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Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne


Sung in German with English surtitles.

Running time

Approximately 4 hours, including two intervals.

Before Eurovision, there was the Wartburg Song Contest. Eurovision could only wish for this much drama!

Imagine basking in the adoration of Venus herself. Our minstrel-knight Tannhäuser has found a paradise of passion and pleasure with the goddess of love and beauty. Life is perfect. Until, he gets bored – and homesick.

Venus banishes him. Much to the joy of his friends and former love Elisabeth, Tannhäuser finds himself in Wartburg and enters the upcoming song contest. Only, he is unable to forget the sensuous realm of Venusberg, and praises Venus in song. Horrified, the crowd turns on him, insisting he atone for his sins with a pilgrimage. Elisabeth prays for his soul as Tannhäuser seeks salvation in Rome. Will he be absolved, or are Venus’ charms impossible to resist?

Understatement was never in Wagner’s vocabulary. His works are epic in scale, mythical of storyline, and radical in their orchestration. Tannhäuser is no exception.

From its thrilling overture to its shattering climax, Wagner’s exploration of love, religion and redemption through German folklore has fascinated and entranced audiences since its scandalous premiere.

Presented in concert at Arts Centre Melbourne, Wagner’s magnificent orchestrations are conducted by Johannes Fritzsch and gloriously played by Orchestra Victoria. Featuring our own “Pilgrim’s Chorus”, the Opera Australia Chorus, this is ‘Romantic grand opera’ at its legendary best.

Cast & Creative

Lighting Designer
Chorus Master
Landgraf Hermann
Wolfram von Eschenbach
Walther von der Vogelweide
Heinrich der Schreiber
Reinmar von Zweter
Four Pages

Opera Australia Chorus
Orchestra Victoria

Wagner's Tannhäuser

Cheat Sheet: Tannhäuser

A guide to Wagner’s opera of sex, seduction and song contests.

Read the cheat sheet
Amber Wagner and Stefan Vinke in Tannhauser

Meet the Singers

Get to know the singers who will be performing in Wagner’s epic tale of love and redemption that demands vocal beauty and vast reserves of stamina.

Find out more


The action takes place in Thuringia and the Wartburg, where, during the thirteenth century, the Landgrave of Thuringia held court. He was a lover of art, especially of poetry and music, and at the Wartburg many song contests between the famous minnesingers took place. 

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