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VIDEO: Gwyneth Jones stars as Venus and Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's 'Tannhauser'

Gwyneth Jones stars as Venus and Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's 'Tannhauser'
Gwyneth Jones stars as Venus and Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's 'Tannhauser'



Gwyneth Jones is my goddess. I wish I had the chance to see her live at least once in my life. And wow, she's a workaholic! Aside from still being active at age 80 and adding more opera roles this 2016, she's also directed some stage productions and is the President of Wagner Society in UK.

"...it wasn't her priority of the top [notes] that damaged her voice but her recklessness... Jones is legendary for NEVER having cancelled a single performance (even when she should have). In the early 1970's she had a spectacularly busy schedule during which she sang through pregnancy and a car accident which temporarily dislocated her Vertebrae.

She didn't rest at all during this time and I think that in moments when she felt that the voice was at less than its best, her response was to push the voice in order to make it do what she wanted. Regardless, she lasted longer than any of her contemporaries and most the women who came before her."

Gwyneth Jones stars as Venus and Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's 'Tannhauser'

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Tannhauser
by Richard Wagner

Gwyneth Jones
as Venus (Act 1 and 3)
as Elisabeth (Act 2 and 3)

Spas Wenkoff
as Tannhauser

Bernd Weikl
as Wolfram

Hans Sotin
as Landgrave

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra
Conducted by Sir Colin Davis


These uploads are only excerpts that I felt would be best appreciated by those who haven't heard the opera yet, or are not familiar with opera music.

Also, I did a crop so that the final output would have a movie aspect ratio. The subtitles, re-interpreted and manually encoded by yours truly, were intentionally but inside the bottom black bar so that they would not smother the beautiful scenes.

Enhancements to the audio were also applied.

Gwyneth Jones stars as Venus and Elisabeth in Richard Wagner's 'Tannhauser'

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Synopsis


Act 1

The opera begins with an overture, then a bacchanal (Venusberg Music). The next scene that follows is a dialogue between Venus, a goddess in the underworld, and Tannhauser. He expresses his appreciation for her welcoming him, a mere mortal, into the realm that even gods would envy. However, he misses his earthly world and wishes to leave the place. Venus attempts to woo him to stay, but to no success. 




Act 2

The first scene opens with Elisabeth merrily relishing her moments in a music hall, after not being there for a long time. It was because Tannhauser left a long time ago that she lost her passion for music. He finally returns and what follows is the 'Arrival of the Guests'. During the singing contest, Tannhauser reveals his adventures in the underworld and the crowd was appalled with what they heard. They banish him from the land and Tannhauser sets on a pilgrimage to Rome to find pardon from God.




Act 3

Elisabeth  had been waiting for Tannhauser to return safely. The pilgrims return home in the 'Pilgrims' Chorus' scene. She doesn't find him, and assumes something bad happened to him. Later, Tannhauser re-appears dejected because he was cursed by everyone. He has no other choice but to summon Venus and return to Venusberg, but Wolfram stops him. A chorus can be heard in the background, lamenting that Elisabeth had died and went to heaven to plead with God so that He would grant pardon for Tannhauser's soul. Her prayer was heard, and a miracle happened: fresh green leaves suddenly began sprouting in the barren pilgrim's staff! Tannhauser falls to the ground, lifeless.




What do you expect from an opera... a happy ending?



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