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Opera Daily 🎶 — Overtures are the appetizers of the opera world
This week's Opera Daily features the overture from the Wagner's opera Tannhäuser
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As the orchestra is tuning their instruments, I can't help but feel a sense of excitement in the air.
The first notes fill the room. I close my eyes, letting the music sweep me away. It’s as if I'm transported to another world where anything is possible.
I lose myself in the music for what seems like hours, until finally it comes to an end. I open my eyes, and applause fills the room. It was even more beautiful than I imagined.
This is what it felt like when I first heard the overture from Wagner’s opera Tannhäuser.
🎧 Listening Example (15 minute listen): Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Overture, Wiener Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Conductor, 1988
The overture from the opera Tannhäuser is one of the most popular pieces of classical music ever written. It was composed by Richard Wagner in 1845 and is based on the medieval legend of the knight Tannhäuser and the maiden Venus.
The overture starts with a slow, solemn introduction, which represents Tannhäuser’s journey to Venusberg, the home of Venus. The main body of the overture is much faster and more exciting, depicting the knight’s passionate love for Venus. Finally, the music returns to the slow, solemn introduction as Tannhäuser realizes the error of his ways and returns home to his true love, Elizabeth.
This overture is excellent one because it gives a taste of what’s to come, hinting at the characters and story lines explored throughout the rest of the work.
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PS. If you missed last week’s selection, we featured the Bregenzer Festspiele and Lake Constance, the world's largest lake stage.
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