''Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg'' (or, in English, "Tannhäuser and the Song-Contest at the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wartburg_castle Wartburg Castle]]"), more commonly known as ''Tannhäuser'', is a "romantic opera in three acts" by Music/RichardWagner. The opera first premiered in Dresden in 1845, but a revised and extended version (translated into French!) was prepared by the composer for the Paris ''Opéra'' in 1861, and it is this later version that is more commonly performed today (in a suitably Teutonic retranslation by the composer).

Wagner based the plot of his opera on a conflation of two originally unconnected legends. The first tells of a minnesinger (or "minstrel of love") and knight, called ''the'' Tannhäuser (literally, "man from the fir-tree-home"), who descended into a subterranean kingdom under a mountain (the so-called "Mountain of Venus" or ''Venusberg'', identified by Wagner with the real [[http://www.grosserhoerselberg.de/garbage/31/318277/1222017.jpg Hörselberg]] near the town of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenach Eisenach]]) and won the favors of the goddess of love (called alternately Venus or Holda, her Latin or German names, by Wagner); after a period of some years, the knight repented and fled the Venusberg to seek penance from [[UsefulNotes/ThePope Pope Urban IV]]; the pope rejects his penitence, telling him that sooner will his staff grow new leaves than forgiveness be possible for such as he, and Tannhäuser, despairing, returns to Venus -- three days later the staff does indeed burst into leaf, but the pope's messengers cannot find the knight. The second tells of the "War of Song" conducted by the legendary minnesinger Heinrich von Ofterdingen (and his sorcerous companion Clinschor (=Klingsor (!)) of Hungary) against the most famous minstrels of mediæval Germany at the court of ''Landgraf'' (or "territorial count") Hermann von [[UsefulNotes/TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland Thüringen]]; in the course of which Clinschor prophecies the birth of Elizabeth of Hungary, later to be the wife of the Landgrave's son and a canonized saint. Wagner radically reshaped these legends, identifying the [[HistoricalDomainCharacter historical]] (though pseudonymous) Tannhäuser with the (probably) mythical Ofterdingen, and transporting the former from his own time (''fl. c''. 1250 A.D.) to that of Landgrave Hermann I of Thuringia, some 50 years before, and transforming the Landgrave's daughter-in-law into his niece and Tannhäuser's true love

For a summary of the plot, see our [[Synopsis.{{Tannhaeuser}} synopsis page.]]

Wagner's opera drew from many sources: a popular ballad reprinted in the famous folk-song collection, ''Des Knaben Wunderhorn''; [[UsefulNotes/DichterAndDenker Heinrich Heine]]'s poem ''Der Tannhäuser: Eine Legende''"; Creator/ETAHoffmann's "Der Kampf der Sänger" (included in his ''Die Serapions-Brüder''); and possibly from Carl Maria von Weber's ''Theatre/DerFreischuetz'', an opera which Wagner greatly admired and with which ''Tannhäuser'' shows some structural similarities (Weber himself had considered writing a Venusberg opera). It proved highly popular in Germany, but the première of the revised version at the Paris ''Opéra'' was a notorious failure -- though more for political and personal reasons than artistic ones. (The gentlemen of the royalist Jockey Club resented both Wagner's patron, the Bonapartist Princess Metternich, and his refusal to put the then-obligatory ballet sequence in the second rather than the first act of the opera, requiring the ''prime donne'' of the ''Opéra'' to forgo either the ballet or their suppers -- with the gentlemen of the royalist Jockey Club. At the first three performances they interrupted the opera with cabman's whistles, and the disgruntled Wagner withdrew the work. (To the anti-Semitic composer's even greater disgust, the settings and costumes were immediately re-used for a new production of [[AmbiguouslyJewish Meyerbeer]]'s ever-popular ''Robert le Diable''.)) However, the new version quickly established itself, and the opera, in both versions, has proven to be one of the composer's most popular works, both in the opera-house and in the concert-hall.

''Film/BladeRunner'''s TannhauserGate is probably inspired by this Tannhäuser.

!!''Tannhäuser'' is associated with the following tropes:

* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: As in these lines: ''Wenn wir den grimmen Welfen widerstanden,/Und den verderbenvollen Zwiespalt wehrten...''‟[[labelnote:English]]"If we withstood the grim Guelphs, and warded off disastrous division...[[/labelnote]]
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Elisabeth ignores the virtuous, chivalrous Wolfram while pining away for the arrogant Heinrich, who has forsaken the Minnesingers and is living with a pagan goddess. When he admits his evil and is sent away on pilgrimage, she prays for him and ignores Wolfram some more. And when Heinrich comes back having failed to get absolution for his sins, she dies for him.
* AllThereInTheManual: The Venusberg is identified as the Hörselberg, the "Hall of Art" as being in the [[http://www.wartburg-eisenach.de Wartburg]], and Heinrich as Tannhäuser only in the title and the stage directions.
* AnachronismStew: In the original legend, Tannhäuser seeks forgiveness from Pope Urban IV, who reigned from 1261-1264; in the opera, ''Landgraf'' Hermann, who had died in 1217, is alive to witness Tannhäuser's return from Rome.
%%* BettyAndVeronica: Elisabeth and Venus.
* CommonTime: The ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ermKeQb4X58 Entrance of the Guests]]''
* EvilSoundsDeep: Averted. All the basses and baritones are on the side of Good (though Biterolf is a bit of a JerkAss). The annoying Heinrich himself is a tenor.
** On the other hand, the most "evil" female in the show, the [[ClingyJealousGirl possessive]], [[TheVamp vampish]] Venus, is also the lowest-voiced female in the show.
* {{Fanfare}}: Several of Wagner's [[{{Leitmotif}} Leitmotifs]] (''e.g.'', the "Rome" motif) have the character of fanfares; a more conventional example introduces the Festival March. At Bayreuth, certain motifs are played as fanfares from the balcony of the ''Festspielhaus'' to announce the beginning of an act.
* FemmeFatale: Venus
* FirstNameBasis: The name "Tannhäuser" is not spoken by any character in the opera. (Nor is "Ofterdingen," for that matter.)
* {{Flanderization}}: Happens to, of all things, the Pope's staff. In the original and Wagner's version, the staff is to send forth new leaves; some productions and later depictions (''e.g''., Creator/HGWells' ''The Man Who Could Work Miracles'') make the staff burst into ''bloom'', particularly roses.
* TheHighMiddleAges: Around the turn of the 12th/13th centuries, though some producers like to costume it in the style of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manesse_Codex Manesse Codex]] from the first half of the 14th. (This MS. gives us the famous [[http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglitData/image/cpg848/2/264r.jpg representation]] of the original Tannhäuser wearing the habit of UsefulNotes/TheTeutonicKnights.)
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Quite a few: ''der Tannhäuser'' (''c''. 1205 - ''c''. 1270) himself (though, as far we know, he was not named Heinrich -- he ''may'' have been named Liutpolt), a mid-thirteenth century minnesinger, some of whose songs have survived; Herman, Landgrave of [[UsefulNotes/TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland Thuringia]] (''c''. 1160 - 1217); Wolfram von Eschenbach (''c.'' 1170 - ''c.'' 1220), possibly the greatest of mediæval Germany's narrative poets (whose ''Parzival'' inspired Wagner's ''Parsifal''); Walther von der Vogelweide (''c''. 1175-''c.'' 1230), certainly mediæval Germany's greatest lyric poet; ; Heinrich der Schreiber (''c''. 1180 - ''c''. 1230); and Reinmar von Zweter (''c''. 1200 - ''c''. 1250.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Though not as carefully worked out as in his later operas, Wagner already employs themes and motifs to characterize ideas such as Venus and Rome.
* TheMaleIngenueMustBeATenor: Subverted, perhaps, in that the more sensual Heinrich is a tenor, the more innocent Wolfram a baritone.
* NiceGuysFinishLast: Elisabeth pines for, chases, pleads for, prays for, and ultimately dies for the arrogant, blasphemous Heinrich. The kindly, chivalrous Wolfram (who is all-too-obviously pining away for her) never gets a second look.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Elisabeth, though not herself historical, is clearly based on the historical Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (1207 - 1231, canonized 1235), who was the wife of the Hermann I's son, Blessed Louis (Ludwig) of Thuringia (1201 - 1228).
* OpeningBallet: When Wagner was revising ''Tannhäuser'' in preparation for the 1861 Paris production, he had to accommodate the ''Opéra'''s demands that every opera should have a ballet, preferably in the middle of the evening. Wagner objected to placing the ballet in the second act, instead providing a ballet at the very beginning -- thus provoking noisy demonstrations by the gentlemen of the royalist Jockey Club.
* PopculturalOsmosis: How many people know the "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coLxM2hq_gA Pilgrims' Chorus]] as "[[WesternAnimation/WhatsOperaDoc Wetuwn, my Wuv! A wonging buwns deep inside me!]]"?
* ThePowerOfFriendship: Inspires Wolfram to try to save Heinrich
* ThePowerOfLove: Inspires Elisabeth to try to save Heinrich, and Heinrich to try to be saved, for Elisabeth's sake
* PrincessClassic: Elisabeth
* PuttingOnTheReich: In Götz Friedrich's notorious 1972 production at Bayreuth, ''Landgraf'' Hermann and his nobles were costumed similarly to Nazi storm troopers.
%%* TenorBoy: Heinrich and Walther.
* UnfortunateName:
** Wagner's original name for his opera was ''Der Venusberg'', but he was convinced to change it when the [[DoubleEntendre unfortunate implications]] of translating it into French were pointed out to him -- since « ''La Monte de Vénus'' » ("The Mountain of Venus") is one letter off from « ''mont de Vénus'' » ("mound of Venus") which refers to the pubic mound.
** "Wartburg" in question is the castle and not TheAllegedCar [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wartburg_(car) named after it]].