STAGENina von Essen
COSTUMEJulia Rösler
LIGHTMichael Philipp
VIDEOValentin Felber
CHOIRBernhard Moncado
WITH:Christian Voigt
Anna Nechaeva
Viktoria Mester
Jin Seok Lee
Alejandro Larraga Schleske
Roberto Gionfriddo
Ks.Neal Schwantes
Shinsuke Nishioka
Andrei Yvan
David Rother
Eduard Martens
Cedric Schmitt
Photos: Maurice Korbel

“A trauma. A prelude. Even before the overture begins, we see Tannhäuser lonely in the cone of light. Rome is behind him, but he cannot get rid of the Pope’s curse. What follows is a flashback. Eva-Maria Höckmayr tells Wagner’s most popular, most sensitive opera from a retrospective perspective. In doing so, she draws the poles close together. What happens in the Venusberg is everything that is not allowed to be thought, expressed or even acted out in the grey-black neutral Wartburg society. The Venusberg therefore remains phantasmagoria (…) It is the interweaving of the spheres that interests Eva-Maria Höckmayr. (…) Tannhäuser fails not between two worlds, but in himself, because he always wants only one thing: that which he (just) does not have.”

OPERNWELT, Stephan Mösch/ April 2014

“Freiburg has done it again: to stage a work by Richard Wagner and this masterfully staged by Eva-Maria Höckmayr. The clear visual language is convincing. (…) The polyvalent stage design is church, Venusberg, the expensive hall, forest landscape, valley depression, all in one.”

The New Merker, Peter Heuberger, March 2014

“The broken hero – The Freiburg Theatre continues its successful Wagner cycle with a gripping “Tannhäuser”.

The banishment of Tannhäuser by the Pope is for Höckmayr the decisive trauma of the character. (…) Venusberg and Wartburg, the two contrasting places of ecstasy and asceticism, are played by the director in the same church space by set designer Nina von Essen. Elisabeth is at least as sensual as Venus, (…) the direction creates strong, also oppressive images. And not only gives the furiously staged singer competition the appropriate space for the music.”

Culture Joker, Georg Rudiger, March 2014

“Whether what follows after the overture – whether this is a retrospective or shows Tannhäuser as a repeat offender in the eternal cycle of sin and repentance – remains open in Eva-Maria Höckmayr’s production for the Freiburg Theatre. What is clear from the beginning, however, is Höckmayr’s effort to strip away the moral weight of the material, to brush it against the grain and make it acceptable for a modern audience. And in doing so, he also softens the traditional image of women, which only allows for two variants – namely the whore and the saint. The images of women here are literally shown as (male) projections, appearing on the walls of the chapel like fragments from Tannhäuser’s memory: Hands on skin and naked breasts, next to them Elizabeth stylized into a saintly image. And yet the two figures sometimes blur (…) Höckmayr’s interpretation is modern and fundamentally conclusive.”

Südkurier, Elisabeth Schwind, 25.2.2014

“In Höckmayr’s work, Mount Venus is a phantasmagoria, not a paradise artificiel, but a virtual thought construct in which bigoted – Christian Catholic – rituals of faith intertwine with lustful eroticism and horniness in ecstatic convulsions: the crucified woman, the Madonna with naked breasts – and Wagner’s goddess Venus, who asks from the confessional: “Beloved, say where dwells your sense?” (…) Mostly, I suppose, in his projections of women. Both are, to speak with Baudelaire, flesh, both are spirit, both are not so much antipodes as they are mutually dependent, which is especially evident in the last act. There the direction, how ingenious, just let this appear in person during Wolfram’s song to the evening star: Venus.”

Badische Zeitung, Alexander Dick, 24.2.2014

“(…) a perfect example of exciting, excellently thought-out musical theatre with a convincing psychological impact (…) Tannhäuser brings to light what should remain hidden. A process that is later repeated with the Pope. (…) This idea of showing Rome as an extended arm of the Wartburg is brilliant. (…) An immensely rousing, stringently realized and atmospherically dense production.”

The Opera Lover, Ludwig Steinbach, 23.2.2014