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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

Tannhäuser, Richard Wagner

“Tannhäuser stands between two dimensions because he has no dimension of his own,” says Romeo Castellucci, star director and designer of the Salzburg Easter Festival’s new edition of Richard Wagner’s Minstrel’s Tragedy. “Tannhäuser’s dimension is the mistake. It’s his defining characteristic. He’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. In my production, I work with images that are universal, defying explanation. Tannhäuser is a hunted man.” A stunning teaser on the festival Web site corroborates Castellucci’s chat in ways that are as powerful as they are bewildering. On the musical front, the riveting Jonas Kaufmann assays the notoriously taxing title role for the first time, opposite Marlis Petersen as the saintly Elisabeth and Elīna Garanča as Venus—yes, that Venus. Andris Nelsons conducts Leipzig’s celebrated Gewandhausorchester. On that same teaser, Nelsons says that Tannhäuser was his first opera, that as a devout little seven-year-old Roman Catholic, he was mesmerized by its treatment of sin and salvation, and that it was the experience that opened his eyes to the fact that he wanted to be a conductor. Should be quite a night. —M.G.

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