Novosibirsk Theater defends "Tannhauser" opera

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The Novosibirsk State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre intends to defend its professional position and artistic policy within the framework of existing legislation of the Russian Federation.

This statement appeared on the site of the Theater after it turned out that the Prosecutor's Office of Novosibirsk had opened an administrative case against the director of the performance Timofey Kulyabin and the Theater director Boris Mezdrich for the alleged desecration of religious symbols.

"Tannhauser" was praised by the professional community. It is included in the current repertoire", - said the press service of the Theater. It is noted that more than 3,000 spectators have watched the performance that opened on December 20 and 22, 2014.

The case against Kulyabin and Mezdrich was opened after the prosecutors had investigated the leaflets and promotional materials and watched the video of "Tannhauser".

The investigation was conducted at the request of the Metropolitan Tikhon of Novosibirsk and Berdsk who found the performance desecrating church symbols and violating believers` rights. The case was filed to the justice of the peace.

What "Tannhauser" is about

"Tannhauser" is an opera by the German composer Richard Wagner who also wrote the libretto. The plot of the opera is based on the legend from the medieval German saga "Singers` Contest" and the legend of Tannhauser. According to the plot of the opera, the knight Tannhauser leaves the grotto of Venus where he could enjoy endless pleasure to live a normal life of a mortal man. Tannhauser takes part in the competition of singers in which he defends the importance of the sensual in love which shocks the witnesses and the contestants. Realizing that he violated virtue and rebelled against divine love Tannhauser goes to the Pope to ask for the forgiveness of his sins. Initially, the pontiff refuses to forgive his sins but the prayers of Elizabeth who is in love with Tannhauser save the soul of the knight.

The director of the Novosibirsk Theatre Timofey Kulyabin has transferred the action of the opera to the present-day period. The Knight Tannhauser is a film director shooting the film "Grotto of Venus" in which Jesus appears. Elizabeth comes across not as Tannhauser`s beloved but as his mother. The first act of the opera shows the shooting process of the film "Grotto of Venus". Jesus leaves the grotto despite the promise of eternal love to undergo the hardships of the real life.

In the second act of the opera the director presents his film at the cinema festival and causes a huge scandal there. In the third act the audience sees Tannhauser in depression telling a fantastic story about a long journey to Rome, a big religious holiday and an attempt to ask the Pope for forgiveness.

In December Colta.ru reported that the movie poster shown on the stage depicts Jesus placed between woman's legs. Judging by the photos a cross appears on the scene as well.

"The story of the sinner Tannhauser with powerful religious implications in the story turns into a story about a brilliant director who shoots the film "Grotto of Venus" (according to one version about the unknown sinful life of Jesus Christ). This is a play about the artistic boundaries, about his responsibilities and temptations, about criticism and his fellow artists. About sins and redemption at the cost of one`s life after all", - writes "Muzykalnoye obozreniye" about the opera.

Text and pictures by INTERFAX.RU