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Tannhäuser, by Richard Wagner

Royal Opera House / London / Music

Lise Davidsen returns to the role of Elisabeth, the vehicle for her triumphant pre-pandemic debut at the Bayreuth Festival, the Wagnerite’s holy of holies. The opera is Tannhäuser, the tale of a medieval minstrel symbolically torn between the pagan goddess Venus and the (unseen) Virgin Mary. In his spiritual disarray, he breaks Elisabeth’s heart, yet she embraces her loss to intercede for his salvation. Roll one’s eyes as one may at the hoary gender stereotypes, the radiance and power of Davidsen’s soprano carry total conviction. Whizbang directors who can whip up an opening-night scandale are a dime a dozen. Voices like Davidsen’s, coupled with her communicative gifts, are the life’s blood of the art form, and those who possess them are the rarest of the rare. —M.G.

Royal Opera House Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD, UK
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