Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg, or Tannhäuser for short, is a Richard Wagner opera in three acts. The libretto was written by the composer himself based on the Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg, a collection of 13th century lyrical poems, and the 16th century Dannhauser songs. Its world première took place on 19 October 1845 at the Dresden Hoftheater, while the masterpiece was first performed in Hungary at the National Theatre in Pest on 11 March 1871. The three parts of the overture are almost didactic in their foreshadowing of the major conflicts of the opera, revolving around the struggle between pure Christian love and sinful, emotional passion. The overture begins with the exalted melody of the choir of pilgrims, and this motif returns to restore the peace after the sounds of the unbridled orgy at the grotto of Venus. Singing the title role in this production is the American Stephen Gould, one of today’s most sought-after heroic tenors. Gábor Bretz, appearing in the role of Hermann, débuted at La Scala in Milan and at the Salzburg Festival, both in 2007. He also appeared at La Scala as Bluebeard in the spring of 2008, before travelling to Sydney in the summer to sing Don Giovanni. The role of Wolfram will be sung by Lauri Vasar, the scion of an Estonian musical family, while Elisabeth will be played by the outstanding Hungarian oratorio and opera singer Tünde Szabóki.