Tannhäuser, Bayreuth Festival, July 2019

In Wagner’s Tannhäuser the representation of the Venusberg scene, compounded by its subsequent appeal within Tannhäuser’s mind, is a perennial problem. But in Tobias Kratzer’s new production the nineteenth century image of a den of debauchery is replaced by an exhilarating, wildly modern approach with four misfits: Venus, a dwarf, a black drag queen, and Tannhäuser himself dressed as a clown. Tannhäuser bails out, but at the song contest in Act II the other three try to get him back, and the results are hilarious. I laughed out loud, as did everyone around me, and though it may sound gimmicky, the whole thing is combined in a seamless narrative — see my review in the Telegraph, 29 July 2019, p.22

Leave a Comment