Bundesarchiv Bild 183-2004-0512-501, Bayreuth, Festspiele, Tannhäuser , Schluss-1-
Tannhäuser (full title Tannhäuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg / Tannhäuser and the Singers' Contest at Wartburg) is an opera in three acts. The music and text are by Richard Wagner. The plot is based on the two Germanic legends of Tannhäuser and the Song Contest at Wartburg. The story centers on the struggle between sacred and profane love, and redemption through love (a theme running through almost all Wagner's mature work).

Tannhäuser in The War That Came EarlyEdit

In the late spring of 1939, Constantine Jenkins had tickets to see a performance of Tannhäuser at the Staatsoper in Berlin. His date (gender unknown) had to cancel on short notice, but it so happened that Jenkins had a meeting with Peggy Druce the morning of the show. He asked Druce to join her, partly as a ploy to get her out of his office quickly.[1] Not being a Wagner aficionado, Peggy turned to alcohol to increase her enjoyment of the performance, drinking heavily before, during, and after the show, and becoming intoxicated.[2] She ultimately had sex with Jenkins, whom she had always assumed to be a homosexual.[3]

As for the performance itself, Peggy reflected that, as Wagner went, Tannhäuser was relatively inoffensive to her sensibilities, with a comparatively muted score. She was not a lover of overblown Wagnerian opera.

Josef Goebbels and Hermann Göring were in attendance at the same opera. Adolf Hitler was not, despite his noted love of Wagner. Peggy wondered if he might have stayed away as a security precaution.[4]


  1. West and East, pg. 101.
  2. Ibid., pg. 102.
  3. Ibid., pg. 103.
  4. Ibid., pg. 102.

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