The Metropolitan Opera HD Live (2006–…): Season 10, Episode 3 - Wagner: Tannhäuser - full transcript

Come to this shore!

Come to this land...

where the ecstasy of
love's burning embrace...

will soothe your longings.

Come to this shore!

Come to this land.

Beloved, tell me, what are you thinking of?

Too much... too much!

Why did I awaken?

What is troubling you?

In a dream I heard a sound
I had long forgotten...

the joyous pealing of bells.

How long has it been?

What is wrong?
Where are your thoughts?

I cannot tell how long I have been here.

Days, months exist for me no more,
for I no longer see the sun.

No longer do I see the
friendly stars of heaven...

or the green grass that
brings with it the summer.

No more do I hear the nightingale,
who heralds the spring.

Shall I never hear it or see it again?

What is this foolish lament?

Are you already tired of my love's magic?

Do you regret living like a god?

Have you forgotten how you once suffered,
now that bliss is yours?

My singer...

take up your harp! Sing of love!

Sing of how you won love's goddess.

Sing of how love's greatest prize is yours.

I sing your praise,
sing of the miracle that brought me joy!

The splendor of your love
lifts my song to exultation!

My heart and senses hungered
for ecstasy and pleasure.

What was once the gods' alone,
you gave to me without measure.

Yet alas, a mortal I remain...

your love too great for me to contain.

Though a god may love and never cease,
for me, only change can bring release.

No pleasure does my heart desire.
Amid this joy, I seek pain's fire!

From your realm I must flee!

O Queen... Goddess, set me free!

What is this song that
ends on so dark a note?

Where is the rapture
that once inspired you?

How has my love been lacking?

Beloved, why do you reproach me?

Praise be to you, and to your love!

Fortunate is he who has known your charms.

Fortunate is he
who has known passion in your arms.

Dazzling is your realm.
I breathe rapture's magic in the air.

Nothing on earth can equal it.
Nothing there could hope to compare.

And yet, amid the perfumed breeze,
I long for the scent of trees...

to see the blue of the sky,
and the meadow glistening with dew.

I long to hear the bird in the vale,
and the familiar ringing of the bell.

From your kingdom I must flee!

O Queen... Goddess, set me free!

Betrayer! You dare to mock my love?

You praise it, yet want to escape it?

Goddess, do not be angry!

You've grown weary of my charms!

I must renounce them!

Thankless betrayer!

You cannot go!

Never have I known a greater love.

But I must flee!

Come, behold the grotto,
filled with the scent of roses.

Even a god would find fulfillment
in that realm of rarest bliss.

Soothed on the softest of beds...

every ache will vanish from your limbs.

Your burning brow will be cooled.

A blissful glow will fill your heart.

Come, sweet friend.

Come follow me.

The sweet sounds from afar...

urge me to take you in my arms.

Drink the nectar of the gods from my lips.

Behold the love in my gaze.

Our union shall inspire
a feast of pleasure.

Let us celebrate our love!

You will no longer make timid offerings...

but revel in your union
with the goddess of love!

My knight, my love...

now will you flee?

My song will always be for you alone,
let my praise ring loud and true!

You are the source of all beauty...
every miracle comes from you.

The fire you kindled in my heart
still burns for you alone.

I shall always be your
faithful, perfect knight!

Yet I must return to the world,
for here I am a slave without worth.

It is freedom I long for... freedom I need.

Let me do battle, though I may perish!

From your realm I must flee!

O Queen... Goddess, set me free!

Leave me, then!

Go! I will not keep you!

I release you, traitor!

You shall have what you long for.

Leave me, then!

Go back to those cold mortals
and their foolish delusions...

those whom we gods escaped,
fleeing to the earth's warming womb.

Seek your salvation among them,
though you never find it!

Go and beg their forgiveness,
those you once cheerfully mocked.

Then let your shame be revealed,
and feel their scorn!

You will return to me,
cast out and accursed.

You will again seek the
one who once smiled on you.

You will long for me to open
the portals to my charms.

There on the threshold you will lie,
where joy once was yours.

You will beg for pity, not love!

Be gone, beggar!
My kingdom is for heroes.

Not slaves!

No! My pride will never let me
appear before you in disgrace.

I leave you today,
Goddess, never to return!

Never to return?

How can that be?

Never to return?

My beloved is leaving me forever.

What have I done to
deserve this punishment?

Shall I not be permitted to forgive you?

Should the queen of love,
the goddess of all grace...

be denied the chance
to console her beloved?

I smiled through my tears...

as I listened to the song
I had not heard for so long.

How could you ever imagine...

that I would not be
moved by your lament?

Do not punish me by
scorning my tenderness...

because I found bliss in your arms.

If you do not return to me,
the world shall be cursed!

Let there be a desert
where the goddess withdrew!

Come back to me, and believe in my love!

He who flees from you, Goddess,
flees from bliss forever!

Do not let pride conquer longing!

My longing is for strife.
It isn't pleasure that I seek!

If only you could grasp
that I would welcome death!

Return, if death eludes you.

I carry death within me.
Through penance I shall find peace.

You will never find rest!

You will never find peace!

Return to me, if you seek salvation!

It is not with you that I shall find peace.

My salvation lies with the blessed Mary!

Fair Holda descended to us
to walk through field and meadow.

I heard a sound so sweet,
my eye did want to follow.

Then I dreamt the sweetest dreams,
and my eyes had barely opened...

as the sun's warmth shone down.
May had arrived!

Now I happily play my pipe,
for May, dear May, is here.

I come to you, Jesus.

You, the pilgrim's hope.

Blessed be the Virgin, sweet and pure.

May our pilgrimage be blessed!

The burden of sin torments me,
and I can endure it no longer.

I want no peace, I want no rest.

I gladly choose to suffer.

At the sacred feast of mercy,
I will atone for my sins.

Blessed is he who believes,
for he shall be redeemed by penance!

To Rome... and good luck!
Pray for my poor soul!

Praise to You, almighty God!

Great is the miracle of Thy mercy!

I come to you, Jesus.

You, the pilgrim's hope.

Blessed be the Virgin,
sweet and pure.

May our pilgrimage be blessed!

The burden of sin torments me,
and I can endure it no longer.

I want no peace, I want no rest.

I gladly choose to suffer.

Who is that praying there?

-It must be a penitent.
-And a knight, from his clothing.


Is it you?

Are you returning to the ones
you left in your arrogance?

Why have you come back?

Do you seek reconciliation or strife?

Are you friend or foe?

How can you ask?
Is this the bearing of arrogance?

Welcome, bold minstrel,
so long absent from our midst!

Welcome, if you come in peace.

We greet you as a friend.

I, too, welcome you.

Tell us where you have been for so long.

I wandered in faraway places.

I found neither rest nor peace.

I am not here to fight with you.

Let me go on my way.

No! You are one of us again.

You cannot go!

Let me go! I cannot stay.
I can never stop to rest.

Stay here with us!

I must go on.

I must go on...

and never look back!

Stay here with us!

I must go on... and never look back!

Stay... for Elisabeth!

Does heaven speak that name?

Do not think me your enemy for saying it.

My lord, may I tell him
of his good fortune?

Tell him of the wonder he has worked...

and may God make him worthy of it.

You competed with us in song,
sometimes victorious...

and sometimes meeting defeat.
Yet one prize you alone did win.

Was it through magic or divine power
that you worked this wonder...

enchanting the most virtuous maiden
with your songs of joy and sorrow?

After you left us, our songs
could not speak to her heart.

She grew pale and avoided us from then on.

Come back to us and join
your songs with ours.

Let her attend our festivals again.
Let her star shine on us once more!

Be one of us, Heinrich!
Come back to us again.

Lead me to her!

Once again I recognize
the world whose beauty I fled.

The heavens gaze down upon me.

The meadows are filled with splendor.

A thousand sweet sounds
of springtime fill my soul!

In wild longing my heart cries out...

lead me to her!

He who was lost has returned!

Now she will hear our noble songs!

The thousand sweet sounds
of springtime fill my soul!

Lead me to her!

Beloved hall, again I greet you!

I greet you joyfully, place most dear!

In you, his songs come alive
and wake me from my troubled sleep.

When he left, how desolate you seemed.

Peace deserted me...

just as joy deserted you.

Now my heart beats proudly.
How noble and sublime you appear!

May the one who recalls us to life
stay away no more!

But now I greet you with pride,
noble and exalted hall.

May our new life begin
now that he has returned.

Beloved hall, I greet you!

Beloved hall, I greet you!

There she is.
Go and talk to her.

O Princess!

Rise, and leave me!
I cannot see you here.

Stay, and let me remain at your feet.

I beg you, rise!

You must not kneel here.
This is your kingdom.

Rise, and accept my thanks for returning.

Where have you journeyed?

Far from here, in distant lands.

A veil of forgetfulness has fallen
between yesterday and today.

I remember nothing.

I only know that I thought
I would never see you again.

What was it that made you return?

A miracle...
an unfathomable, powerful miracle!

I am grateful to that miracle,
from the depths of my heart!

Forgive me for not knowing what to say.

I am in a dream,
and more foolish than a child...

humbled by the miracle of this gift.

I hardly know myself.

Help me solve the mystery
of what is in my heart.

Once, I listened with pleasure
to the minstrels' well-made songs.

I heard their songs of praise...

and found them a pleasant diversion.

Yet what strange new feelings
your songs awakened in my soul!

They would fill me with
pain, then with joy...

feelings I had never known,
desires I had never felt.

All things once dear to me vanished
before this bliss!

When you left, my peace
and contentment went with you.

The minstrels' songs
seemed dull and dreary.

In dreams I felt only pain.

When I woke, all seemed an illusion.

Joy had deserted my heart.


What did you do to me?

It was the god of love
who touched the strings of my harp.

He spoke to you through my songs.
He led me here to you.

Praised be the moment,
praised be the power...

that brought me the blessed news
that you were here!

The sun shines so brightly in its splendor!

I am wakened to a new
existence, and joy is mine!

I am wakened to a new
existence, and joy is mine!

How is it I find you in the hall
that you avoided for so long?

Are you drawn to a song contest again?

Uncle... dearest Father!

Will you at last tell me
what is in your heart?

Look into my eyes, for I cannot speak.

Then let your secret remain unspoken.

Until you can master it,
let the spell remain unbroken.

That which song awakened,
and began in such wondrous fashion...

shall today be revealed,
and crowned with fulfillment.

Thus does our beloved art come to fruition!

Our nobles are gathering
to witness this special festival.

There are even more today...

for they have heard
you are its princess.

Joyfully we greet the hall...

where art and peace alone may dwell!

Long may the cry resound here,
"Hail Count Hermann of Thuringia!"

Joyfully we greet the hall,
where art and peace alone may dwell!

Long may the cry resound here,
"Hail Count Hermann of Thuringia!"

Joyfully we greet the hall...

where art and peace alone may dwell!

Hail Count Hermann of Thuringia!

Here, honored minstrels,
you have performed much that was beautiful.

You have charmed us with
subtle mysteries and cheerful ballads.

When we defeated the fierce Guelphs...

our swords defended the
majesty of the German realm.

But you won a prize no less glorious.

Through your art you won
a magnificent victory...

for grace, tradition, virtue, and piety.

Let us celebrate, then, this day that
sees the return of someone long missed.

I believe that a miracle
has led him back to us.

Through the art of song you
shall reveal this miracle.

Now I ask you:

Can you describe to me
the true nature of love?

He who does this best shall be
awarded the prize by Elisabeth.

Let him be bold as he may...

and the prize shall be his today!

Come, dear minstrels, take up your harps!

The challenge is made,
and you know the prize.

Now accept our thanks!

Hail, Thuringia's prince!

Hail to the protector of art!

Wolfram of Eschenbach is chosen!

As I look about me in this noble hall,
a splendid sight sets my heart aglow!

So many heroes,
wise and courageous Germans all...

like a proud forest of oak trees,
marvelous, fresh, and green.

Lovely and virtuous the women I see,
blossoms from fragrant bouquets.

The sight of them intoxicates me.

My song is silenced by their grace.

Then I am dazzled by a single star,
shining in the sky so fair.

I gather my thoughts
and immerse my soul in prayer.

Before me a wondrous spring is revealed,
visible to my spirit's eye.

To its delights my spirit yields.
From it, my heart draws life!

Never would I sully its waters
or taint it with impure thought.

For it, I would sacrifice my life
with my heart's last blood.

May you all read in my song
what belongs to love's true nature.

This is truth! Praised be his song!

Wolfram, you have falsely portrayed love!

If you truly languished like that,
the world would come to an end.

In praise of God, raise your eyes
to heaven and the stars He made.

Worship is fitting for such miracles,
for they cannot be understood.

Yet that which can be touched,
to which my senses incline...

is molded like man but in softer form.

I boldly approach that source
of all delight, untainted by fear...

for the spring is
inexhaustible, like my desire!

To keep my longing forever alive,
I drink forever at its source!

That, Wolfram, is what
I understand love's true nature to be!

Your words are an insult to us all!

Who can hear them and remain calm?

If in your arrogance you are able,
then listen to me now, blasphemer!

When I am inspired by love,
my courage knows no bounds.

To defend it, I would sacrifice
the last drop of my blood!

I defend women's honor
and virtue with the sword...

but what you call pleasure
isn't worth a single blow!

Hail, Biterolf! You answered him well!

The foolish braggart Biterolf!
Do you sing of love, my grim friend?

It seems to me what you described
is no pleasure at all!

What pleasure have you known?
You haven't been rich in love...

and what feeble joy you've felt
is truly not worth a blow!

Do not let him finish!

Put away your swords!

O heaven, hear my prayer,
and inspire my song!

Let sin be banished from this noble circle!

It is to you, love sublime,
that I sing my impassioned song...

love, which penetrated
my soul in all its angelic beauty!

You approach like a divine messenger,
and I follow you from afar.

You lead me to the realm
where your star shines forever bright!

To you, goddess of love, do I sing.

Let your praise ring loud and true!

You are the source of all beauty.
Every miracle comes from you.

Only he who has taken you
in his arms knows love's true aim.

You poor souls who do not know love...

go to the mountain where Venus reigns!

He is accursed!

He was with Venus!

Away! Away from him!

You heard him!
He has shared in hellish pleasures!

He was with Venus!
Plunge your swords into his heart!

Stop this!

Why does Elisabeth defend him?

Stand back! I am not afraid to die!

What are the wounds from your swords
compared to the blow he has dealt me?

Elisabeth, how can you defend
the one who betrayed you?

I am not important. Think of him!

Would you deny him salvation?

He has forfeited the right to redemption!

He is cursed by heaven!

Do not go near him!
You are not his judges!

You who thirst for blood,
put down your swords!

Listen to an innocent maiden!

Hear through me the will of God.

Why should this unfortunate man,
prisoner of a powerful magic...

not attain salvation
through penance in this world?

How have you, who are so pure,
so misunderstood the Lord's decree?

Before you rob a sinner of all hope,
ask what he has done to you.

You see before you a maiden
he destroyed with one swift blow.

She loved him deeply,
and he carelessly broke her heart.

I plead for him... I plead for his life.

Let him seek atonement in his remorse.

Let him draw courage anew from faith...

and the knowledge that the Redeemer
suffered for him, as well.

The Redeemer suffered for him, as well.

Woe to my accursed soul!

An angel has descended from heaven
to make God's holy counsel known.

Behold her, shameful traitor!

Think of the crime you have committed!

In spite of that, she pleads for your life.

Who would not be moved?

Though I cannot forgive the sinner,
I must not oppose the will of heaven.

To lead the sinner to salvation,
God's messenger drew near.

Yet desire drove me.

I wanted to touch her,
to raise my sinful gaze to her.

O You who dwell on high,
and sent the angel of my salvation...

have mercy on me, who from the
depths of sin failed to recognize her!

Have mercy on me!

Though I cannot forgive the sinner...

I must not oppose the will of heaven.

I plead for him! I plead for his life!

Grant him courage.

I failed to recognize the
angel of my salvation.

May he know that the Redeemer
suffered for him, as well.

A dreadful crime has been committed.

This accursed one stole among us,
wearing a mask of deceit.

We cast you out!
You are forbidden to remain among us.

We have been tainted by your presence.

Heaven will curse this roof
that has sheltered you for too long!

There is one path you can take
to be spared eternal damnation.

In banishing you, I point the way to it.

Follow it, for your salvation.

Many pilgrims have gathered here
from all my lands.

The older ones have gone on ahead,
but others remain in the valley.

Though their sins are not great,
their hearts will not give them peace.

And so they are journeying to Rome
for the feast of mercy.

You must go with them
to the city of grace...

to fall prostrate in the dust
and repent of your sins.

Humble yourself before the one
who pronounces the judgment of God!

Do not return without his blessing.

Though we relented in our anger
because of an angel's pleading...

our swords will cut you down
if you persist in sin and disgrace!

Let him come to Thee,
God of mercy and grace!

Forgive the sins of one
who has fallen so low.

I pray only for him,
let my life itself be a prayer.

Let him behold Thy light,
before he is lost in night!

Let a sacrifice to Thee
be joyfully offered.

Take my life, for it is no longer mine!

Our swords will cut you down
if you persist in sin and disgrace!

Our swords will cut you down
if you persist in sin and disgrace!

At the feast of mercy and grace,
I shall atone for my sins.

Blessed is he who believes,
for he will be redeemed through penance.

To Rome!

I knew I would find her here in prayer...

as I so often do when
I make my way alone...

from the forest down to the valley.

The blow he dealt her
has caused her great suffering.

She prays for him day and night.

O holy love's eternal might!

She awaits the pilgrims from Rome.

The fallen leaves herald their return.

Will he be among those pardoned?

This is her question... and her prayer.

Saints in heaven, let it be so!

Though her wound would not heal...

let her at least be comforted.

Let her at least be comforted.

By God's grace, I see my homeland again.

-That is their song.
-The pilgrims....

It is a pious hymn of
salvation through mercy.

They've returned!

Saints above, let me be worthy of my task!

Through atonement I have satisfied
the Lord, whom alone my heart serves.

He blesses my repentance,
and I lift my voice to Him in song!

Pardon's salvation is
granted the penitent...

and he will live in
the peace of the blessed!

He will fear neither hell nor death.

Thus will I praise God
my whole life through!


Alleluia for all eternity!

He has not returned.

All-powerful Virgin, hear my prayer!

I cry out to you!

Let me perish before you in the dust.

Take me from this earth.

Let me be as pure as the angels...

before I enter your kingdom.

Let me be as pure as the angels
before I enter your kingdom.

If ever in the throes of delusion
my heart strayed from you...

if ever I felt sinful
longing, or worldly desires...

I struggled amidst a thousand agonies
to quell them in my heart.

If I have not atoned for every fault,
receive me of thy mercy.

Let me humbly draw near to you...

to implore your
tenderest mercy for his sin.

Elisabeth, may I walk with you?

Like a foreshadowing of death,
twilight settles upon the land...

enfolding the valley in its dark mantle.

The soul yearning for heaven fears
its terrible journey through night.

There you are, O loveliest of stars,
sending your gentle light.

Parting the descending night...

you point the way out of the valley.

O beloved evening star,
gladly do I greet you.

From my heart, which was never false,
greet her as she passes you...

as she soars above this earth
to become a blessed angel.

Greet her as she soars above this earth
to become a blessed angel.

I heard the sound of a harp.

How sad it was...
surely it didn't come from her.

Who are you, Pilgrim,
wandering alone like this?

Who am I?

I know you quite well.

Wolfram, the accomplished singer!

Heinrich! Why have you returned?

How do you dare to set foot here
unabsolved of sin?

Fear not, good singer!

I seek neither you nor
any of your brethren.

I seek the one who can show me
what I once found so easily.

The way to Venus!

Unspeakable! I cannot hear this!

Do you know the way?

You fill me with horror!

Did you not go to Rome?

Don't speak of Rome!

Weren't you at the holy feast?

Don't speak of it!

Then you were not? Tell me!

Yes... I was in Rome.

Speak! What happened?

There is compassion in my heart.

Then you are not my enemy, Wolfram?

I never was, as long as I
believed you to be devout.

But what of your pilgrimage to Rome?

Listen, Wolfram, and I shall tell you.

Keep away!

The ground where I stand is accursed.

Listen, Wolfram, listen!

With a fervor no penitent has ever felt,
I made my way to Rome.

An angel wrenched the prideful sin
from my arrogant soul.

For her sake, I wanted to seek the
salvation that had been denied me...

to sweeten the tears
she had shed for me.

The road taken by the most
care-laden pilgrim seemed too easy.

Where he trod soft ground, I sought
barefoot the paths strewn with stones.

Where he refreshed himself at the brook,
I drank the heat of the sun.

When he offered his prayers to heaven,
I offered my blood.

When the weary sought shelter,
I made my bed in the snow.

I journeyed through Italy's meadows
with eyes closed, blind to her beauty.

Thus did I repent in humility,
to sweeten my angel's tears.

I came to Rome, the holy city,
and prayed at the sanctuary's threshold.

Dawn came and the ringing of bells.
I heard celestial hymns.

And there was great rejoicing,
for they promised salvation to all.

Then I saw the one through whom God speaks.

All lay prostrate before him.

He pardoned thousands...

and bade them arise in joy.

I approached him with head bowed.

I confessed my sins and the desires
that no penance had stilled.

Racked by pain, I begged for deliverance
from these bonds of fire!

And then the one I implored spoke:

"If you have known such pleasure..."

"and fed it in the flames of hell..."

"if you have been with Venus..."

"then you are forever damned!"

"Just as the staff in my hand
can never sprout green leaves again..."

"salvation can never be yours!"

I was destroyed.

I saw and heard nothing more.

When I awoke, night had
fallen on the deserted square.

In the distance I heard hymns of mercy.

Their sound sickened me!

Their false hope made my blood run cold.

In horror, I fled the place!

I was driven back to the place
where I had known bliss... at her side!

I return to you, Venus,
to the magic of your sweet night...

to your realm, where I will thrill
to your charms forevermore!

Don't make me seek you in vain.
How easily I once found the way!

You know I am cursed by mortals.
Lead me, sweet goddess!

Madman! What are you doing?

Don't you feel the sweet breezes?

Stay with me, or you are lost!

Don't you smell the perfumed air?

Don't you hear the rejoicing?

I feel only terror!

It is her nymphs, dancing!
Come... to ecstasy!

This is the devil's sorcery.

The fires of hell are near!

My every limb is filled with rapture...

as I breathe that fragrant air!

This is love's magic realm.

Venus is nearby!

Welcome, you who have been untrue!

Have you been cast out of your world?

Having found no pity,
do you seek comfort in my embrace?

-Venus, draw me to you!
-Enchantment of hell, away!

If you cross my threshold,
I will forgive you.

Everlasting joy will be yours,
and you will never leave me again!

If I cannot know heaven...

let me be claimed by hell!

Heinrich, one word will set you free!

Salvation will be yours!

Never, Wolfram! I must go to her!

An angel prayed for you on earth.

Soon she will soar above you.


Your angel pleads for you
at the throne of God...

and she is heard!

Heinrich, you are saved!

Hers is the angel's blessed reward.

The highest prize... heavenly bliss!

Do you hear what they are singing?

Holy is the innocent maiden...

who stands at the brink of eternity.

Blessed is the sinner for whom she wept...

the one for whom she implores salvation!

Saint Elisabeth, pray for me.

Hail to the miracle of mercy!

We shall know redemption!

The Lord made his presence known
through a miracle in the night.

He has made green leaves sprout from
the priest's barren staff.

Thus will salvation bloom for the sinner!

Let his salvation be
proclaimed in all the land!

High above all the world is God...

and His mercy is upon us!

Redemption is the penitent's reward.

Now he will know eternal peace!