Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • Tannhauser
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February 9-March 6, 2015
New-to-Chicago Production

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  • by Richard Wagner
  • In German with projected English texts
  • Approximate running time: 4hrs, 11 min


Only gods can live in endless bliss.

Tannhäuser, minstrel and renegade, is lured into the erotic realm of the love goddess Venus. There he luxuriates in lust and a host of sinful pleasures. But finally it's all too much. He longs to return home, and does — to friends, rules of Christian conduct, and most of all, to Elisabeth, the warm but chaste young woman who loves him, despite the grief he's caused. Desperate for absolution, Tannhäuser joins his fellow pilgrims, journeying to Rome to ask forgiveness for his sins. But once you've been to the Venusberg, you can never truly leave.

Sir Andrew Davis is on the podium for this monumental vocal, choral, and orchestral event.

Savor the famous overture, the frenzied bacchanal with its sexy ballet, the sublime "Song to the Evening Star," the stirring "Pilgrims' Chorus," and more, in a remarkable work that transfixes audiences with both its sensuality and its majestic power.

Lyric Opera presentation generously made possible by an Anonymous Donor and the NIB Foundation with additional support by Marion A. Cameron.


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  • Johan Botha


    Johan Botha

    Today's most lauded Tannhäuser, Johan Botha "is a marvel" (The Guardian). His command of this killer role "is almost unbelievable."

  • Amber Wagner


    Amber Wagner

    Expect an incandescent Elisabeth from Amber Wagner, "with her luscious outpouring of sound and a voice that reminds me of Jessye Norman in her prime." Chicago Tribune

  • Michaela Schuster


    Michaela Schuster

    Michaela Schuster (a show-stopping villainess in Lyric's 2011 Lohengrin) "is superb as the seductive Venus." The Telegraph 

  • Gerald Finley


    Gerald Finley

    Riveting as Oppenheimer in Lyric's Doctor Atomic, Gerald Finley is acclaimed on major stages everywhere because "he is extraordinary both vocally and dramatically." The Guardian

  • John Relyea


    John Relyea

    John Relyea: "His sonorous bass-baritone is beautiful, and he gives audiences performances of hair-raising vocal and emotional power."
    The Scotsman

Tannhauser - Johan Botha 

Johan Botha

Tannhauser - Amber Wagner 

Amber Wagner† †

Tannhauser - Michaela Schuster 

Michaela Schuster

Tannhauser - Gerald Finley 

Gerald Finley

Tannhauser - John Relyea 

John Relyea

Tannhauser - Sir Andrew Davis 

Sir Andrew Davis


Tim Albery*

Tannhauser - Michael Levine 

Set Designer
Michael Levine


Costume Designer
Jon Morrell*


Lighting Designer
David Finn

Tannhauser - Michael Black 

Chorus Master
Michael Black


Jasmin Vardimon*

*Lyric Debut
† † Alumna, Ryan Opera Center

Tannhäuser Audio Preview

Music director Sir Andrew Davis shares the synopsis and excerpts from Wagner's Tannhäuser. Recordings used by permission of EMI Classics.