Lyric Opera's Tannhauser | Lyric Opera House | Classical | Chicago Reader
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Lyric Opera's Tannhauser 

When: Mon., Feb. 9, 6 p.m., Sat., Feb. 14, 6 p.m., Wed., Feb. 18, 6 p.m., Sun., Feb. 22, 1 p.m., Thu., Feb. 26, 6 p.m., Mon., March 2, 6 p.m. and Fri., March 6, 6 p.m. 2015
Price: $20-$229
Tannhauser, Richard Wagner’s aurally awesome medieval sex-or-salvation tale, was a relatively hot ticket during the composer’s lifetime—except in Paris, where it ran for three nights in 1861 and was a notorious flop. Part of the problem: Wagner refused to move the opening orgy ballet to the second act, which is when Parisian gentlemen (whose mistresses populated the corps de ballet) preferred to arrive. The work is seldom produced now—Lyric Opera last did it in 1988—in part because of the vocal demands of the high-flying title role. Directed by Tim Albery, this production was successfully mounted at Covent Garden in 2010, and the Lyric’s version features two veterans of that run: tenor Johan Botha as the peripatetic singing poet, Tannhauser, and mezzo-soprano Michaela Schuster as his temptress, Venus. They’ll be joined by soprano extraordinaire and Ryan Opera Center alum Amber Wagner, who’ll play Venus’s virginal rival, Elisabeth. Andrew Davis conducts; in German with English supertitles. This production runs through March 6. —Deanna Isaacs



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