issues addressed in a conventionally staged Tannhauser.  He tackles many serious issues though, but in a joyous manner.  The notes that it's extremely rare to see the German critics watch a Wagner opera and chuckle joyously during the show. 

The stage resembles the Norwegian Opera house, suggesting from the outset that it is an opera about Opera. Venus represents the world of magical, inventive and even comical side of Opera, but eventually immature. That side is not tolerated in the conservative/traditional/religious Wartburg. When Tannhauser returns to Wartburg as a rootless singer he's rejected, and goes to the Salvation Army, to a hostel for homeless people... 
Tannhauser will later realize that neither sensuality nor organized religion offers solution to anything. 

Through the show runs also a warning not to let something as important as art and all its issues disappear into pure aesthetics. The ending is apparently closer to Mozart than Wagner...

The critics also praise the extreme musicality of Herheim's staging (that's one of the reasons why we love his productions!) 

I wonder what would happen if Herheim produced a show deconstructed like this in Paris [as ultra-conservative as it is right now], or in New York. There would be a riot of enraged old people, no less ;-)

 I've never heard BR Klassik praising this much an opera production that dared to go far from the naive/literal reading of the libretto. The first review from yesterday were pretty misleading.

This Tannhauser is first a story about life, then about Opera, and then about the Art-Life interplay...

The reviews in Dagsavisen and NRK  are much more informative and closer to what I believe would be my understanding of Herheim's work.
They also contain the following pics taken by Erik Berg:





+ 1 more interesting review Oslopuls
And one more photo by Erik Berg 

Austrian  der Standard and Wiener Zeitung loved it :)



Excellent paper in Nordbayerischer kurier.


  1. Well, it's to the credit of Paul Curran, DNO's Artistic Director, to have commissioned this production.

  2. Oh it most definitely is. Paul da man! ;)
    [btw, he's director too -- I remember his Daphne @ Fenice]

    I'm sure Heike Scheele deserves her share of props too...