Tannhäuser, is the third Wagner's opera that NCPA has produced, following Der Fliegende Holländer and Lohengrin. European opera director Pier' Alli serving as the director and the stage designer leads the team that produced Norma for NCPA to create elaborate stage design for this production. Reputed for the original and farsighted creation concepts, he uses lots of symbolic elements in stage design and character portrayal, perfectly presenting the salvation theme in Tannhäuser.
In the early 13th century, in Thuringen, Germany. Tannhäuser who is a knight and minstrel spends time with Venus who is the Goddess of lust. But Tannhäuser has been tired of the life with Venus. Thus, he leaves the forbidden place, Venusberg.
Tannhäuser goes back to reality, which is a place near the castle of Wartburg. Some friends of Tannhäuser asks him where he has been until now. Tannhäuser refuses to answer their questions, and he attempts to leave. Then, one of his friends, Wolfram, reminds him that Elisabeth, Tannhäuser's lover, has been waiting for him for a long time. Act II
Landgrave Hermann holds a song contest In Wartburg castle, and declares that the winner will be awarded the prize given by his daughter, Elisabeth. Among a lot of nobles and knights, Hermann gives challengers the theme of their song - "Can you explain the nature of Love"? Wolfram sings that the nature of love is Platonic. But, Tannhäuser sings that it is the pleasures of lust, and he praises Venus. The audience knows that Tannhäuser once visited Venus in the forbidden place, Venusberg. All people insist he should be banished. However, Elisabeth appeals to them to stop. She asserts that she is the one who is hurt most deeply. Landgrave Hermann orders Tannhäuser to visit the Pope in order to pay for what he has done.
Several months later, Elisabeth doesn't find Tannhäuser among pilgrims from Rome. So, she decides to go to heaven. Then, Tannhäuser comes back from Rome, and he tells his friend, Wolfram, that he attempts to visit Venus again. Wolfram stops him. Then, the coffin, in which Elisabeth is laid, is carried passed them. Shocked to see her, Tannhäuser takes his last breath and dies, but his soul is saved. That is to say, Elisabeth's death brings about his salvation.