synopsis of my interpretation of "Tannhaeuser"

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synopsis of my interpretation of "Tannhaeuser"

Post by alberich00 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:44 am

Dear members and visitors to's discussion forum:

Well over a decade ago I posted an introduction to the content and scope of my prospective book on Wagner's seven repertory operas and music-dramas from "The Flying Dutchman" through "Parsifal" (the four-part "Ring" reckoned here as a single work), "The Wound That Will Never Heal," at Included in this introduction were thumbnail sketches of my interpretations of all seven works, so that readers could obtain an overview of how I construe these artworks as conceived by Wagner within one single conceptual frame of reference. I am posting in this discussion forum my synopses of Wagner's seven canonic operas and music-dramas, from 'Dutchman" through "Parsifal," so readers can see in brief how I relate one artwork to another in context.

Here is my synopsis of my interpretation of "Tannhaeuser":

Tannhaeuser introduced the concept that the inspired artist might unwittingly reveal the true source of his unconscious artistic inspiration in his artwork (Tannhaeuser’s unwitting revelation of his sojourn in the Venusberg – previously forgotten by him - during his contest-song), with tragic consequences. Tannhaeuser’s involuntary revelation of the secret of religio-artistic inspiration, which seemingly betrays his love for Elizabeth, exposes the true source of man’s longing for spiritual value, in man’s physical, sensual nature (one of Feuerbach’s key propositions). This is the “inner” basis for Siegfried’s and Tristan’s betrayals of Bruennhilde and Isolde, respectively (though outwardly Wagner obtained this plot element from his various sources in legend and myth). Siegfried - like Tannhaeuser when performing his contest-song - reveals the secret of his unconscious artistic inspiration (Siegfried’s seemingly illicit relationship with his muse Bruennhilde) while narrating the story of his life under Hagen’s influence. Tannhaeuser’s influence on the plots of Twilight of the Gods, Tristan and Isolde, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg, and Parsifal is considered in detail.
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