The afresh accomplished Tannhäuser awakening at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, bankrupt all absurdity records, but is the assembly we shall remember. Was it the 40 hospital beds on date for the beat abiding pilgrims, or the 20 apparel of armour that were aloft and bargain randomly, throughout the 3 hours – sometimes replaced with a set of devils? Silly theatre can be so powerful!
During the overture, Tannhäuser, (played by a achievement man) is bargain the 50 anxiety or so from the top of the stage, bouncing accoutrements and legs. He takes several account to alight into a sea of changeable flesh, admitting with bogus breasts. I assume, there cannot be a changeable chorus, so able-bodied endowed, with not a wobble in sight. I wondered what the women would do with Tannhäuser’s abounding clothing of armour already he was below the sea of limbs. I wasn’t disappointed. During the acme of brass, $.25 of armour were befuddled up from the base and again appeared the real, beat Tannhäuser, accessible for his calm with Venus.
Why is Venus important to us in 2017, or why was she important in 12th aeon Christian Germany, or 19th aeon Paris? Why is she a key amount in Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser? I accept it is because she is a adequate car for the artisan to accurate adroitness and claiming accustomed ideas. That is the role of the artist.
Pagans helped us to Chrstianity
We can accept why Wagner uses Venus as a affecting vehicle, but why does St. Chad’s Church in Harpswell accept William Harrington, (rector, died 1350), comatose on a superb Green Man? The Cathedral in Würzburg has a Green Man overlooking God. Nicosia churches accept assorted Green Men. The 13th aeon minstrels were absorbed by Venus.
Is there a connection? Is there an explanation?
Waldemar Januszczak has an alms I’d like to test. In his alluring BBC4 affairs on the Dark Ages, he acicular out that aboriginal portrayals of Christ gave him a feminine, or at atomic actual adolescent face. Only later, with the Mary band able-bodied accustomed in Christianity, do Jesus depictions move against the ballsy Jupiter-face. Waldemar explains thus. Aboriginal Christianity had an angel botheration – how to address to the 50% of the population, who were women. To get about this, artists generally went for an androgynous Jesus. The later, column Mary-Cult adaptation of Jesus with Jupiter’s face, was advised to accompany the pagans on board, afterwards assay them from their old religion.
Once one starts looking, Waldemar’s altercation stands up in abounding scenarios.
St. George’s changeable ancillary is beautifully portrayed in any amount of aboriginal 15th aeon sculptures by Bernd Notke. The Katherine Church in Lübeck has adhesive copies. One of them cannot be a mistake. George is added feminine than the angel cat-and-mouse to be adored from the dragon. Is the changeable George addition archetype of the adolescent Jesus?
It didn’t appear in a day.
During aboriginal Christianity, there were still pockets of agnostic sympathy, and acceptance in gods such as Venus was a staging column amid agnostic and abounding Christian. Venus helped accumulate new Christians in their old abundance zone. Minstrels and poets acclimated her to accurate abandon of their characters, that were no best adequate as medieval Christian banquet talk. Was an androgynous St. George a advantageous comforter for both genders? Why did Venus reappear so abounding years afterwards her annihilation as a Roman goddess?
The approach is, that the average ages were not as Christian as our history acquaint accept us believe. For example, the Slav King Jaczo, reigned over the breadth we now alarm Berlin Brandenburg. He beyond to Christianity in 1154. That was when, with his horse biconcave beat into the Havel, he did a few try-out prayers to assorted deities. Things bigger afterwards summoning Christ and his horse was helped to the coffer of the river. He absitively to become a follower, but did he accord up his three-headed agnostic god Triglav, immediately? Probably not. We all charge islands of assurance aural our vision, afore we can yield the leap.
Wagner and Venus
Time to administer Waldemar’s approach to Wagner’s Tannäuser. Wagner alloyed two medieval sagas for his opera. That apart, he remained (nearly) affectionate to the aboriginal yarns.
Venus lived in the Venusberg, about in what is now Thuringia. Tannhäuser told Venus that he capital to leave her, because he absent the sky and birdsong. The Venusberg was subterranean, in a mountain, rather than on it, and hidden from mortals. Hold that thought. The bulging bone, which supports changeable pubic hair is alleged the mons veneris in assay – Latin for Mount of Venus. In the saga, men who entered the Venusberg, accustomed perdition.
Let’s accept Venus and Tannhäuser were in a all-inclusive cavern, waited on by as abundant ample beef as a man could wish to boring aloft and sample. You can accept too abundant of a adequate affair – apparently. Tannhäuser, afterwards an hour of operatic wailing, shouting and accusations, leaves Venus, and allotment to the Wartburg. This medieval alcazar is on a abundance in Thuringia, and is area the blow of the operatic activity takes place. The anteroom can still be visited. In the Wartburg, he rediscovers his adulation for Elizabeth, the attribute of Christian changeable purity. She is cat-and-mouse to be taken and bedeviled by an honourable knight. Tannhäuser, a charlatan and minstrel, had been her dream man, afore he went sampling afterwards portfolio in the Venusberg.
Tannhäuser gets affected in a singing challenge on the affair of accurate love. Elizabeth’s duke is the cost for the winner. Tannhäuser’s acquaintance Wolfram, accurately sings of authentic adulation – no lust. Tannhäuser assault a gasket and tells them that a bit of active afterwards beef aching no one. Elizabeth is agog about the idea. Tannhäuser gets agitated abroad and admits to a layover in the Venusberg. He is angry out the alcazar and told to accompany pilgrims underway to Rome to see if such a sin can anytime be forgiven.
Elizabeth’s Libido, in his Dreams
Nowadays the aforementioned acute sings Venus and Elizabeth, in the aforementioned apparel and make-up. We accept to ask – was the Venusberg a bubble of Tannhäuser’s amative fantasy? Did he fantasise about Elizabeth’s changeable libido? Is Elizabeth accessible to appearance the amative allotment of her femininity? Was this a bout fabricated in the Venusberg, rather than in heaven? We never acquisition out. Tannhäuser leaves the addled Elizabeth to admiration what ability accept been. She agrees that her bedmate accept to be presentable and accepts he accept to go to Rome. She prays for the Pope’s forgiveness.
Tannhäuser allotment from Rome and relates Pope Urban IV’s words. He is as acceptable to be forgiven such a abhorrent sin, as Urban’s agents is, to sprout leaves. Elizabeth sinks beat to the floor. Wolfram covers her with a shroud. Tannhäuser wants to acknowledgment to the Venusberg, Elizabeth rises from beneath the shroud. Now she is Venus and tries to abduct him. Wolfram holds Tannhäuser back, and prevents him abutting Venus. Tannhäuser dies, as pilgrims access to acknowledge the agents has sprouted leaves – Tannhäuser is forgiven and can accompany Elizabeth in heaven.
Accepting Sex Drive
In 19th aeon Europe, abounding men believed, if women bedevilled sex drive, they were whores. No one asked the question, was Tannhäuser afterwards guilt, if Venus and he affianced in so-called, sins of the flesh. Did the agents sprout, because there was no sin to be forgiven? In the medieval adaptation of the saga, Tannhäuser does acknowledgment to the Venusberg, and the agents still sprouts. Were those poets and minstrels aggravating to acquaint us, amative sex is not a sin? Is this why we still adulation those age-old stories?
We apperceive what Wagner thought. He acclaimed changeable sex-drive on stage, a lot of conspicuously in Tristan and Isolde, although he did let the adulation aromatic yield the accusation for Isolde’s wanton behaviour. No one is fooled, nowadays. We apperceive Tristan and Isolde accept the ambition for anniversary other, continued afore the adulation aromatic is administered.
Why did Wagner go for the bendable catastrophe in his adaptation of Tannhäuser? These operas disconnected society. The Paris arch of Tannhäuser, (1861) was a adversity and ashore by the audience’s protests, because the ball was in the amiss abode and abashed dining habits. Perhaps, with such an audience, the medieval catastrophe was unthinkable. The lovers had to go to heaven, not the Venusberg!
Jean Shinoda Bolen, in her Jungian assay of the role of Goddeses in our lives, defines Venus as the woman with austere sex-drive. I larboard my archetype of Bolen’s ‘Goddesses in Everywoman,’ in a arresting abode in my house. No company has managed to canyon the book afterwards endlessly and accepting a peek. We all charge a bit of pagan!
Venus goes added Places
The Tannhäuser adventure has aggressive abounding works of art, abstract and the casual blur (Blade Runner). Aubrey Beardsley added to the brand in the 1890s, with his attenuate volume, The Adventure Of Venus And Tannhäuser. It wasn’t printed in abounding until the 1960s, because no one had the courage. Beardsley died afore completion. He describes Tannhäuser’s access into the Venusberg and the top jinks thereafter. It is authentic bespatter and abundant fun. Addition acumen we charge Venus – to admonish us that activity is to be enjoyed and you never apperceive what you ability like until you accept approved it.
I couldn’t abide Venus and Tannhäuser either. The lovers, in my atypical Goddesses, role play Beardsley’s ideas. The complete atypical should be a appear this year, accouterment my adventuresomeness doesn’t arid me.
Goddesses set us Free
Gods and Goddesses, are there to let us let our hair down. They acquiesce us to act out a bit of our character, which otherwise, wouldn’t acquisition an outlet. They address to the non-Christian allotment of us today, as they did for the aboriginal Christians 1000 years ago. Waldemar is right. They let us off the hook, but in so doing, accumulate us on the hook. Let off beef sometimes, is the message. A little bit of what you like, does you good.
Bolen defines women as appearance types, by application goddesses. If that sounds trite, apprehend her book.
What about the Green Man?
We all adulation a abstruseness and the Green Man charcoal one. We accept no abstraction of his allegorical acceptation in pre-Christian society. Why was he so accustomed with gothic-church builders? A lot of mysterious, is his constant acceptance as a garden ornament. What position in our appearance does he personify? We don’t know, but we all like to be a bit mysterious. That is a appearance trait, too.
Clive La Pensee has acclimated Beardsley’s yield on the Venus/Tannhaeuser story, as a above allotment of his third novel, alleged Goddesses. He lets his two capital protagonists role-play Beardsley’s action, with amusing and ultimately, adverse consequences. His charlatan Connie, uses a array of goddesses to accomplish animal liberation, in a way, which would accept admiring Venus and Elizabeth.