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May 2013
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Don’t Just Listen to Tannhäuser

Tannhäuser in Venusberg by Wagrez

Tannhäuser in Venusberg by Wagrez

The Tuesday Night Opera presents Tannhäuser at 8:00 PM.


The iPad is popping up in unexpected places. One person was spotted reading Bach’s B Minor Mass in the box seats at Symphony Center—this while Riccardo Muti, four soloists and the CSO Chorus were singing their hearts out. Artists are starting to use the iPad on music stands in place of sheet music: no more page turns (the music scrolls according to the desired tempo), and it’s a compact method of transporting a music library.

In the past, only the most diehard music fan would think of procuring the score to a favorite piece. Scores are not sold in many places; they’re unwieldy, and even intimidating if one is unaccustomed to looking at lots of notes. It’s easy to get lost, but the rewards are enormous. There is something about seeing the composer’s craft unfold before your very eyes that’s inspiring, even thrilling. After all, a performance is but an interpretation of what’s on that page. A listener who’s looking at the notes, starts to hear musical lines that may not be emphasized by a particular conductor (not that they necessarily should be).

Tonight at 8:00 PM, you have the opportunity to try your own hand at this. Wagner’s Tannhäuser is the Tuesday night opera.

Here is the score; now get ready.

Tannhauser Act I

Tannhauser Act II

Tannhauser Act III


  • Nancy

    Thanks! this is fun. I find that I my computer won’t keep up with the music–the pages don’t reload fast enough. But I can follow it now, after the fact. I can also play little bits on the piano to clarify the line for myself.
    One magical night at Ravinia, the CSO played all six Brandenburg concerti. We were sitting in the very back of the Pavilion, so I thought it might be OK to take the Dover score. My highschool daughter followed along. It was amazing in the 5th concerto how fast the pages flipped by on the harpsichord solo. These pieces sound hard, but look Really Hard. A score helps you appreciate the orchestral writing. Thank you to those around us who were tolerant of the distraction. Sorry.
    It seems to me that an iPad would also be distracting. What do others think? Is it OK in a box seat, but not in the regular seating area?

    • Noel

      You don’t see it a lot, but students have been carrying scores into concerts for ages. The nice thing about the iPad–and this is key–is that it’s possible to turn down the screen’s brightness, so as not to disturb others. This you can do from any seat in the house.