, 04. October 2016
Tannhäuser in Havana

Wagner invades in Cuba

After Barak Obama visited Havana on a historical get-together in spring of 2016, it can no longer be denied: Cuba opens to the world. Therefore, it happened that another special guest conquered the island - Richard Wagner with his Tannhäuser.

x-working Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner

Strange sounds wave through the streets of Havana. There are efforts to approach the German language. The German pronunciation is difficult enough. German to sing and then even an opera by Wagner – actually a challenge for foreign artists.

Tannhäuser becomes Tann(z)häuser in Havana for. It is more than just an opera. It is a mixture of opera, dance and visual arts. "The art forms are mixed and thus they correlate with each other. “Fortunately, I have also studied ballet", said singer Johana Simón, who took the part of Elisabeth. Performances of Wagner operas are not a matter of course in socialist Cuba. Under Fidel Castro, operas were not popular. The Goethe Institute aims to establish operas in Cuba. This it brought Tannhäuser to Havana.

Director Andreas Baesler claims that it is certainly in the interest of the Cuban people to open up new ways in art. It should be a reflection of what we currently experience in general in Cuba, an opening of society. Tannhäuser as a symbol for change in Cuba? The artwork represents the quest for more humanity and the desire of the artist to perform more and more in the middle of society.

Concept production is a mixture of different art forms. Dancers performed at a chamber orchestra version on stage. However, the preparations for Tannhäuser were difficult. There was hardly rehearsal day with the entire ensemble. Despite good training, there are few prospects for opera singers in Cuba. Conductors and directors, dedicated to the opera, are almost entirely missing in Cuba.

The Tannhäuser was the first opera performance at the newly renovated Gran Teatro of Havana. Around 20 members of the Richard Wagner Association from Germany attended the premiere. The idea was a success with a packed house. We are curious what will have the opera world in Cuba to offer in the future.

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