Tannhauser, lover of the Goddess Venus, wishes to return to earth where Elisabeth is secretly in love with him. At a singing competition, Tannhauser sings of the properties of earthly love, which he dedicates to Venus, and spiritual love which is reserved for God alone. Forced to take a penitential journey to Rome to atone for this outrage, but the Pope damns him. Seeking a way back to Venus, Tannhauser encounters the funeral procession of Elizabeth,, and dies upon her bier. In his death, Tannhauser receives divine benediction. Singers are Hans Sotin, Richard Versalle and Cheryl Studer.