In Richard Wagner’s masterpiece, Tannhäuser draws his artistic inspiration from experiencing polar opposites: the pleasure he experiences in an underground grotto, and the asceticism he experiences on his pilgrimage to Rome. He also loves women who are polar opposites to one another, and searches for a way to combine these two opposites to form a unified whole: Tannhäuser wants the sensual Venus to have Elisabeth’s chastity, whereas he wants the chaste Elisabeth to have Venus’s sensuousness. Stage Director Vilppu Kiljunen tells about his production: Our version of Tannhäuser is a mixture of its Paris and Dresden versions. My approach to the staging was built around a central question: the conditions that make love and loving possible in a cultural context, where the idea and role of a woman is violentely divided into that of a saint or a whore.
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